Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding 01-27-11 on Jan 27th, 2011 :: 0:26:40 to 0:34:35
Total video length: 5 hours 46 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Lamar Alexander

0:26:37 to 0:26:57( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: fashion that undermines our performance under the constitution. thank you, mr. president. mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from mr. alexander: the senator from oregon has talked about the number of nominations that couldn't be considered. i'm sure the senator from oregon

Lamar Alexander

0:26:40 to 0:34:35( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

0:26:58 to 0:27:18( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: remembers that there cannot be a filibuster on a motion to proceed to a nomination. all the senator has to do -- the majority leader has to do is just bring it up. you can't -- you can't debate that. and if he should bring it up and if he -- and if a senator over

Lamar Alexander

0:27:19 to 0:27:41( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: here or over there, even one senator, as was done to me when i was nominated by president bush to be education secretary -- senator met enbalm, as it turned out, had a mold on my nomination for three month -- had a hold on my nomination for three months. all it would have taken for me to be confirmed was for the majority leader to bring my name

Lamar Alexander

0:27:42 to 0:28:02( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: to the floor and then -- then we could have debated -- if we could get 60 votes for it we could debate it for 30 hours and that would be it. what would happen during the 30 hours? we don't have senators going out to dinner except on the other side of the aisle. because under the current rules

Lamar Alexander

0:28:03 to 0:28:23( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: in those 30 hours one senator gets seven hours to speak. now, we know a senator can do that because a distinguished senator from vermont demonstrated very capably that he was capable of doing that not long ago. did a great job. people all over the country saw it wrote him. became a little bit of a

Lamar Alexander

0:28:24 to 0:28:46( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: celebrity for that day, maybe even longer. so senators are still capable of that. but if he wanted to make the whole 30 in the course in a postcloture period -- and he was in a different period. he just got the floor and talked, which we all have a right to do when we can get the floor -- that's it for the senator. i mean, that 30 hours. he then has to get 23 more

Lamar Alexander

0:28:47 to 0:29:07( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: senators to join him in taking an hour of that 30 hours, and without getting into the complications of that, if they fail to talk, we will then the majority leader, if he is pushing it, can say those are dilatory tactics and really

Lamar Alexander

0:29:08 to 0:29:29( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: force any senator who wants to extend the debate to be very uncomfortable, because that senator would have to get up to 23 senators to come join him at sometime during the speech and take seven hours himself. the reason why that hasn't been done is because the majority

Lamar Alexander

0:29:30 to 0:29:52( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: hasn't wanted to do t i am not just saying thasm the master of the senate rules, senator bide, said it in his last testimony before our rules committee. he said, "forceful confrontation

Lamar Alexander

0:29:53 to 0:30:13( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: to the threat of a filibuster is undoubtedly the antidote to the malady." the malady he was talking about was what some consider the abuse of a filibuster. "most recently," senator byrd said before he died, "senate he majority leader reid announced

Lamar Alexander

0:30:14 to 0:30:34( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: the senate would stay in session around the clock and bring all procedures necessary to bring financial reform legislation before the senate. as preparations were made and cots rolled out, a deal was struck within an hour and the threat of a filibuster was withdrawn. i heartily commend the majority leader for this progress. i strongly caution my colleagues

Lamar Alexander

0:30:35 to 0:30:55( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: as some propose to alter the rules to severely limit the ability of a filibuster. i know what it is to be a majority leader and wake up on wednesday morning in november and find yourself a minority leader. i also note that senator byrd said the senate rules provide the means to break a filibuster,

Lamar Alexander

0:30:56 to 0:31:16( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: "and he went on to describe it. so, mr. president, i don't want to suggest to the distinguished whip who knows all the rules of the senate much better than i do or to harry reid, the majority leader, who knows them very, very well how to break a filibuster that he thinks is an abuse to a filibuster, but they know how to do it. it takes a little trouble.

Lamar Alexander

0:31:17 to 0:31:37( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: you can't go out to dinner and have a glass of wine as the senator from oregon was talking about. you have to sit over there on that side of the floor and have 50 senators ready. but you can sit over there and say i would like for the senator from tennessee to assert himself and you can stay all night, and i imagine if you did that once

Lamar Alexander

0:31:38 to 0:31:59( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: or twice or if we voted on more than zero fridays, which was the number of fridays we voted on last year, you could -- you could confront filibusters -- just let me finish my sentence. i will be delighted to yield the floor to the senator from illinois.

Lamar Alexander

0:32:00 to 0:32:20( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: but if -- i would say to my friends that what we're trying to do today is -- is to move past this time where we point out that the majority leader has cut off our right to amend in debates six times more than recent majority leaders.

Lamar Alexander

0:32:21 to 0:32:41( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: that's what gets everybody stirred up over here. we came here to -- it's like telling us we could join the grand ol' opry and can't sing. we're here to speak. we're here to let the people know what the people in tennessee think. we might be in the minority but we're in the senate where the minority is supposed to have a voice. so when time after time after time you bring a bill to the

Lamar Alexander

0:32:42 to 0:33:02( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: floor and cut it off and call that a filibuster, well, we don't -- you know, that's why we're upset. you're upset because as a result of that, you didn't get to bring as many bills to the floor as you would like. well, we're trying to put all that behind us today, and this pointed of opportunity we have here has produced what i think is the most important event here. i think these rules changes that

Lamar Alexander

0:33:03 to 0:33:23( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: we're going to adopt today are good and move us in the right direction, but the real value of this debate and this whole effort has been to cause us to stop and think about how the senate operates and to realize that the best way to do it is for most bills to go to committee, most bills to come to the floor and most senators to get most of the amendments that they want offered offered and voted on.

Lamar Alexander

0:33:24 to 0:33:45( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: so we might have to vote on a friday, maybe even a thursday night, maybe even a saturday, and it might be that the majority has to confront a filibuster by saying senator so and so, if you're going to slow us down on this, we're going to make you use that 30 hours. you're going to have to talk your seven hours. you're going to have to get 23 other senators and we're going

Lamar Alexander

0:33:46 to 0:34:08( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: to be here to see you do it. my guess would be you do that about once, maybe twice, that would end that problem. but my real guess is that if this general attitude that the majority and minority leader talked about early today, which is we're going to do our best to see that most bills come to the floor, that most bills -- most senators get the amendments they want and the votes they want, i

Lamar Alexander

0:34:09 to 0:34:31( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: think you will see very few uses of the filibuster that you think are inappropriate, and if you think they are, according to senator byrd, you've got the means to confront them. so my hope is that -- is that this whole exercise not only is producing some rules changes which are valuable but is

Lamar Alexander

0:34:32 to 0:34:35( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: producing a change in behavior on both sides of the aisle which

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