Alexander Gains Lead Role on Senate Committee that Preserves the Senate as “Protector of Minority Rights”

Keeps Assignments on Committees Overseeing Federal Spending, Education, Health Care, Environment, TVA

Posted on February 2, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced that yesterday he was elected unanimously by Senate Republicans to serve during the 112th Congress as the highest-ranking Republican, known as the “Ranking Member,” on the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, where the senator said “the Senate’s tradition as protector of minority rights from the ‘tyranny of the majority’ is preserved.”

Recently Alexander, as the third-ranking Senate Republican and Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, served as the lead Senate Republican in negotiations with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the third-ranking Senate Democrat, on what Alexander characterized as Democratic proposals to weaken the minority party’s right to debate and amend legislation. Those negotiations resulted successfully in an agreement announced on the Senate floor by the Democratic and Republican Leaders. You can read about the outcome of those negotiations HERE.

The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration has jurisdiction over all such proposals to change how the Senate operates. Of the opportunity to work with Rules Committee Chairman Schumer, Alexander said, “I look forward to having good, open discussions with Chairman Schumer and the other members of the Committee about the kind of place we want to work—the kind of Senate that would serve the American people the best. And above all, we need to come to a consensus about a change in behavior, which I believe in the end will be more important than a change in Senate rules.” 

In a recent speech, Alexander said that in the 112th Congress, “The goal should be to restore the Senate to its historic role where the voices of the people can be heard, rather than silenced, where their ideas can be offered as amendments, rather than suppressed, and where those amendments can be debated and voted upon rather than cut off.”

The Rules Committee also has jurisdiction over legislation concerning federal elections, campaign finance, and other related issues.

In addition to his new position as Ranking Member on the Rules Committtee, Alexander announced that he will continue to serve on Senate committees that have jurisdiction over federal spending, education, health care, the environment, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Alexander said, “I am pleased to continue my work in Senate committees where I can help create policies that will improve the lives of Tennesseans by reducing Washington’s out-of-control spending; making it easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs; helping state and local leaders improve our public schools; and cleaning the air. I’ll also keep working to reverse policies that have acted like a wet blanket on our economy, including repealing the new health care law and replacing it step-by-step with reforms that help more Americans afford health insurance.”

Specifically, Alexander will serve on the following Senate committees during the 112th Congress:

  • Committee on Rules and Administration
  • Committee on Environment and Public Works
  • Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
  • Committee on Appropriations

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