Alexander Statement on Senate Filibuster

Posted on December 21, 2018

WASHINGTON, December 21, 2018 — United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on the Senate filibuster: 

“In 1978, a young conservative Republican senator, Orrin Hatch of Utah, used six legislative filibusters to block the number one objective of American labor unions—one that would have forever changed the rights of employers and employees—even though there was a Democrat President, 292 Democrat House members and 62 Democrat Senators. The legislative filibuster—the requirement that it takes 60 votes to pass major legislation—protects the minority, and for most of the last 70 years, conservatives and Republicans have been in the minority. Since World War II, Democrats have controlled the Presidency and both houses of Congress for 22 years; Republicans have had such complete control for only 8 years. 

“We are a nation that prizes the rule of law. How can we expect Americans to follow the rules when their number one rule making institution, the U.S. Senate, will not follow its own rules? When Democrats used the nuclear option in 2013 to break the Senate rules in order to change the rules, Democrat Senator Carl Levin of Michigan said, ‘A senate majority that can change the rules anytime it wishes, is a Senate without any rules.’ It is  like allowing the home team to change the rules in the middle of the game, saying a nine yard gain is a first down, or a three point shot counts for four. 

“We have rules to follow.  I want to put a stop to this practice of the Senate breaking its rules to change its rules. I will not vote to turn the Senate into a rule-breaking institution and I hope that my colleagues will not.



Lamar Alexander is the senior senator from Tennessee, and he serves as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. For his full biography, click here.