Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, has just proven that while Obama runs around the country on campaign appearances claiming that he wants to work with Republicans to “pass this bill,” his party has no interest whatsoever in actually doing so. Reid is trying to pass new rules to prevent Republicans form being able to have their say on what is going on in the Senate right now.
Reid has deployed the rarely used “nuclear option” to prevent Republicans from being able to employ a move called a motion to suspend the rules. Reid wants to stop Republicans from offering amendments after cloture to bills under consideration.
Senate Republican Leader wanted to use this motion to bring Obama’s jobs bill to a vote. Harry Reid, Obama’s man in the Senate, is desperate to prevent Obama’s jobs bill from coming to a vote.
Tonight, McConnell made what’s called a “motion to suspend the rules,” to allow a vote on the amendments. Such motions are almost always defeated, because they require a two-thirds majority to pass. But they’re another way for the minority party to force uncomfortable votes. Even though the minority party doesn’t get a direct vote on the amendment, how somebody votes on the motion becomes a sort of proxy for such a vote. In this case, for instance, if Democrats had voted down a motion for a vote on Obama’s jobs bill, it would have put them in an awkward spot.
Why is Reid desperate to prevent Obama’s so-called jobs bill from coming to a vote? Because not enough Democrats support Obama’s bill and Reid knows it.
Worse, Reid is now trying to take away a rule that has been used by both parties for many years to have a say in the Senate when they are in the minority.
Harry Reid stands against the Senate’s long standing rules. In fact Harry Reid stands against democracy itself by trying to force complete one party rule in the Senate.
So, while the President is cynically running around the country claiming the GOP doesn’t want to talk to him about his “jobs bill,” his own party is preventing the very vote Obama pretends he wants. The truth is, though, that neither Obama nor his party want that vote. They only want it to look like they want this vote. And with a compliant, lapdog media he’s getting that false front.
GOP Leader McConnell explains what happened…
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “The Majority Leader in effect has overruled the chair–with a simple majority vote–and established the precedent that even one single motion to suspend, even one, is dilatory. Changing the rules of the Senate.”
McConnell: “And if you look back at this bill, what we’ve had in effect is no amendments before cloture, no motions to suspend after cloture, no expression on the part of the minority at all.”
McConnell: “Now, the fundamental problem here is the majority never likes to take votes. That’s the core problem.”
McConnell: “[W]e are fundamentally turning the Senate into the House. No amendments before cloture. No motions to suspend after cloture. The minority’s out of business.”
McConnell: “This is a bad mistake.”
McConnell: “And I assume that’s why a lot of people ran for the Senate instead of the House, because they wanted to be able to express themselves. This is a free-wheeling body, and everybody is better off when we operate that way. Everybody is. Whether you’re in the majority or the minority, because today’s minority may be tomorrow’s majority.”
McConnell: “Now some of us think we were wasting our time because as the Senator from Tennessee said this wasn’t going to become law anyway. We’re sitting around here when we ought to be passing trade bills. The president’s asked us to vote on his jobs bill. I wanted to give him an opportunity to have his vote the other day. You guys didn’t want to vote on what the president was asking us to vote on–without any changes.”
McConnell: “I think we made a big mistake tonight. and as soon as we all kind of cool off and think about it over the weekend, I hope we’ll undo what we did tonight because it’s not in the best interest of this institution or the American people.”