Bill USA (3,288 posts)
Senate Republicans Hit an All Time Low Blocking Bill They Unanimously Supported
This week there weretwo carefully negotiated bills that appeared to satisfy both Senate Democrats and Republicans alike because there was broad bipartisan support for each.
One bill, a business-backed bill to revive and extend tax breaks for companies doing research and development was filibustered (blocked) by Republicans on Thursday even though they unanimously supported it. The second bill, dealing with energy efficiency, was blocked by Republicans on Monday despite careful negotiations and compromise from both sides of the aisle. It is obvious the obstruction had nothing to do with the content of the bills and everything to do with bringing governance to a halt unless Republicans got their way.
On Monday, Republicans filibustered the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill by a 55-36 vote because Democrats would not allow them to insert stealth amendment forcing the President to approve the Keystone pipeline and eliminate the wind energy tax credit
. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered to let Republicans have a vote on the KeystoneXL pipeline as a standalone bill, but it was not enough of a concession for Republicans so they refused Reid’s offer. Apparently there was nothing to prevent Republicans from making the Senate completely ungovernable. One can understand Republicans reneging on a bipartisan measure about energy efficiency, particularly because they could not satisfy the Koch’s coveted Canadian pipeline approval or eliminate tax credits for clean wind energy, but there is no accounting for any Republican blocking tax breaks for corporations.
On Thursday Republicans blocked a measure to revive expired tax breaks for corporations on research and develoRepublicans liked the idea of more corporate tax breaks, but only if Democrats allowed them to insert a stealth amendment repealing the Affordable Care Act’s medical device tax, so they filibustered the legislation.pment, among many other pro-business incentives; the measure failed by a vote of 53-40.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stood on the floor of the Senate on Thursday and accused Democrats of “turning the Senate into a graveyard of good ideas and open democratic debate.” What McConnell failed to tell Americans was one of the “good ideas” was attempting to force the President to approve a foreign corporation’s pipeline that serves no American’s interest except the oil export industry, the Koch brothers, and Speaker of the House John Boehner’s portfolio. McConnell continued his rant in support of obstructing legislation for obstruction’s sake by blaming Democrats for eliminating the citizens of this country’s “say in what their government does.” He also claimed the Senate is “the citadel of our democracy — the place where we guarantee that no one in this country is cut out of the legislative process. Today, we have a Democratic majority that’s turned this body right on its head.” Apparently, the Democrats and Republicans who worked out two bipartisan deals only to have Republicans block their passage unless they got amendments that served special interests is not turning the Senate right on its head.
McConnell knows that there is no legislative process in the country with obstruction-minded Republicans involved, and citizens have not had a voice in what their government does because Republicans have obstructed myriad pieces of legislation the people, and Republicans, overwhelmingly supported. The “citizens” McConnell referred to have no interest, or benefit to gain, from Republicans eliminating wind energy tax credits, forcing the President to approve the Keystone pipeline, or repealing the ACA’s medical device tax that serve the GOP’s special interests. It bears repeating the Harry Reid offered Republicans an opportunity to have their vote to supersede President Obama’s constitutional authority over approving the Keystone pipeline, but they rejected his generous offer out-of-hand.
The Senate Republicans’ obstruction has reached a point that a professor at George Washington University and leading Senate expert, Sarah Binder, said, “This is what parliamentary warfare looks like. I think the filibuster of the tax extender and energy bills — both carefully negotiated by committee leaders in a bipartisan fashion — suggests yet another deterioration of the Senate’s legislative capacity. The combination of Senate rules and competitive, polarized parties makes the Senate near ungovernable.”One does not have to be a Senate expert to know Republicans have all but ground the upper chamber’s ability to govern to a screeching halt regardless what the issue is. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid certainly has had his fill of Republican obstruction, even obstructing bills they support and helped write. Reid said, “This useless, mind-boggling obstruction is what continually grinds the wheels of the Senate to a halt. So to my friends who want to know how we can make things better here in the Senate, I say: put an end to obstruction for obstruction’s sake.” Reid is correct that this GOP minority’s obstruction has escalated to unprecedented heights and there appears to be no end in sight.