Speeches & Floor Statements

Floor Remarks of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) : Broken Senate

Posted on September 20, 2012

“Some say the cure for a ‘do-nothing Senate’ is a change to its rules; I say we need a change in behavior. I’d like to offer an example.

“We have a big spending and borrowing problem in this country: we’re borrowing 42 cents of every dollar we spend, we’re headed off a fiscal cliff, and Australia’s foreign minister has said the United States is one budget deal away from restoring its global preeminence. So, you’d think the Senate would have a budget. And you’d think we’d deal with the appropriations bills, which are the basic work of the Senate. I and others on both sides of the aisle came to the floor earlier this year to compliment [Majority Leader Reid and Republican Leader McConnell] for their decision to bring all 12 appropriations bills to the floor. The committees did their work: 11 of the 12 have been reported to the floor. The House did its work: 11 of the 12 were reported to the House floor, and six were passed. But the Senate majority leader said we’re not going to consider any appropriations bills.

“Being elected to the Senate and not being allowed to vote on appropriations bills is like being invited to join the Grand Ole Opry and not being allowed to sing. The country needs a Republican Senate. If we get one, we’ll have a budget. If we get one, we’ll bring appropriations bills to the floor – we’ll debate them, we’ll amend them, we’ll vote on them, and we’ll do our job.”