Sen. Alexander's Deeply Dishonest Filibuster Reform Speech

January 05, 2011 12:11 pm ET

At a Heritage Foundation event yesterday, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) gave a speech decrying Democratic attempts to change the filibuster rules. The speech was shot through with falsehoods, such as the claim that Democrats are trying to eliminate minority rights in the Senate because they lost an election. In fact, the reform proposals preserve the filibuster, but require obstructionists to actually hold the floor continuously to prevent a bill's consideration. Similarly, Alexander claimed that Democrats have invented the simple majority vote for rules changes out of thin air, but the practice is based in the Constitution and was used as early as 1917 — and Republicans argued for the procedure in 2005. Later, Alexander disingenuously quoted the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV). Byrd condemned GOP filibusters, but Alexander simply skipped that part of Byrd's speech. Most egregious among Alexander's falsehoods, he claimed that Democrats are "the real party of no," despite the fact that filibusters have doubled since Republicans lost control of the Senate.

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