Sen. Alexander against filibuster reform

The Senate's third-ranking Republican argued Tuesday that filibuster reform would mute minority viewpoints in the chamber.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the Republican Conference chairman, called on Democrats hoping to reform the filibuster in the Senate to have "cooler heads." Senate Democrats have indicated they plan on proposing legislation to weaken the filibuster when Congress reconvenes this week.

In a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Alexander said the move would hinder legislators from amending legislation.

"Let's be clear what we mean when we say the word 'filibuster,' " Alexander said. "So the real 'party of no' is the majority party that has been saying 'no' to debate, and 'no' to voting on amendments that minority members believe improve legislation and express the voices of the people they represent."

Instead, Alexander suggested improving the Senate by requiring all senators to vote, end the "three-day work week" and end the practice of secret holds.

Alexander blamed both the president and congressional democrats in the speech — the president for vetting appointees slowly, which Alexander argued results in filibusters occurring, and Democrats for using filibuster reform as a "power grab."

"Finally, it is hard to see what partisan advantage Democrats gain from destroying the Senate as a forum for consensus and protection of minority rights, since any legislation they jam through  without bipartisan support will undoubtedly die in the Republican-controlled House during the next two years," Alexander said.