Metavid

Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding on Jan 5th, 2011 :: 2:37:50 to 2:51:55
Total video length: 7 hours 32 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

Note: MetaVid video transcripts may contain inaccuracies, help us build a more perfect archive

Download OptionsEmbed Video

Views:312 Duration: 0:14:05 Discussion

Previous speech: Next speech:

Lamar Alexander

2:37:32 to 2:37:52( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: consistency over the years. i wonder if he has time, if he is still here, maybe i'll pose a question to him. i see the senator from can is also here. he spent a lot of time on the rules committee, on this surkts one of our most forceful speakers on the matter. i would defer to him and then i know there are other senators, the senator from oregon, the

Lamar Alexander

2:37:50 to 2:51:55( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

2:37:53 to 2:38:13( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: senator from new mexico have some proposals to offer. so i'll wait for those proposals then to be offered. and there may be other senators on the republican side who come to the floor. but the few remarks that -- first i'd like to ask unanimous consent that an address that i've made yesterday at the heritage foundation entitled

Lamar Alexander

2:38:14 to 2:38:34( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: "the filibuster: democracy's finest show; the right to talk your head off," that that be put in the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: i borrowed those words from h.w.caltenboyd in "mr. smith goes to washington." i am a little amused by the suggestion that the senator from

Lamar Alexander

2:38:35 to 2:38:56( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: iowa made and others have made that somehow the senate has been paralyzed for the last couple of years. most of the people i know are concerned about what the senate did, is not what it didn't do. it is hard to say you're paralyze what had you pass a $1 trillion stimulus bill, a big health care law, a financial regulation law, et cetera, et cetera.

Lamar Alexander

2:38:57 to 2:39:18( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: and so far as republicans or the minority, as he's been careful to say, holding things up, you know, we didn't have a budget last year. most households have to have budgets. we ought to have one. why didn't we have one? the republicans, as the senator from iowa said, under our law -- rules, it only takes 51 votes to pass a budget.

Lamar Alexander

2:39:19 to 2:39:40( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: during the last couple of year, the republicans had 59 or 60 votes. so the reason we didn't have a budget is because they didn't want to pass a budget or at least they didn't pass a budget. had nothing to do with the senate being -- quote -- "broken." the senator from iowa made this

Lamar Alexander

2:39:41 to 2:40:01( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: proposal -- he is a made some modifications -- but basically this proposal in 1995. i remember those days pretty well. that's when -- that was right after the so-called gingrich revolution in 1993. republicans took control of the senate and of the house. so the senator from iowa made

Lamar Alexander

2:40:02 to 2:40:22( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: this proposal to diminish the effectiveness of a filibuster. and what did the republicans do? the republicans who had the most to gain at least temporarily from being able to get their agenda through the senate, every single one voted "no." every single republican senator in 1995 said no.

Lamar Alexander

2:40:23 to 2:40:43( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: we may love our agenda, but we don't want to change the senate. we don't want to jeopardize the senate as a form for forcing consensus and protecting minority rights and letting the voices of all of the people be

Lamar Alexander

2:40:44 to 2:41:05( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: heard on the senate floor. not only the republican senators in 1995 said that, here are some things that were said mostly in 2005 by democratic leaders. they were said -- there were some republicans who got this same idea that the senator from iowa has about diminishing the effectiveness of the filibuster.

Lamar Alexander

2:41:06 to 2:41:26( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: in this case it was on judicial nominations. there was great consternation because democrats had decided to filibuster president bush's judges. i didn't like that either. but this is what was said then. senator robert byrd, "we must never, ever, ever tear down the only wall, the necessary fence this nation has against the excesses of the executive

Lamar Alexander

2:41:27 to 2:41:47( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: branch." and what is that necessary fence? he said in his last testimony before the rules committee that necessary fence is anchored in the filibuster. senator schumer of new york, "the checks and balances which have been at the core of this republic are about to be eevaporated." this was in response to the

Lamar Alexander

2:41:48 to 2:42:08( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: republicans who were trying to diminish the effectiveness of the filibuster. "the checks and balances would say if you get 51% of the vote, you don't get your way 100% of the tievment" former senator hillary clinton, now secretary of state, "you've got majority rule. then you've got the senate over here," senator clinton said. "where people can slow things

Lamar Alexander

2:42:09 to 2:42:29( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: down, where they can debate, where they have something called 'the filibuster.' "you know it seems like it is a little less than efficient," said senator clinton. "well, that's right. it is," she said. "and deliberately dined to be so." senator dodd, more recently, "i'm totally opposed to the idea of changing the filibuster rules.

Lamar Alexander

2:42:30 to 2:42:50( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: i think that's foolish, in my view." senator byrd, "that's why we have a senate, to amend and debate freedom." senator dodd, "i can understand the temptation to change the rules that make the senate so unique and simultaneously so terribly frustrating ivelg, but whether such temptation is motivated bay noble desire to speed up the legislative process

Lamar Alexander

2:42:51 to 2:43:11( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: or by pure, political exsubpoenaed yen circumstance i believe such changes would be unwise." senator dodd, "stlfer, to my fellow senators who have never varved day in the minority, i urge you to pause in your enthusiasm to change senate rules." and just two more. senator reid, who was then the democratic leader but the minority leader.

Lamar Alexander

2:43:12 to 2:43:32( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: "the filibuster, nor reid said in 2005, "is far from a procedural gavel. it is part of this institution that we call the senate. for 200 years we've had the right to extend the debate. its neat a procedural gimmick. some in this chamber want to throw out 214 years of senate history in the quest for absolute power. they want to do away with

Lamar Alexander

2:43:33 to 2:43:53( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: mr. smith as depicted in that great movie being able to come to washington. they want to do away with the filibuster. senator reid say, they think they're wiser than our fowfers. i doubt that's true." then there was one other senator who spoke and said this the senator from illinois, senator obama, "then if the majority chooses to end the filibuster,"

Lamar Alexander

2:43:54 to 2:44:15( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: he was speaking of republicans, "if they dhoos change the rules and put an end to the democratic debate, then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse." to me, the uniqueness of the senate -- let me put it this way

Lamar Alexander

2:44:16 to 2:44:36( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: -frplts i think the last two years have been an aberration, and i'm coming to my question of the senator from iowa. we've had no incentive for the majority to take the ideas of the minority, because the majority had these huge majorities, and nearly 60 votes

Lamar Alexander

2:44:37 to 2:44:57( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: haoerbgs and a democratic president. when senator corker began to work on the financial regulation bill, there came a time in the process where the democrats said we like corker and he's got some good ideas, but we don't need his vote to pass this bill. we've got the votes. we won the election. we'll write the bill. we had no consensus. we had a democratic bill.

Lamar Alexander

2:44:58 to 2:45:19( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: we had a democratic health care bill. we had a democratic stimulus bill; might have had wourpb two republicans -- might have had one or two republicans vote for it. for the last two years we haven't had experience in working across party lines. what the filibuster does is say you're not going to pass the

Lamar Alexander

2:45:20 to 2:45:40( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: senate anything -- anything -- unless at least some republicans and some democrats agree, unless you get a consensus. and then that changes behavior. and people say, okay, let's bring -- let's bring no child left behind bill to the floor. but it's got to have senator enzi and senator harkin or it's not going anywhere because it's

Lamar Alexander

2:45:41 to 2:46:01( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: got to have 60 votes. what's the advantage of that? the advantage of that is the comparison of the civil rights bill in 1964 and the health care law of 2009. in 1964, after a bitter fight led by senator russell of georgia, the civil rights bill

Lamar Alexander

2:46:02 to 2:46:23( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: passed, overcoming a filibuster. the bill was written in the republican leader's office. it wasn't just sent over there in the middle of christmas. it was written in his office. you had president johnson, the democrat, senator dirksen, saying this is good for the country. and a lot of people hated the bill. some people thought it didn't go far enough, but they hated the bill.

Lamar Alexander

2:46:24 to 2:46:44( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: what did senator russell do, who fought that bill for his whole term here? he went home to georgia and said i did everything i could to stop it but it's the law and we must obey it. not only do we need a consensus to get a better bill; we need a bill the country will accept. compare that to the health care law. there's a lot of good intentions that went into the health care law. i know that.

Lamar Alexander

2:46:45 to 2:47:06( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: senator harkin was in the middle of that. but the fact of the matter was it was a democratic bill. it was rammed through christmas eve in the middle of the night after we barely had a chance to look at it, solely partisan votes. and what happened? neff everybody going home -- instead of everybody going home saying it is the law of the land, we support it, it caused

Lamar Alexander

2:47:07 to 2:47:27( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: an instant movement to repeal it. i hope that we will not do what senator harkin suggests. i think his proposal is, well, we're going to hang you, but we'll either hang you in three days instead of tonight. we'll narrow it down. that's a little worse. we know if you've got 51 votes you can pass it. if the house of representatives

Lamar Alexander

2:47:28 to 2:47:49( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: over here passes a bill, a republican house, to repeal the health care law, you know if we've got 51 votes over here, we'll do it too. or if the democratic house, as they did last year, passes a bill to repeal the ballot in secret elections, if the democrats have 51 votes over here, they'll do it too.

Lamar Alexander

2:47:50 to 2:48:10( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: but when it requires a consensus, if bills like that come from the house to the senate, we say whoa, let's think this over, and we don't pass it. we don't pass it unless we have some kind of consensus. now that doesn't mean all the republicans and all the democrats on the tax agreement that just was passed. we had almost all the

Lamar Alexander

2:48:11 to 2:48:31( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: republicans and some of the democrats. on the new start treaty we had almost all the democrats and some of the republicans. but at least you had substantial consensus from both parties, and i think the country respects and appreciates that. and i think the framers knew what they were doing when they created a majorato r eu an house.

Lamar Alexander

2:48:32 to 2:48:53( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: the freight train could run through whatever the election is in a different kind of senate. a different kind of senate as senator byrd eloquently said has been one where we can say you're not going to pass anything unless we do it together. that's called consensus. that's called cooperation. i think the american people

Lamar Alexander

2:48:54 to 2:49:15( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: would be greatly relieved. my question that i'd like to pose through the chair to senator harkin, and then i'll sit down. i know the senator from kansas and the senator from tennessee is here. just what is a filibuster? senator stkers was on the floor -- sanders was on the

Lamar Alexander

2:49:16 to 2:49:37( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: floor during the tax debate. he spoke for eight or nine hours. i guess a filibuster the senator from iowa is counting, let's say senator reid brings a health care bill to the floor and i say i've got an amendment to the health care bill and senator reid says sorry i'm going to cut off your amendment. i object. that's a filibuster.

Lamar Alexander

2:49:38 to 2:49:59( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: if we're just talking and amending and debating, that's not a filibuster. it's not a filibuster until the majority leader cuts it off. what they're counting as filibusters is the number of times the democrats have cut us off from doing what we're supposed to do, which is amend and debate. it's like being invited to sing on the grand ole opry and then

Lamar Alexander

2:50:00 to 2:50:20( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: coming up there, you're not allowed to sing. the people from tennessee don't expect me to come here and sit on a log because no matter how distinguished the majority leader is he says i don't want your amendments. what is traditional in the senate is senators came in almost any time with almost any amendment on almost any bill. in the days of senator byrd and senator baker they would have 300 amendments and they would

Lamar Alexander

2:50:21 to 2:50:41( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: start voting. some would say it's thursday, don't we go home? and they'd say, no, we're going to vote unless you want to give up your amendments. but we didn't vote on one friday this past year. and a lot of senators on both sides of the aisle don't want to vote on controversial issues. if we looked for consensus, if we were willing to vote on

Lamar Alexander

2:50:42 to 2:51:02( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: controversial issues, mr. president, and we ended the three-day workweek, if the majority thinks the minority is abusing the filibuster, they can confront it. they can say okay, senator alexander, if you're going into postcloture time, if 60 of us are ready to cut this off, we're

Lamar Alexander

2:51:03 to 2:51:24( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: ready to get on to vote, you've got 7 hours you can speak, then you've got to get 23 senators to take the other hour, and if you stop talking we're going to put the question. we've got motions we can make about your being dilatory. in other words, we can make life miserable for you because we can do this all night long. you do this about once or twice, as senator byrd said in his last

Lamar Alexander

2:51:25 to 2:51:46( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: testimony, the rules exist today to confront a filibuster. so my question to the senator from iowa that i would pose through the chair is: what is a filibuster? is it a filibuster when i come down to the floor to amend the health care bill and the majority leader says, sorry, i'm going to use my powers to cut it off. you can't amend the bill.

Lamar Alexander

2:51:47 to 2:51:55( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: and then he files cloture. that's a filibuster. that's what he calls a filibuster, i think. what i call it is cutting off my

Personal tools

MetaVid is a non-profit project of UC Santa Cruz and the Sunlight Foundation. Learn more About MetaVid

The C-SPAN logo and other servicemarks that may be found in video content are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of these trademark holders are affiliated with Metavid