Thursday, December 03, 2009

Senate Stall

Tuesday in the Senate each political party offered an amendment to the chamber’s health reform bill. A partisan floor discussion ensued, delaying actual votes on the amendments. Two-and-a-half days after discussion of the bill began, not a single vote has been taken. One amendment addresses the need for better women’s health screening services and the other eliminates billions of dollars of spending in Medicare cuts.

This is D.C. politics at it’s best. The Republican strategy seems to be to draw out the discussions as long as possible, knowing that the longer the stall, the less chance that any form of health care reform will pass. The Democrats are working on a strategy to overcome the Republican parliamentary tricks. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) confirmed in Roll Call today that one idea under consideration is the motion to table the Republican amendments, this requires only 51 votes instead of the 60 votes needed for cloture.

On this third day of debate without a single vote taken, frustration is mounting in the Chamber as well as among those whose lives and livelihoods are affected by the outcome.

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