2006-05-18 Akaka Fact Check

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No speech given today

On Monday May 8, Senator Lamar Alexander gave a speech urging his colleagues to oppose the Akaka bill, citing the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report as a good reason for opposing it.

On Monday, May 8 Senator Akaka responded to Senator Alexander's speech.

Senator Akaka promised to give a speech every day the Senate is in session to explain why his bill should be passed.

I will be coming to the floor to talk about my bill every day until we begin debate on the bill. I will use every day to talk about what my bill does and does not do, and to respond to the outright mistruths that have been spread about the legislation. I will use every day to help share Hawai'i's history with my colleagues as the opponents to this legislation have taken it upon themselves to rewrite the tragedies of Hawaii's history in a manner that suits them for the purposes of opposing this legislation. - Senator Akaka, May 8, 2006

But today, May 18, 2006, although debate has not begun on S.147, Senator Akaka failed to give such a speech. There was plenty of time with quorum calls when nobody was using the Senate floor. Although Senators were very busy debating a very controversial comprehensive immigration reform act, and numerous amendments, there was also time at the end of the day when any Senator who wished to speak was invited to take the floor before adjournment.

During a pause in the continuing debate on the immigration reform bill, Senator Lugar (R, IN) found time to introduce an amended version of the "Free Flow of Information Act" (totally unrelated to the immigration bill). Clearly Senator Akaka could have introduced the amended version of his bill -- an amendment he says he plans to introduce eventually, which has been posted on his website since September 2005. (When the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued its report on the Akaka bill, Senator Akaka complained that they had not considered the "amended" bill -- even though Senator Akaka has never officially introduced it in the Senate after 8 months of languishing, and even though the changes from the official bill are irrelevant to the conserns expressed by the USCCR).

During the debate on immigration reform legislation on May 18, 2006 Senator Akaka was given 25 minutes of floor time to speak on his proposed amendment to the immigration bill that would provide U.S. veterans benefits and special immigration privileges to Filipinos who fought alongside Americans in World War 2 in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation. Substantially less than 25 minutes were spent for Senator Akaka's speech (including brief supporting remarks from Senator Kennedy); and then the Akaka amendment was agreed to by unanimous consent. However, Senator Akaka did not take any time on May 18 to speak on the Akaka bill S.147 nor to introduce his own alleged amendment to it.

Perhaps Senator Akaka is out of ideas, or has finally been mollified by the promise of a cloture vote after the Memorial Day recess.

If Senator Akaka speaks on the issue again, we will provide more fact checking for the general public.