Sen. Alexander: Don’t ban the useful filibuster
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Monday that “Republicans who want to abolish the filibuster in the United States Senate are Republicans with short memories.”
The senator, a former chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said, “The Senate’s 226-year tradition of extended debate was created to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority, and for the last 70 years, most of the time Republicans have been the minority needing that protection.
“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 six years. During those 22 years, without a Senate filibuster, Demo-crats could have enacted any law they wanted.”
To get an idea of what could happen when Democrats have the presidency and control of Congress and Republicans do not have more than 40 votes to block a piece of legislation, Alexander pointed to 2009 and 2010 when “the country got Obamacare.”
He predicted that, if Hillary Clinton were president and there were Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress, at the top of the agenda would be a law to abolish the right-to-work law in 25 states.
“Without a Senate filibuster,” he said, “you can kiss state right-to-work laws goodbye.”
Close behind that, he predicted, would come “higher taxes, more gun control, fewer abortion restrictions, making every city a sanctuary city, ‘card check’ instead of the secret ballot for union elections, and numerous other liberal laws.”
Sen. Corker speaks out on Iran nuclear deal
Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, last week led the opposition to the president’s nuclear agreement with Iran. In remarks on the Senate floor, he decried a partisan effort by a minority of senators to obstruct an up-or-down vote on a resolution to disapprove of the agreement.
Corker said the congressional review process established by his legislation was the only way to guarantee a role for Congress since the president chose to make this deal with Iran an executive agreement, which is not binding on the next administration and does not require approval of two-thirds of the Senate like a treaty.
Bipartisan act to support housing finance reform
Sen. Bob Corker was joined by Senate colleagues Mark Warner (D-Va.), David Vitter (R-La.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), all members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, last week in reintroducing legislation to spur substantive and structural housing finance reform.
The “Jumpstart GSE Reform Act” would prohibit any increase in the guarantee fee – which is required to be charged by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – from offsetting other government spending while also prohibiting the sale of Treasury-owned senior preferred shares in the GSEs without congressional approval and structural housing finance reform.
“There is an overwhelming bipartisan, bicameral consensus that congressional action is needed to reform our housing finance system and it is hard to imagine that anyone truly wants to return the GSEs to the failed model of private gains and public losses,” said Corker.
He continued, “While comprehensive reform is my preference, we must not allow a small minority to prevent us from making any progress at all. I will continue to look for ways to move us closer to a long-term solution for our housing finance system and am pleased to have Senators Warner, Vitter, and Warren join me in this effort.”
The act would help ensure the ultimate resolution of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is determined by Congress.
The legislation would prohibit any increase in the guarantee fee — which is required to be charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — from being used by lawmakers to offset other government spending while also prohibiting the sale of Treasury-owned senior preferred shares in the GSEs without congressional approval and structural reform of our nation’s housing finance system.