WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Sen. Mike Lee called on Sen. Harry Reid, the senate majority leader, to end the abuse of procedural tactics used to prevent debate on legislation. In a speech on the senate floor, Lee said that by “filling the tree” the majority leader blocked other senators from offering “any amendments other than those few that the majority leader decided could be offered.”
The Senate is currently considering legislation that would have a wide range of effects on public land use, as well as wildlife conservation and management. Lee said he voted to proceed to the bill believing he would have an opportunity to offer up amendments.
“The bill is important to me in many respects,” Lee said in his speech. “One of the things that has gotten my attention is that it addresses a number of issues related to federal public lands. It addresses a number of other issues related to wildlife conservation, wildlife management and other issues that are important to hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts across the country. One of the reasons why this bill is especially important to me is that I represent the great state of Utah, a state that has a lot of federal land.”
He inquired as to why the majority leader felt it necessary to block the amendment process when the Senate has shown the ability to debate and amend broad and complicated pieces of legislation in the past, such as the National Defense Authorization Act and the Farm Bill.
“I appreciated the majority leader’s willingness in that circumstance to allow us to have a pretty open, robust debate and discussion and an open amendment process,” he said. “We still passed the bill even though we had to conduct a lot of debate, a lot of discussion, and a lot of votes.”
Lee concluded: “I ask him, I implore him as my friend to reconsider this practice of ‘filling the tree’ and thereby forestalling the introduction of amendments. We need an open amendment process. Our status as the world’s greatest deliberative legislative body requires nothing less.”
View Lee’s address:
Submitted by the Office of Sen. Mike Lee.