Skip to main content

U.S. Capitol building.
The Senate is lumbering toward a spending bill that will prevent a government shutdown on March 27, very slowly. Congress watcher Jamie Dupree has the whole, depressing saga of this bill, which has been languishing on the floor since it passed out of committee March 11.
The next day, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to quickly move the Senate on to the bill, but ran into resistance from Republicans, as Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) protested that they weren't given enough time to read the bill before legislative action commenced.
Ah, the old "reading the bill" trope, one of the favorite Republican excuses for obstruction. Here's a dirty little secret of Congress: Members don't read bills. That's why they have staff, who divide up the bill by their issue areas and then brief their bosses. It's a stalling tactic, pure and simple. As is the next tactic they employed, delay by amendment. Something like 90 amendments flooded in when the bill came to the floor. A handful were dispensed with in the first few days of consideration, then the process ground to a halt as the amendments piled up and no agreement on how to proceed on them could be found.
Sen. Reid made clear that if there was no agreement, he would move to cut off debate Monday and then force final action, which would likely mean no votes on any more amendments.

When the Senate returned on Monday afternoon this week, there was still no agreement; several hours later Reid went to the floor with a deal to allow for ten amendments to be voted on.

That did not satisfy every Senator, and his request was quickly torpedoed.

"I object," said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who wanted a vote on her plan to strike out $380 million for a controversial missile defense program known as MEADS.

Which is where they've been pretty much since. Reid did move to cut off debate with a cloture motion that passed Monday afternoon. Then 30 hours had to elapse because that's what cloture does. But here's the odd thing with this bill: procedurally, it's two bills. It's the House bill H.R. 933, the underlying bill, and the Senate substitution bill to that one. Which means there has to be two cloture votes, and two 30-hour waiting periods. Barring any agreement reached today, the final vote on this bill won't happen until Thursday. But, hey, that's a full six days (including what is supposed to be the congressional Easter/Passover recess) for the bill to go back to be passed by the House and signed by the president before the government runs out of money.

No wonder we can't have nice things.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:32 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site