Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Senate GOP Forces Reading of 767 Page Amendment Stalling Health Bill

Are you happy yet?

Even though 75% of those responding to an earlier online poll on these pages expressed satisfaction with the "masterful" job the Senate GOP was doing to slow down the ObamaCare train wreck we still had a few grumblers demanding to know why we were not doing more.

Today they got their Christmas wish!

Senate GOP slowing health debate; forces reading of 767-page healthcare amendment
By Alexander Bolton and Tony Romm
The Hill
12/16/09 12:42 PM ET

Republicans have forced the Senate clerk to read aloud a 767-page amendment to healthcare reform legislation, paralyzing action on the chamber floor as Democrats approach a Christmas deadline.

Senate aides estimated that it could take 8 to 10 hours to read the massive amendment offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) objected to a request to dispense with the reading of the amendment, a courtesy that is almost always granted to fellow senators.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) came under strong pressure from conservatives last week to do more to delay progress of the Democratic health bill.
Senators had been expected to vote on Wednesday but now the schedule is uncertain.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had hoped to file a motion to cut off debate on the healthcare bill by Friday so that the chamber could pass the measure by Christmas. But the new GOP procedural offensive raises serious questions over whether that timeline can be met.

Republicans have long threatened to use parliamentary procedure to slow down this year's healthcare debate. A memo authored by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) that surfaced last month reminded Republicans they could use such tactics as requesting an amendment's full reading to keep Democrats from offering new amendments, voting on proposals that have already been offered or proceeding to a final vote on the healthcare bill.

"We, the minority party, must use the tools we have under Senate rules to insist on a full, complete and fully informed debate on the health care legislation – as well as all legislation – coming before the Senate," Gregg wrote in that memo.

Ultimately, if Republicans continue invoking regular order and requesting the full reading of all amendments, Democrats could find themselves still locked in debate by Dec. 23.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), South Carolina's always reliable conservative voice in the Senate, today joined with Coburn in the request to read the amendment. DeMint hints that he may demand the entire bill, which is currently being re-written AGAIN in secret, be read before voting on it:

DeMint Joins Effort to Make Senators Read the Bill
Office of Senator Jim DeMint

December 16, 2009 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) announced his support for the procedural effort initiated by U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) to require senators to read the health care bill.

"Democrats are playing a bait and switch trick -- wasting our time debating a bill they've rejected while writing a new one in secret. Right now, behind closed doors, Democrats are writing a brand new bill, thousands of pages long, and want to rush it through before Christmas.”

“Americans are tired of watching their leaders in Washington pass bills they haven’t even bothered to read,” said Senator DeMint. “If Senator Reid won’t slow down this debate, we will do it for him. This bill allows the federal government to take over our health care system, and it must be stopped. We will use whatever procedural tools are necessary to defeat this bill.”

Earlier today, U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) admitted that senators will not have time to fully read and understand the Democrat health care takeover bill. VIDEO HERE

Under Senate rules, the clerk is required to read aloud all bills and amendments offered on the Senate floor. Senators routinely waive this requirement by unanimous consent. Objecting to such requests forces the clerk to read them aloud.
The move comes in concert with a radio ad Michael Steele has released which is now playing in stations within my listening area:

Michael Steele: "The Democrats are accusing us Republicans of trying to delay and stonewall their government takeover of health care. You know what? They're finally right."
With polls showing support for ObamaCare at the lowest level ever, the move by the GOP is smart politics:


Any of those who voted "dissatisfied" with the GOP Senate in our poll want to change their vote?

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