Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander today held a press conference for the kind of small bill that would normally only merit a short, written statement. Four Senators each said a few words about a proposal to help working mothers pay for day care. But the bigger point may just who the Senators were: two Republicans, and two Democrats.
Alexander is a vocal critic of increasingly partisan tactics in the Senate. He hopes this effort serves as an example of how the Senate can and should work.
Rather than pushing each other around, we need to do what we’re doing here. We’ve worked out a compromise, we’re going to bring it to the floor, we’ve got a number of amendments by both Democrats and Republicans, we’re going to debate them, vote on them, and hopefully pass the bill.
Alexander is quick to let others take ownership of this bill. However, both the Washington Post and Politico credit the Tennessee Republican and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer with at least momentarily changing the tone of the Senate. They reportedly convinced Speaker Harry Reid to take a break from fast-tracking highly divisive measures and allow action on less controversial ones.