A picture of Senator Lamar Alexander
Lamar A.
Republican TN

About Sen. Lamar
  • Executive Session

    by Senator Lamar Alexander

    Posted on 2013-02-14

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    ALEXANDER. I thank the Senator from Arizona. Probably the best known function of the Senate--constitutional responsibility--is the right of advise and consent. We take it very seriously. Here that means we have to consider what happens. The Armed Services Committee, upon which I do not have a chance to serve, completed its consideration of Senator Hagel's nomination 2 days ago. Now it is before the whole body. He is the President's appointee. The President has a right to appoint people in whom he has confidence. But we have a constitutional responsibility to consider the nominee.



    A number of Republican Senators have questions, including the Senator from Arizona, the Senator from South Carolina, that they would like to have answered. I think they are entitled to that. I think if the shoe were on the other foot and it were a Republican President making a nomination, Democratic Senators would say the same thing: Give us a reasonable amount of time to consider this nomination on the floor of the Senate.

    I have a little experience in that myself. The first President Bush nominated me to be U.S. Education Secretary about 20 years ago. I thought I was a fairly noncontroversial nominee, much less important than the Secretary of Defense. But I remember very well, it was 87 days between the time the President announced my nomination and the day on which the Senate unanimously confirmed me.

    There was, at the time, a Senator from Ohio named Metzenbaum, who for whatever reason decided the Senate needed more delay to consider my record and my background.

    There is nothing new about this. I would respectfully suggest that the majority leader's motion to cut off debate on Senator Hagel, made 2 days after his nomination comes to the floor of the Senate, is premature.

    Republican Senators have questions they would like to have answered. I think they are entitled to do that. When we come back from recess, 10 days from now, I think that is sufficient time to consider those questions. I will vote for cloture so we can have an up-or-down vote on the President's nominee for the Secretary of Defense. I think the President is entitled to that but not prematurely.

    I thank the Senator from Arizona for yielding time.

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