Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said any rules change by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to end the filibuster would mean that he “presided over the end of the United States Senate.”
Speaking on the floor, Alexander said the move by Democrats to require a simple majority to end debate on presidential nominees instead of the 60 currently required would undermine the Senate’s constitutional role.
“Most of the Founders of this country didn’t want a king, and they created a system of checks and balances, and they created a Congress. And they created an ability for us to restrain an imperial presidency,” he said. “And that’s what this advice and consent is supposed to do, and we should exercise that.”
“…The advice and consent responsibility of the Senate has gone on since the days this country was founded.”
Reid complained on the floor today that “Republican obstruction has affected nearly every single one of President Obama’s nominees.”
“This obstruction has continued at every level and through creative new methods. Even before President Obama’s nominations reach the Senate floor, Senate Republicans bog them down with unreasonable demands that are designed to be unattainable,” he said. “…The Constitution gives the President the right and the power to choose his team. And it grants the Senate the right to advise and consent. But consistent and unprecedented obstruction by the Republican Caucus has turned ‘advise and consent’ into ‘deny and obstruct.’”
Alexander charged that Reid simply wants “to turn this body into a place where the majority can do whatever it wants to do.”
He also noted that Reid said in his own book, The Good Fight, that changing the filibuster rules would be a “Pandora’s Box” that “simply put, would be the end of the United States Senate.”
“I do not want Senator Reid to have written on his tombstone he presided over the end of the United States Senate,” Alexander said. “Yet, if he does what he’s threatening to do, that would be what he’s remembered for in the history of this country.”
Reid compared the filibustering of nominees to baseball.
“The Major League Baseball season begins in April. Now, imagine Mike Rizzo, the National’s general manager, called up Davey Johnson and said, ‘I know Adam LaRoche is a swell first baseman, a Golden Glover and a classic power hitter. But you can’t play him until June.’ Then Rizzo called up Davey Johnson and said, ‘Sure, Ryan Zimmerman is a great third baseman. He won the Silver Slugger Award. He’s an All-Star and Golden Glover. But you can’t play him until after the All-Star Break. And don’t bother with the bullpen; you can’t use any of your relievers until August,’” the majority leader said. “That is ridiculous, but that’s exactly what Republicans are saying to President Obama.”