Alexander Statement on Senate Rules Change

Posted on April 3, 2019

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2019 — United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement after voting to change the Senate rules to speed confirmation of some presidential nominations.

“Today I voted for basically the same reasonable limits on the amount of time senators can debate President Trump’s nominees that I voted for – and no Democrat opposed – in 2013 to ensure prompt consideration of President Obama’s nominees,” Alexander said. “This is necessary because of Democrats’ unprecedented delay of President Trump’s nominees making it difficult to form a government. This obstructionism debases the Senate’s constitutional role of advice and consent to presidential nominees and has to stop.”

In 2011, 2012 and 2013, Alexander worked in a bipartisan way with Senators Reid, McConnell, Schumer, Barrasso, Levin, McCain, Kyl, Cardin, Collins, Lieberman and others, to change the Senate rules to make it easier for President Obama and his successors to gain confirmation of presidential nominees.

In a Senate floor speech delivered Monday evening, Alexander noted: “I don't think rising above politics ought to be a one-way street. At a time when many complain that the executive has too much power, the Senate is deliberately weakening itself when we undermine our advice and consent role. What's the result of that? Well, it diminishes our constitutional role to advice and consent because what happens in the executive branch is it just is loaded up with acting appointees who've never had to go through our confirmation process.

“We know this has to change. Our friends on the other side know it has to change. So, we have a truly miserable choice. Either we continue to diminish the constitutional advice and consent role of the Senate, or we use the ‘Harry Reid precedent’ to change the rules of the Senate by majority vote. I don't like the Harry Reid precedent, but even more miserable is continuing this debasement of the advice and consent role of the Senate.”