Editorial: Paid by the word — Sessions named Senate’s top talker for 2013, but what did it gain?
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Jan 02, 2014 | 2625 views |  0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sen. Jeff Sessions
Sen. Jeff Sessions
Many Alabamians are undoubtedly proud of the congressional record of Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Mobile Republican.

In recent years especially, Sessions has solidified his position as a lawmaker unafraid to make a stand — and stick with it, without fail, over and over again. Last year, his rants against a comprehensive immigration reform bill Democrats tried to get through Congress made everyday appearances on Capitol Hill and the news media that covers it.

Whether intentional or by chance, Alabama’s junior senator became a familiar face of Republican opposition to immigration reform.

Turns out that Sessions’ time spent on the Senate floor last year earned him the position as the chamber’s most talkative member. No other member of the U.S. Senate logged more speaking time last year than Sessions, according to the Los Angeles Times and estimates from a C-SPAN Video Archives analysis.

In short spurts and lengthy orations, Sessions spent more than 33 hours in 2013 at the Senate microphone. No other Republican threatened Sessions’ mark. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-N.V., was his party’s top speaker with nearly 30 hours of mic time. Time-wise, Sessions and his proud Alabama drawl ruled the Senate in 2013.

Granted, Sessions didn’t pull a Ted Cruz talk-a-thon and blabber endlessly in an infantile, fruitless effort to thwart Democratic legislation. (Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham will never be the same.) Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, spoke for more than 20 hours in September in opposition to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Neither did Sessions mimic Sen. Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, who took to the chamber floor in March for a 13-hour filibuster against a White House nominee for CIA chief.

But Sessions talked, and talked, and talked — mainly against the immigration reform bill and about fiscal matters (he is the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee). As The Los Angeles Times pointed out, Sessions’ trophy as the Senate’s top speaker for 2013 comes despite him being in the minority party and holding no formal leadership position.

If only Sessions had done more with his time at the mic.

Unfortunately, Sessions wielded the Republicans’ “Party of No” banner as if he’d created it, sticking to a far-right, rigid ideology that rules too much of the GOP today. Sessions’ C-SPAN face time televised him fighting against all things Democratic and all things Obama, right on cue.

By and large, a growing number of Americans believe Washington’s dysfunction is a hopeless case of partisan bickering that seems to have no end. How we wish one of Alabama’s senators would become the face of bipartisan attempts to right what’s wrong on Capitol Hill.
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