2006-05-19 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 19, 2006, although debate has not begun on S.147, Senator Akaka failed yet again to give such a speech.

Friday May 19 offered plenty of opportunity for Senator Akaka to give a speech on the Akaka bill; but he was nowhere to be seen.

Mondays and Fridays in the Senate are slow days, because many Senators prefer to take a 4-day weekend. This Friday was typical. Senators knew on Thursday that there would be no votes taken on Friday, and that those Senators wishing to speak could discuss their issues freely and have their speeches entered into the record. The Senate was in session from 10 AM to about 1:15 PM (Washington D.C. time). Most speeches were about the comprehensive immigration bill that has occupied them for the entire week.

At about 11:45 AM, during a quorum call (a pause when nobody is speaking), Senator Ron Wyden (D, OR) reeived "unanimous consent" (nobody present to make objection!) to speak on a different topic. He spent about 20 minutes speaking about energy legislation. He has previously made numerous attempts, including a 4 hour speech on one recent occasion, to force a vote on his amendment to the energy bill to eliminate subsidies to the oil companies whereby they are excused from paying royalties to the U.S. government for their oil drilling on government lands. Wyden's speech of 20 minutes on a topic unrelated to the immigration bill shows that Senator Akaka could have done the same thing.

At about 1 PM there were no more speeches waiting to be given, so Senator Frist by "unanimous consent" opened the floor to any Senator who wished to speak "as if in morning business" for up to ten minutes on any topic. Frist himself then spoke for 10 minutes about the economy, and tax cuts. He then noted that nobody else wanted to speak, and by "unanimous consent" he adjourned the Senate until 1 PM Monday. Thus, Senator Akaka missed another opportunity to speak about the Akaka bill. Will he speak on Monday? Stay tuned!

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 of what he says.