Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) said on the Senate floor today that he does not expect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to change Senate rules "because Reid knows that a vote to end the filibuster is a vote to complete Yucca Mountain.”
Senator Alexander said Majority Leader Reid "has used Senate filibuster rules to stall the nuclear waste repository in Nevada and that if all Democrats who once voted for completing it did so again, there would be a bipartisan Senate majority to license and build the repository.
He also said that Majority Leader Reid would not change Senate rules further in this Congress because “he has said he would not do that, and senators keep their word.” He said Majority Leader Reid has said ending the filibuster would be the end of the Senate and that “no majority leader wants written on his tombstone that he presided over the end of the United States Senate.”
Senator Alexander said that “if short-sighted Democrats turn the Senate into a place where a majority can do anything it wants, soon a majority of 51 Republicans will find a way to do anything we want.”
The senator then offered his list of 10 priorities "that a Republican majority would enact if the rules were to change as Majority Leader Reid has threatened to do":
S. 1: Repeal Obamacare
S. 2: Pell Grants for Kids
S. 3: Complete Yucca Mountain
S. 4: Make Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CPFB) Accountable to Congress
S. 5: Drill in ANWR, Build Keystone Pipeline
S. 6: $1 Trillion Entitlement Reform
S. 7: Right-to-Work for Every State
S. 8: Repeal the Death Tax
S. 9: No EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases
S. 10: Repeal Davis-Bacon
Senator Alexander also said that to suggest that Republicans are using rules to frustrate President Obama’s nominations is “complete nonsense” and cited figures from the Congressional Research Service he said show that the president’s cabinet nominees are being approved as rapidly as were those of Presidents George W. Bush and Clinton. He said only five judges await confirmation.
Senator Alexander said that at the beginning of the last two Congresses, he worked with Democrats and Republicans "to make it easier for any president to have their nominees more easily confirmed by reforming Senate rules."