Prepared Statement by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee
Executive Business Meeting
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Today we have five judicial branch nominees, one executive branch
nominee, six U.S. Attorneys, and three bills on the agenda. The five judicial
branch nominees, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, and two of the bills
– the False Claims Amendments Act and
the Driving for Opportunity Act – are
ripe for consideration. Because the other nominees and bill are on the agenda
for the first time, our side would like for them to be held over for a week per
S. 2428, the False Claims
Amendments Act of 2021 is ripe for consideration. It makes changes to the
government’s most powerful tool in fighting fraud so that it can better protect
FCA has brought back $64 billion dollars since 1986, but this bill
isn’t about fighting an abstract thing called fraud. It is about making sure that
the taxpayer is getting what he pays for. Every dollar that is stolen from the
government by fraud is a dollar that should have been spent on another good or
I think everyone that was here for the last markup knows that I am
passionate about the FCA. I will go into more detail when we begin discussing
the bill in a few moments, but I wanted to quickly highlight the good work of
my cosponsors on this committee, including the chairman, as well as Senators
Leahy and Kennedy.
Several of my other colleagues, including Senator Cornyn, have
also been helpful in bringing this to a conclusion by helping us iron out some
of the details in the manager’s amendment. Thank you all.
We’re also marking up S. 998, the Driving for Opportunity Act, which I cosponsor. Thank you Senators
Coons and Wicker for leading this bill. This bill is bipartisan and enjoys wide
support from law enforcement and criminal justice reform advocates alike.
For most Americans, driving a car is essential. This is
particularly true for rural Americans. The ability to drive a car is how folks
get to work, attend church, buy food, go to medical appointments, and take kids
Millions of Americans have suspended or revoked driver’s licenses
solely because they haven’t paid court fines, not for public safety reasons.
This system is flawed. If the government wants people to pay fines, then the
government shouldn’t prevent them from getting to work. This catch-22 is tough
on rural states, and also those with criminal records trying to reenter society
by having gainful and lawful employment. The ability to drive is often critical
for successful reentry and very well could play a role in reducing recidivism.
S. 998 encourages states to end counterproductive, fine-based
driver’s license suspensions. I’m proud to cosponsor this bill and support its
advancement out of committee.
I’d also like to say a few words about yesterday’s oversight
hearing with Attorney General Garland.
While I appreciate him appearing before the Committee, unlike when
he and his deputies outrageously ignored the Nassar hearing, it would be an
understatement to say that I found his answers to be less than satisfactory
across the board.
And I say that with special emphasis with respect to what he said
about his infamous school board memo.
What’s clear to the country is that the Biden administration has
weaponized the Justice Department and its component agencies against
The same Department that engaged in widespread FISA abuse for
years – and almost got away with it.
As I said yesterday, these parents are trying to protect their
children. They’re worried about divisive and harmful curricula based on
critical race theory. They’re speaking their mind about mask-mandates. This is
the very core of constitutionally protected free speech. And free speech is
deadly to the tyranny of government and is the lifeblood of our constitutional
I also wanted to discuss Judge Koh. I voted Judge Koh out of this
Committee in 2016. Consistent with that, and with what I’ve told Senator
Feinstein and Senator Padilla, I’m going to do so again today.
But I want to note that I have a reservations about her approach
and reasoning in a number of cases. Judge Koh served as a prosecutor and has
been a judge for a number of years. But she has also had a number of cases
recently reversed by the Supreme Court. For example, she ordered the Census
Bureau to continue collecting data after the Commerce Secretary’s deadline. The
Supreme Court stayed that order with only one noted dissent. Her decision in Tandon about the ability to worship at
home during the pandemic was also concerning.
But there is an important difference between Judge Koh and other
nominees we’ve recently seen from this administration.
Judge Koh showed she is actually willing to admit when she makes a
mistake. She answered our questions about statements she made in the past. When
asked whether she agreed with a comment she had made in law school about how
nominees should pretend to be objective, Judge Koh said “Not at all. I disagree
with that 100%.” She also said, “That is completely wrong, our rule of law
absolutely depends on impartiality, fairness, and I completely disagree with
That is a far cry from a nominee who is unwilling to recant saying
that Justice Kavanaugh’s conservatism means that people will die.
I plan to look closely at her record before I decide whether to
support Judge Koh on the floor.