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Johanns Says Senate Rules Changes Undermine Founders' Vision


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today spoke on the Senate floor about the current proposal to change Senate rules in a way that would allow the majority -- regardless of which party is in power -- to run roughshod over those in the minority. He said the proposed changes would impact all Americans, particularly those that live in rural states like Nebraska.

"The changes that are being contemplated would significantly impact everyday Americans especially those in rural or less populated states. Take Nebraska, for example. We don't consider ourselves small. We have almost two million people and several Fortune 500 companies. But we also don't like the idea of getting steam rolled by high-population states, for example, California and New York or Illinois."

"If changes are needed, a bipartisan supermajority should approve them, not a simple majority changing the rules to break the rules. … It's often said that those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it. I hope my colleagues will study this history … and decide to abandon this ill-advised, hostile takeover of the United States Senate, this attempt to put a gag on the minority."

"This great institution has evolved into a constant cycle of bringing flawed legislation to the floor, filling the amendment tree to prohibit all amendments, daring the minority party to vote "no" to protect the rights of their constituents. And when they do so, claim that they are filibustering and obstructionists. If we could fix one basic problem, we could return the Senate to its most basic principle of open debate and opportunity for amendments. … And we'd get back in the business of being United States Senators again and working together again."

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