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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)(L), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) leave the weekly Senate Republican meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 26, 2013.  REUTERS/Jason Reed
Republicans are really pushing the narrative that the reason the Senate can't get anything like continuing long-term unemployment insurance done is because Harry Reid is mean and won't give them amendments. It's a narrative that is getting some traction, like in this Politico article. What's missing here, as usual, is any sense of what Republicans have actually been doing with amendments.
After the recent scuttling of bipartisan bills on energy efficiency and expired jobless aid, the knotted-up chamber is reaching levels of gridlock that may make it impossible to score even legislative layups. [...]

[F]euding that began last November when Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made an unprecedented change to the Senate’s filibuster rules is intensifying into an utter breakdown of the amendment process that risks throwing low-level measures like the flood bill into limbo. [...]

Republicans direct much of their ire at Reid, the hard-nosed majority leader who seeks to protect vulnerable Democrats from tough votes on hot-button issues like health care, the Keystone XL pipeline and abortion. More than any other leader before him, Reid has closed off the amendment process by an arcane procedural maneuver known as “filling the tree,” prompting howls of protest from GOP senators who complain they’ve been shut out of the process.

Gosh, what a horrible person Harry Reid is, trying to protect his Democrats. Never mind that health care, Keystone XL, and abortion show up in dozens of amendments offered on every bill that comes to the floor, whether or not the bill has anything at all to do with any of those issues. Never mind that Republicans insist on having dozens and dozens of these poison pill amendments and if they don't get their way, block bills from moving forward. Consider the defense authorization bill, with more that 350 amendments offered, that Republicans refused to allow to go forward, eventually killing Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-NY) sexual assault amendment, one that had bipartisan support. Sen. David Vitter's (R-LA) was instrumental there, with yet another variation on his obsession with Congressional staff getting Obamacare.

It's not just the nature of the poison pill amendments Republicans are offering, it's the sheer volume. Offering up dozens and dozens of amendments and insisting on them being considered eats up huge amounts of time. Scratch that, it wastes huge amounts of time. It prevents the Senate Democratic majority from being able to implement President Barack Obama's agenda, which is and has always been the whole point for Republicans. So whenever you see a Republican senator shedding crocodile tears over Senate gridlock, keep that in mind.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 10:19 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 10:19:43 AM PST

  •  and yet, the corporate media (8+ / 0-)

    never report it this way. People  who are  not highly involved  think that democrats not allowing amendments means that  they are not allowing input from the other side about the relevant legislation.  Thus  we get the false equivilancy arguments that the democrats are  being obstructive by not allowing  amendments when iit is the amendments themselves that are the obstruction!

  •  As I said, Reid should use the majority to (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    avsp, kpardue, Drocedus, mmacdDE, OooSillyMe

    establish the following rule:

    Once you vote on an amendment, ANY OTHER amendment concerning that topic may NEVER be used as an amendment again and must be brought as stand alone legislation.

    So if Keystone is used as an amendment and gets voted down, it must be brought as stand-alone legislation.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 10:38:23 AM PST

    •  Another rule I'd like to see is the amendment (0+ / 0-)

      has to be related to the bill.  Crazy, I know.

    •  IMHO there shouldn't be any amendments to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OooSillyMe

      Bills at all. If you need to change something, change the whole bill and vote on that.

      At least then it might make some sense when it finally gets voted on. Now you wind up with completely unrelated crap in the bill which makes people vote against something that would otherwise pass, because attached to it is an amendment that gives Wyoming immunity from all federal laws or some other stupid thing.

      Vote on the bill, not the gazillion other things that got tacked on.

  •  It's the Mad Hatter messaging (6+ / 0-)

    Up is really down. Hot is really cold.

    The sad thing is - it's working.

    Witness Ted Cruz on Face the Nation yesterday.

    This has to be labeled as Crazy. Not just a lie - crazy.

    •  When you're out of ammunition, throw shit (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OooSillyMe, Capt Crunch

      That's the new GOP message, from Cruz and his batshitty revision of history in less than 6 months (that's a record even for the old Soviet Union) to the Canters, McConnels and other off-kilter white dudes who have not realized they've reached the end of the cliff.
      Since they've still lost the women, and most minorities, what else do they have?  
      Nothing, so they make up shit and keep tossing it around  (like the apes they're NOT descended from, LOL)to see what sticks.  Since their base is about as intelligent as the stuff being tossed, they'll (literally) eat it up.

      Oh my, have we fallen into the rabbit hole.

  •  The lie is the sales pitch that will give the GOP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    politicalceci, OooSillyMe

    power.  People who buy into it will end up with irrelevant, disposable, and with no redress.  See how soon the chemical spill in WV seems insignificant; it's been replaced with news of Sochi security changes, Justin Bieber bad behavior, and weird weather.  People are already disposable commodities to the rightwingers.  

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:33:43 PM PST

    •  It won't be forgotten in wv (0+ / 0-)

      And that's what matters.

      It will also be in the back of people's minds for a while. They might not remember details, but they'll remember that a tank collapsed and people didn't have water for days.

      •  Let's hope the name of the company (0+ / 0-)

        that did it sticks in their minds..."Freedom" did this to them. Maybe they should think about being more suspicious of those selling deregulation (and a whole lot of other bad ideas) as "freedom"....

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 08:52:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  republicans will pay in november............... (0+ / 0-)

    time to vote the party of lies and corruption out of the "peoples"house' and the senate.harry needs to just "nuke em"!

  •  Republicans = Malfeasance. (0+ / 0-)


    If my life was really that important someone would have made it into a musical by now.

    by glb3 on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:46:50 PM PST

  •  When Bush was President (0+ / 0-)

    Senate Democrats bend over backwards for him. A majority of Senate Democrats actually voted to let him start a $1 trillion war for bogus reasons.

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:56:44 PM PST

  •  Breaking Farm Bill news (0+ / 0-)

    ...the relevant conference committee just reported out a bill. It cuts $9 billion from food stamps.

    •  According to an article (0+ / 0-)

      I read, they cut 1%, equals 800 million.

      If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

      by RepresentUsPlease on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 04:04:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's 9 billion over ten years (0+ / 0-)

        so it is theoretically possible that a future Democratic majority could change it. You're probably about right on the one year figure, though it seems off by 1 billion--probably the difference between rounding up and rounding down.

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 08:56:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Forget it, Joan. It's Politico (0+ / 0-)
  •  The saddest thing in all of this is that everyday (0+ / 0-)

    people get sacrificed in the midst of these pretentious political games. Commonplace Americans are nothing but cannon fodder and collateral damage for the RW.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

    by politicalceci on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 05:17:51 PM PST

  •  Well, here's an asshole: (0+ / 0-)
    The value of simply having a vote on an amendment cannot be overstated to some senators. Last year, when negotiators agreed to slip an amendment from Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) into the sweeping immigration bill, Portman balked because he wanted a separate roll call vote on his proposal. But if Reid offered Portman a vote on the bill, he would have to offer votes to everyone else. The end result: Portman’s so-called e-verify plan didn’t get a vote, and he didn’t support the immigration bill.

    Earlier this month, Reid embraced an altered version of Portman’s amendment to the jobless benefits bill that would prevent people from drawing both unemployment and disability benefits. But after Reid limited amendments on the bill, Portman dismissed it as a “take-it-or-leave-it” proposition from Democrats and ended up voting to block the unemployment bill over concerns about how it was paid for.

    But Reid is "hard nosed".... sheesh.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 06:00:36 PM PST

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