July 15, 2009


Republican efforts to roadblock meaningful health care reform take on the fantastic and bizarre at times, and this example of Theatre of the Absurd is no exception. MyLeftNutmeg, a Connecticut blog, puts their silly manoeuvres into perspective:

This is a revealing moment from Monday's markup of the health care bill in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee that illustrates the level of procedural obstruction Senate Republicans are willing to rise to in order to impede its progress and in the hopes of killing its momentum.

At the opening of Monday's hearing, Sen. Dodd asked Sen. Enzi (R-WY), the ranking Republican on the committee, if he would agree to accept by unanimous consent a total of 64 Republican amendments. After a whisper from an aide, Enzi, a little perplexed and not a little embarrassed, refused to allow the 64 Republican amendments to be accepted, lowering his voice to mumble, "I think some of our members want votes on some of those." Dodd's visible exasperation and disbelief is priceless.

Sen. Enzi's pitiful performance here is visual proof of the aim of Senate Republicans - which is not to have their amendments heard, voted on, and accepted, but rather to drag out the legislative process as long as possible on health care reform. And they have many reasons to want to do so, as Brian Beutler at TPM notes:

if Congress enters recess with weeks of work left to do, party leaders may have to make a call; and those who oppose passing health care through the reconciliation process -- Republicans and some Democrats -- might be trying to run out the clock -- to call leadership's bluff, or, at the very least, to touch off a game of legislative chicken.

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