Cornyn, center, said he hopes the Republican Party has learned something from it’s Election Day losses.
“I was particularly encouraged to hear Sen. Moran say he was going to, or had, recruited Rob Portman and Ted Cruz to work in that effort,” Cornyn said. “It is a team effort. They don’t call it a committee for nothing. It’s supposed to be more than just a lone wolf effort. It’s supposed to be a conference wide effort. And I thought that showed a lot of wisdom.”
As whip, Cornyn hopes to present a united front in the Senate by keeping Republicans voting together as often possible. That, he believes, would maximize their input on legislation and the agenda.
“Its really important given the fact that we have 45 Republicans that we remain cohesive and united and that is going to take some work,” Cornyn said. “Not every state, as I have learned in the NRSC job, is like Texas.”
Cornyn said he also hopes that now that the elections are over, the Senate will return to regular order with a more open process for amendments on the floor under Democratic leadership.
“One of the things that I think characterized the Senate for the past two years is that the minority had been shut out by Sen. [Harry] Reid filling the tree and limiting debate,” Cornyn said. “That is not the Senate that our founders conceived in a way that allows us, even in the minority, to serve our constituents.
“I am hopeful we will have a new beginning and we will have a more open process where people will have the opportunity to offer suggestions based on the needs of their constituents and have debate and then vote and we’ll have the Senate work its will,” he said.
Cornyn added that the president would also play a role in whether the Senate can function.
“I do believe it depends a lot on the president because when the president takes a position, it provides political cover and it also sends a signal that its okay for Democrats to vote in support of a compromise,” Cornyn said, adding that he knows the minority will have a reduced role in the legislative agenda.
Nevertheless, “I do expect that our suggestions will be respected in the sense that they will be allowed to be heard and have votes on them,” Cornyn said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.