Erick Erickson writes on RedState that it’s time for Republican senators to quit being nice and start getting serious about a monstrous healthcare overhaul that hardly anyone wants and will cost Americans more than $2.5 trillion:
The Senate, unlike the House of Representatives, has parliamentary rules and procedures that give the minority the ability to stall legislation. In fact, unlike the House, the minority have the ability to virtually paralyze the Senate. Doing so is not something we would want or expect for every bad bill that comes through Congress, but the proposed healthcare legislation is probably the worst piece of legislation ever considered by the United States Congress. It is the most intrusive, most damaging, most costly, most dangerous bill to the economic and personal freedom and liberty of individual Americans that Congress has ever considered. If there is any bill that deserves being stopped by shutting down the Senate, it is this one.
Erickson reminds the GOP that there are numerous parliamentary procedures available that could stall the bill at least until after Christmas, when the Dems will go home and have to face their constitutents: Delaying tactics include: no more “unanimous consent” (a polite move that allows amendments to be accepted), quorum calls, cloture votes (which even if passed, entail built-in delays), and irrelevant but ideologically loaded amendments:
The Republicans should be offering one amendment after another on all of their favorite issues such as guns, abortion, elimination of the death tax, ending the TARP program, and gay marriage in the District of Columbia. Nothing connotes trench warfare like non-germane amendments on hot-button social issues. When you look back at all of the great filibusters of past decades, they almost always involved non-germane, explosive amendments on contentious social and other issues. Republicans should be offering hundreds of such amendments on every topic and using the rules to force votes on every single one. And the Republicans should be forcing the reading of the bill and every single amendment, not consenting to waiving that requirement.
Some might argue that Republicans should not look “obstructionist.” But they are wrong – the vast majority of Americans don’t like this bill and don’t want it to pass. The Tea Party movement was the upheaval of millions of ordinary Americans who are scared and angry about the out-of-control growth of the federal government, federal spending, and the national debt. They want to see the Republicans obstructing passage of this bill and if they think the Republicans are not fighting with every tool they have at their disposal, then any advantage that the Republicans think they will get in next year’s elections from such a bill being passed will evaporate. Conservatives will mount challenges to what they see as weak Republicans, just like what happened in New York’s special congressional race, helping Democrats eek out wins. And other conservative will stay home (like they did in 2008) rather than support GOP incumbents who did not fight.
So, c’mon guys, it’s only 13 days until Christmas. The bill is already bogged down because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can’t seem to muster 60 votes to back his views on abortion funding and the public option. Do it, GOP senators. Please don’t let the Democrats saddle us with this frightening and unpopular legislation.
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