Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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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.

Friday, June 15, 2007

HootNanny Harry And Anachronistic Procedures: Dirty Pool Over Immigration

This takes the cake. Not only are the "Grand Barganiers" desperate, they are about to resort to an archaic Senate procedure, that according to a certain Senate staffer, is unprecedented. It has never been executed in this fashion, but they are so frantic that the bill may die if they play by the usual rules that it will die. (That is a prospect that many in the GOP base wish would happen.) K-Lo @ NRO's Corner has the details:

From a knowledgeable Senate source:

Here is what we expect to happen next week, though it is far from clear yet. In short, we expect it to come up this week, and if Senators (as we expect) object to unanimous consent agreements, it will take the better part of 6-8 days to get this done. They will not get it done this week (but Reid threatens to stay in next weekend).

1. We expect Reid, in conjunction with support from McConnell, Lott and Grand Bargainers Kyl, Martinez, Graham and McCain, to introduce a brand new piece of legislation - and use Rule 14 to put the bill immediately on the Senate calendar without going thru committee - which of course, the first bill did not do as well.

* It is possible that Reid will choose a different procedural path - but we expect the effect to be the same.

2. We expect that the new bill's drafters (White House, Kennedy, Kyl, Graham, et. al.) will use close to the same language as the original substitute amendment (the first immigration bill) as amended by the 14 Democrat and 13 Republican amendments adopted the the first go round.

3. A new Rule 14 bill takes 1-2 days to ripen, and then we expect Reid to file cloture on the motion to proceed (a step he will need to take because numerous Senators are objecting to any unanimous consent agreements). The cloture motion takes time to ripen, so that adds a full day and change before the vote (60). Then, there is 30 hours of "post cloture debate" that a number of Senators will refuse to allow to be shortened.

4. When the 30 hours expire, Reid will have the vote on the motion to proceed to the bill (majority).

4. Once on the bill, Reid will again file cloture (to shut off debate - again, a number of Senators will continue to object to unanimous consent agreements) - this time on the bill itself.

5. The guessing begins at this point - but we expect Reid - with the help and support of certain Republican leadership and the Grand Bargainers - to do something that we believe has never been done in the history of the Senate... he will use an arcane Senate procedure that allows a single amendment to be divisible into many - in this case, into the 20-odd amendments the Grand Bargainers are trying to cobble together to keep 60 votes in support of the bill. Traditionally, that amendment has been used to protect minority rights - but in this case, it will be used to PREVENT the minority from getting additional amendments called up and from being able to fully debate the amendments in question. It is, to our knowledge, unprecedented.

6. Once the cloture motion ripens (again, another day and change), the cloture vote can occur (60 votes) and then, again, there is 30 hours of "post cloture debate" during which Reid will run, in order, through the panoply of amendments offered by way of the division.

7. Finally, there will be a vote on final passage.

If Reid does this, with the help of certain Republican leadership and the Grand Bargainers, they will shut off the ability of Senators with concerns of the bill to offer additional amendments and to debate the amendments in question.

In the end, this means that if they have 60 lined up to support it - there is little that can be done procedurally - so it has become far more important than ever for Senators to hear from their constituents.

Beyond unprecedented, and we know the number one reason why this tactic is being used. They are afraid that they may lose their supposed sixty lined-up votes. (This is something that has been speculated, and as yet neither side has said they have the votes needed for cloture.) 202-224-3121 -- PLEASE call your senators, and tell them to stop this hair-brained bill, and the scheme the bargainers are using because they know it is the only way they can get this passed.

It speaks volumes to the nation to know that: A) They concocted the bill in secret; B) The president and his supporters have offered the Senate a $4.4 billion security and enforcement bribe that we know they are not serious about; and C) that they are resorting to a hardly-used Senate procedure in such an abnormal and outlandish fashion. The message that these actions sends to the nation is that they know this is a weak bill -- that is is, in fact, a joke -- and that they have no alternatives left. They refuse to start over again. They refuse to be open about the concerns others are making with regard to it and the amendments presented.

Get on the phone. Call your senators, and tell them to stand united. DO NOT let Reid and the bargainers get their sixty votes!


ADDENDUM: We are not the only ones who took notice of this with K-Lo. Allah snatched it up, too, and he offers this:

Mainstream congressional procedural rules are hard enough to follow, let alone some novel maneuver, but if I understand him correctly what they’re going to do is set aside two dozen or so slots beforehand for dissenting amendments — and then summarily fill those slots themselves by splitting their own grandly bargained omnibus amendment (the one with the $4.4 billion outlay for border security) into two dozen separate amendments, thereby leaving no room for Sessions, DeMint, Dorgan et al. to offer their own.

Rumor had it that Reid himself is against the bill — but if so, why do this? Is
Kaus right when he speculates that they’re aiming to send it to the House in hopes that Sir Tancelot will slay the beast? That would give Reid the best of both worlds: a dead bill plus political cover to tell Hispanics, “Hey, I tried.”

Possibly. The House seems to be our last stand; the last line of defense to kill this abhorrant demon that just simply will not stay dead. While you are busy calling senators, Give President Bush a ring at 202-456-1414 and let him know he is about to have the fight of his life over this bill. Be polite, but be firm. Do not get nasty. Just tell him that the writing is on the wall, not just for this bill, but likely any support he may need from his base in the future.



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