[Congressional Record Volume 150, Number 93 (Thursday, July 8, 2004)]
[Senate]
[Pages S7867-S7868]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                                PROGRAM

  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, tomorrow the Senate will be in a period for 
morning business throughout the day. There will be no rollcall votes 
during tomorrow's session, but Senators are encouraged to come to the 
floor to speak on the constitutional amendment regarding marriage, 
which we hope to consider next week.
  A few moments ago we failed to invoke cloture on a very important 
bill, the class action bill, that we have spent the majority of this 
week debating. As I said at the outset, I had hoped we would be able to 
address this important bill, consider all relevant amendments, with no 
time limit on those relevant amendments, so we could pass a bill that 
is very important to the American people, to the economy, and to the 
concepts of equity and fairness. We were unsuccessful, in spite of our 
very best attempt to consider all relevant amendments and take up a 
bill that 62 people in this body support.
  The problem was that Members from both sides of the aisle insisted on 
offering or wanting to offer and debate very complicated but, most 
importantly, unrelated amendments at this time. We set up a procedural 
process by which we could consider individual relevant amendments, but 
a decision was made, and it played out in the cloture vote today, that 
we would not proceed on this important bill at this juncture because 
some people thought we would need to include a lot of nongermane 
amendments. There were a lot of nonrelevant amendments that appeared.
  I am very hopeful, because I am a strong supporter of this bill as 
written, that we can come to some agreement given the fact there are a 
majority of people in this Senate who believe in this bill strongly, 
that we can come to some agreement in terms of time to consider this 
bill with relevant amendments debated so that we can serve the

[[Page S7868]]

American people. That seems not to be now. Discussions hopefully will 
continue.

  If we cannot do it in a reasonably short period of time and stay on 
relevant amendments, we just simply are not going to be able to do it 
in this session. We have somewhere around 30 legislative days remaining 
and we have a range of issues, some that were brought up on the floor 
today, issues such as homeland security and issues concerning the 
institution of marriage.
  We have the Australia trade bill that hopefully we can consider very 
quickly in the near future. We have 13 appropriations bills, spending 
bills, that we must consider. There are 12 we need to consider in some 
way in the next several weeks. Then there are a number of judges who we 
must continue to move on. We have all of that in a period of about 30 
days.
  It means that as majority leader I need to insist on reasonable, 
disciplined, and regular order in the sense that when we go to a bill, 
we debate that bill, those issues, consider amendments that are 
relevant to that bill and not consider the broad range of issues that 
we naturally have as Senators. We have to have an orderly process. The 
orderly process led today, because of the insistence on these 
nongermane, nonrelevant amendments, to a point that we are not going to 
be able to consider class action reform now.
  So I think what we will see predominately tomorrow is debate on a 
very important issue to the American people and to the values of the 
United States of America, and that is the issue of marriage. We will 
likely see debate on that tomorrow, and that debate will continue on 
the constitutional amendment Monday and Tuesday. I would think 
somewhere during the middle of next week, probably Wednesday, we will 
have a vote, the nature of which I will be talking to the Democratic 
leader over the course of tomorrow morning.
  So we had a good debate this week. I am very disappointed in the fact 
that the other side of the aisle--for the most part it was the other 
side of the aisle--insisted on having other amendments. I am 
disappointed we were unable to fully address class action reform. 
Hopefully, we can come back to it at some point in the future.

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