Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Confirmed: Reid To Use Archaic Rule

You had to read it to believe it. The posts I did this past weekend revolving around K-Lo's posts from The Corner seem to have some merit. The WaPo confirms it:

Only in the arcane world of the U.S. Senate could a quirky gambit known as a "clay pigeon" make the difference between passage of an important immigration measure and its death at the hands of opponents.

Democratic leaders hope the complex maneuver -- which makes use of the Senate's labyrinthine rules to insist on votes on amendments -- will frustrate conservatives' attempts to derail the embattled immigration bill, instead putting it on a fast track to passage next week.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he would revive the bill to legalize as many as 12 million unlawful immigrants late this week. To do so, though, he needs backing from 60 senators, and a way to guarantee votes on a tentative list of 22 Republican and Democratic amendments whose consideration is seen as vital to satisfying key waverers.

The so-called clay pigeon is how he's expected to do it, under a strategy that was still taking shape Monday.

The tactic gets its name from the target used in skeet shooting, which explodes into bits as it is hit. In the Senate, an amendment is the target, and any one senator can demand that it be divided into separate fragments to be voted on piecemeal.

Under the tentative plan, Reid as early as Friday would launch his target _ an amendment encompassing all 22 proposals _ and shoot it into its component pieces. The Senate would then vote on ending debate on the immigration measure, which would take 60 votes and limit discussion of the bill to 30 more hours. After that interval, all 22 amendments would have to be voted on, with little opportunity for foes to interfere.

Ironically, the move is usually used by mavericks -- not leaders -- to slow down legislation, not free it from a procedural thicket.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., used it last year to protest a bill he complained included excessive spending. By offering and then dividing an amendment that targeted 19 items he deemed offensive, Coburn was able to insist on votes on individual projects.

"It's a brilliant way to gum up the works," said Robert B. Dove, a Senate rules expert who was the chamber's referee for 36 years.

The maneuver appears to be a relatively modern innovation; Dove said he first became aware of it in the early 1970s, when then-Sen. Jim Allen, D-Ala., a master of parliamentary procedures, used it against a bill pushed by the then- majority leader, Sen. Mike Mansfield, D-Mont.

"I remember people being dazzled when he did this," Dove said.

Reid's plan has its risks, chief among them further inflaming the vocal conservative opponents who have vowed to do whatever they can to kill the immigration measure.

Wesley Denton, a spokesman for Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., called the plan a "stunning" effort by Reid "to choke off debate and handpick amendments." He threatened that Republicans would unleash the same tactic on the majority in the future.

Only Harry Reid would be desperate enough to try such an underhanded tactic. This has nothing to do with protecting the minority's rights int he Senate -- the reason why the rule was made in the first place. He is shutting down all debate on this bill. Inflaming our base -- the GOP's base, is precisely what it will do.

If the supporters of this bill believed they could win this easily, they have another thing coming. This is obviously going to take greater efforts from the base than ever thought possible. The first time through, our senators clearly did not receive the message. They believe they can wave the president's bribe, and claim victory overall. But the bribe is just that; a promise to fund what will never be adhered to.

Security and enforcement are not light topics for us. They mean a great deal. While we may see it int he bill, and allow them to spin it, the loopholes speak in greater volumes. Security cannot be achieved through twenty-four hour long background checks. It also cannot be gained by only half of the fence being built. Diligence and vigilance is needed, and the bill promises neither.

This is what must be explained when we call our senators bright and early tomorrow morning. And when those secretaries and pages make the veiled allegation that this comes from nativist point-of-view -- that we, for some strange reason, dislike these people because of the color of their skin -- make sure you politely reinforce that such a straw man will not be presented to us like some sort of stigma. This is not the reason we are irate.

Our ire goes to something deeper, and it has little to do with the small-minded accusations from those willing to overlook the greater ill this bill presents tot he nation. It does not secure this nation from its enemies. Nor does the enforcement mean much when the federal government has refused to abide by such promises from the past. If the president is truly serious about his offewr, then split the bill altogether. Make the first part about security and enforcement with the stipulation that regularizing the twelve-to-twenty million illegals will come AFTER our safeguards are in place.

The status quo is not working, that is true. But we can stem the tide right now with a passage of the president's proposal. If the Senate is not willing to split this bill into two separate bills, then the Senate is lost, and is completely unable to address the issue at it's heart. Our hopes will lie with the House to end this madness.

Call. Do not hesitate. The "life" you help save will be that of the nation. 202-225-3121



Anonymous Anonymous said...

My very intelligent granddaughter often tells me what goes around comes around around. Me thinketh Reid should keep that in mind. Rawriter

June 19, 2007 at 4:06 AM  

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