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Senate Proceeding 01-27-11 on Jan 27th, 2011 :: 2:07:00 to 2:15:30
Total video length: 5 hours 46 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Lamar Alexander

2:06:58 to 2:07:18( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee i recognized. mr. alexander: madam president, i've earlier congratulated senator udall and i -- i have earlier congratulated senator udall and wyden and merkley and -- and senator harkin for

Lamar Alexander

2:07:00 to 2:15:30( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

2:07:19 to 2:07:39( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: stimulating a good, full discussion about two objectives, one, how do we make the senate the best possible place to deal with serious issues that come before our country because we have plenty of them right now -- starting with our national debt and the high

Lamar Alexander

2:07:40 to 2:08:01( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: unemployment rates. they've done a good job of that. they have led us to adopt two important steps. one having to do with secret holds, another having to do with -- with taking time away that might otherwise be better used by reading from the -- by

Lamar Alexander

2:08:02 to 2:08:23( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: having the clerk read an amendment. it's also produced a couple of other things, one is a -- the broader support we've had in a number of years on dealing with the persistent problem of the difficulty a president has in staffing the government. senator reid and senator mcconnell, when they were

Lamar Alexander

2:08:24 to 2:08:46( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: whips, tried deal with this. we had three bipartisan breakfasts on this working with the white house two years ago. senator lieberman and senator collins, who are the committee chairs, have tried to deal with this and we far. but senator schumer and i will be introducing a bill and will

Lamar Alexander

2:08:47 to 2:09:08( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: have the support of the leaders, senators mcconnell and reid, and -- and it will have the active involvement of senator lieberman and senator collins and what we hope to do is two things, one is reduce the number -- senator harkin spoke about this a little earlier, he's a chairman, he's been a ranking member and a chairman. he's basically saying, we don't

Lamar Alexander

2:09:09 to 2:09:30( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: need to spend our time here. -- here having senate confirmation of hundreds of boards and commission members and the p.r. official for some department. we ought to focus our attention on jobs and debt and terror and the issues that affect the american people. and perhaps we can deal with that. and the second thing we should

Lamar Alexander

2:09:31 to 2:09:53( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: do is to end this practice of -- of -- of making it so that citizens who are invited by the president of the united states to -- to serve in our government, to become innocent until nominated. we drag them through a maze of -- of conflicting forms, many of them created by the executive

Lamar Alexander

2:09:54 to 2:10:14( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: branch, many of them created by us that trap them an trick them and embarrass them and it's surprising anybody will accept -- accept the opportunity. i remember majority leader howard baker was nominated by president bush to go to japan, everybody said it, knew him very well. he was voted most admired

Lamar Alexander

2:10:15 to 2:10:36( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: senator by senators on both sides of the aisle, cost him $250,000 to fill out the forms so he could be the ambassador to japan. i could give many examples of this. washington, d.c., is the only place where you hire a lawyer and accountant and ethics rosser before you find your house and put your kid in school if you come to work here.

Lamar Alexander

2:10:37 to 2:10:59( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: and we need good people in the government and we need to be able to attract them here and we should fix that. and i greatly appreciate the work that senator schumer, reid, and mcconnell and lieberman and collins and others have done and i hope that our colleagues will bring this in an expedited way. i ask unanimous consent to

Lamar Alexander

2:11:00 to 2:11:21( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: include remarks i made on march 9, 2009, entitled "innocent until nominated." the presiding officer: without objection, that will be included in the record. mr. alexander: only two other things. i want to congratulate senator mcconnell and senator reid for -- for leading us in this way. changing rules is an important step forward.

Lamar Alexander

2:11:22 to 2:11:42( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: i do not in any way want to diminish what i believe we're about to do here. but we need a change in behavior more than we need a change in rules and this has caused us to talk across party lines about what we want. and i think what we want is what senator udall said as a whole. we'd like most bills to come through committee. most bills then to come to the floor.

Lamar Alexander

2:11:43 to 2:12:03( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: most bills then to have a chance for most senators to be able to offer most of their amendments and then to get votes. that's what we should try to do most of the time. sometimes the republicans will want to repeal the health care law and the democrats will use all of their resources to defeat it. and the democrats in the house will send over a bill to repeal

Lamar Alexander

2:12:04 to 2:12:24( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: the secret ballot and union elections and republicans will try to defeat that. so we'll use all our resources then. that won't be most of the time. most of the time we will be able to do our jobs better to be able to represent the people who sent us here. i hope that those who have provoked this discussion feel a sense of satisfaction about what they've don't even though i know in every case they didn't get

Lamar Alexander

2:12:25 to 2:12:46( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: exactly what -- what they wanted. and then, finally, i -- there is a long response to senator harkin's excellent comments on his amendment, which he's been fighting for for 16 years, but with a couple of exceptions i'll put in the record. i ask unanimous consent to include at the end of my remarks

Lamar Alexander

2:12:47 to 2:13:08( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: an address i made to the heritage foundation on january 4. the presiding officer: without objection, included inned record. mr. alexander: he believes that we ought to bring every debate eventually to 51 votes. and so i would respectfully term his amendment as a sort of hang me now or hang me later.

Lamar Alexander

2:13:09 to 2:13:31( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: i mean, you know, eventually it's not 60 votes you're going to require, it's 51. he says that's the way it ought to be. i disagree. so do many others and i'll just cite two distinguished senators who spoke on the floor of the senate about five years ago when a number of republicans got it in their mind that they would like to change the filibuster

Lamar Alexander

2:13:32 to 2:13:52( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: rule as it affects judges. this is what the democratic whip, harry reid, said then. the filibuster is far from a procedural gimmick. it's part of the fabric of this constitution that we call the senate. for 200 years we've had the right to extend the debate. it's not a procedural gimmick. some in this chamber want to throw out 214 years of senate

Lamar Alexander

2:13:53 to 2:14:13( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: history in the quest for absolute power. they want to do away with mr. smith as depicted in that great movie being able to come to washington. they want to do away with the filibuster. they think they're wiser than the founding fathers, i doubt that's true, said senator reid. and then another senator, the senator from illinois, barack obama.

Lamar Alexander

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

Lamar Alexander: then in the majority, referring then to the republican majority, then to the majority, said senator obama, chooses to end the filibuster. if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate, then the fighting and bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse. i would suggest, madam president, that as a result of

Lamar Alexander

2:14:35 to 2:14:55( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: this discussion, we preserve the senate as an institution, a forum for deliberation where minority rights are protected, but we've also taken some important steps forward or about to with rules changes to make the function better and we've reached a consensus among ourselves informally, any heway,

Lamar Alexander

2:14:56 to 2:15:16( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: that's represented by the colloquy placed in the record that will be placed in the record by senator reid and senator mcconnell. oology ever and so what we really want is an opportunity to represent the american people the way they since the here to do, to take these difficult pieces of legislation, bring them to committee, bring them to the floor and for us to have a

Lamar Alexander

2:15:17 to 2:15:31( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: chance to amend and debate and vote on nem. that would be most of the time. and some cht time we'll exercise all of our minority and majority rights to defeat a bill, because that's all what we're sent here to do.

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