Sessions: Reid eroding historic role of the Senate

Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Thursday night that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is destroying the Senate's role as a body that carefully considers and amends legislation.

On the Senate floor, Sessions said a prime example is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a $600 billion bill authorizing all defense activities that will likely pass tonight without consideration of a single amendment.

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"The majority leader is eroding the Senate's historic role as the great chamber where the issues are debated, changes and amendments are voted on," Sessions said. "And he is being enabled and supported by his conference."

Sessions and several other Republicans have complained about not having any voice in the NDAA. He said just two votes were held when the Senate tried to move the bill earlier in the year, and today will get no amendments.

"To think it's going to pass in this body without a single person having a single idea that ought to be made a part of that bill," he said. "Cannot it not be made better?"

Sessions argued that Reid's claims of GOP obstructionism has been overstated, as Republicans are most often objecting to bills because Reid is not allowing any amendments. He said Reid routinely fills the "amendment tree," leaving no place for other amendments, then calls for a vote to end debate on the bill as is.

"And then if the Republicans resist and say, 'we're not going to vote to end debate because we haven't had any amendments,' [Reid] says 'you're obstructionists,' " Sessions said.

"In truth, he's the one that's obstructing the Senate," Sessions said of Reid. "He's the one that's blocking debate and amendments."

The Senate is expected to approve the NDAA by midnight tonight, and then begin the process of ending debate and approving Obama administration nominees. Senate Republicans are expected to go home after the NDAA vote, leaving Democrats to stay in session through Saturday to vote on Janet Yellen as the next Federal Reserve Board chair.

Earlier in the day, Reid blamed Republicans for failing to cooperate by quickly ending debate and passing the NDAA and various nominees.

"With cooperation, the Senate could easily pass this bill today," Reid said. "But without cooperation from our Republican colleagues, senators should expect late night and weekend votes."