Community Fire Safety Actby Senator Jeff Sessions
Posted on 2013-12-17
SESSIONS. On the last vote, I wish to mention to my colleagues
what happened and what has happened. A major bill dealing with the debt
of the United States was supposed to come out of a budget conference
committee and come here.
The budget conference committee failed to complete its meetings and a piece of legislation was sent to the Senate. That legislation has not been subject to amendment.
The majority leader decided there would be no amendments, and he would simply tell us that if we have amendments that will kill the bill or if we have amendments that will make us delay, we can't do it and we will not do it and we will not get an amendment.
A number of good amendments have been filed. The one we just voted on was one of the more egregious. That amendment reduces the retirement pay of the U.S. military without reducing the retirement pay of anyone else who served in government, only the military. So I moved to table the filled tree that Majority Leader Reid has been using to block anybody from having amendments in the Senate on serious legislation.
I mean, this is serious legislation we didn't get to vote on. So the choice for our colleagues, when they cast their vote, was would they vote to allow an amendment to be voted on that would protect veterans, military retirees, from having their pensions reduced; or would they support the majority leader in his determination to block any amendments to the legislation? So a majority has voted. They voted to block the classical rights of Senators to have amendments and therefore to protect the leadership and the domination of this Senate in an unprecedented way by the majority leader.
He has already filled the tree more times than the previous four majority leaders combined--more than twice as often. On every bill now, it seems, he fills the tree. To get an amendment, he has to approve it or you don't get it. If he decides there are no amendments, there are no amendments. So this is contrary to the tradition of the Senate, and we have to change this. This highlights the danger of supporting that kind of process because it keeps us from fixing bad legislation and improving it.
I thank the Chair, and I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.