Senate Republican Leader to Step Down

Posted September 20th, 2011 at 1:40 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican, says he will step down from the number three minority position in the Senate in January, to do more to make the Senate more effective.

Alexander, the Republican conference chairman, made the announcement Tuesday in remarks before his colleagues.

Last week, a CBS/New York Times poll found congressional approval ratings had dropped back to the record low they hit in October 2008 when the country was mired in an economic recession. Respondents said they were fed up with partisanship and the lack of compromise between the two main political parties.

In his remarks, Alexander pledged his loyalty to the Republican party. But the former state governor and U.S. education secretary has been known to cooperate with Democrats on legislation, and observers say he may help break down some of the tensions that often hold the two parties at a deadlock.

Alexander also said Tuesday he does not plan to seek a Senate leadership position in the next congressional session, but will run for a third term in office in 2014.