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. [...]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.
[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.
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.