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Public Statements

Amending the Standing Rules and Procedure of the Senate

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LEE. Mr. President, in just a moment I will be offering an amendment to S. Res. 15. The purpose of this amendment is to protect this institution as the world's greatest deliberative legislative body. The hallmark characteristics of this body that make it distinct, that make it both great and deliberative, include the fact that as individual Senators we are supposed to have the right to participate in an open and robust debate that includes an open amendment process. This is historically one of the things that has defined this institution. It is naturally the outgrowth of the fact that pursuant to article V of the Constitution, each State of the Union is entitled to equal representation in the Senate.

So as we are talking tonight, we have to remember that we are not talking about the rights of the minority or the majority. We are talking about the rights of each individual Senator having been duly elected by the voters in his or her State. I have a concern that some of the implications of S. Res. 15 could undermine this characteristic of the Senate. In other words, S. Res. 15, while crafted with the very best of intentions, could be applied at some point so as to undermine this right of each and every Senator to offer an amendment.

What my amendment does is to guarantee that once this procedure, the procedure under the standing order created by S. Res. 15--once it has been invoked, every Senator in this body would have the right to file, postcloture, a germane amendment to the pending legislation.

I think the history, the custom, and the tradition of this body and all the things that have made this body great require nothing less than that.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment once we bring it up.

I yield my time.


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