March 26, 2010

GOP plans to obstruct Senate legislation (so, what’s new?)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 3:10 am

After losing the battle against health care reform, Republican Senate leaders, like impetuous, spoiled brats who take away the ball after losing the ball game, have publicly stated that they intend to use childish parliamentary tricks to bring legislative procedures in the Senate to a halt.

On Wednesday that became apparent to Col. Ann Wright (U.S. Army – Ret.) when she travelled to Washington to attend hearings, as well as other veterans and senior military officers, some of whom had traveled from as far away as Hawaii and Korea for the Armed Services committee hearing.

Col. Wright, writing for, expresses her shock and outrage:

I was attending a U.S. Senate Veterans Committee hearing on homeless vets when at 11am, Committee chair Senator Akaka abruptly said that the hearing must end immediately as one member of the “minority” party had invoked a parliamentary prerogative to suspend the day’s hearings. I was amazed and upset that the important hearing on homeless veterans could be so easily ended. I stood up in the hearing and said I was a veteran and that I was outraged that one disgruntled Senator could halt the hearings of the Senate.

Senate Republicans are also blocking the passage of two bills that would affirm the separation of TRICARE, the military’s health program, from the newly passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) stated on the Senate floor, “Let the American people understand the Republicans objected to a matter that could have fixed by law tomorrow.”

Hearings regarding veterans affairs and Afghanistan are not all that GOP senators plan to obstruct. It appears Coburn is positioning himself to be the lead obstructionist.

According to Manu Raju writing for POLITICO, Tom Coburn plans to filibuster a 30-day extension of a bill that extends a series of emergency programs, like funding for unemployment insurance benefits and COBRA health coverage for the jobless. It would keep federal dollars flowing to highway projects, extend flood insurance programs and stave off a deep cut in reimbursement rates for doctors who serve Medicare patients. Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) gained notoriety, even among some members of his own party, for doing that last month and Republicans have repeatedly attacked this bill.

Independents generally have a distaste for partisan politics of this nature. If one sides with the American people, however, it is difficult to side with Republicans when they shut down Senate proceedings regarding issues that affect our troops deployed overseas, veterans and Americans struggling in the worst job market since the Great Depression.

It is easy to see why the GOP is becoming known as “the party of No.” The only consolation is that it will be hard to tell the difference with the GOP’s “new” strategy, however, since Republicans have not cooperated on any issue since the Obama administration took office.

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