Harry Reid puts Republican obstructionist Tom Coburn in the spotlight. Will his GOP colleagues stick with him?

It’s not easy being a Republican Senator these days. By their own actions, they’re becoming an endangered species.

The Politico
reports today that Republican Senators are on their own when it comes to voting for the rest of the year. They can choose Bush or they can finally vote in the interests of their constituents.

Even better. Harry Reid is giving Republican Senators a choice, too. They can vote with chief obstructionist Tom Coburn or vote to pass some key legislation:

Most lawmakers dream of getting their names linked to legislation. That won’t be so when the Senate takes up what is unofficially being called the “Coburn Omnibus.”

It’s a package of about 40 bills that have in many cases been single-handedly stalled by one of the Senate’s more conservative members, Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

The package constitutes a showdown between Coburn, known for putting “holds” on legislation to slow their passage, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who is increasingly frustrated by GOP delaying tactics.

Republicans will have a choice, Reid said Monday on the Senate floor, to join the side of the American people “or continue to stand beside a colleague or two intent on blocking virtually everything.”

Reid is expected to try to bring the package to the Senate floor later this week, setting up a possible vote on beginning debate in a rare Saturday session.

Coburn got himself into the ring with Reid. He better be careful. Reid’s a boxer and Coburn’s on his turf now. For example, here are the bills that Reid has included in the Coburn package:

Reid said the package will include the Emmitt Till Unsolved Crime Act, aimed at investigating unsolved civil rights era crimes; the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, a runaway and homeless youth bill; a bill to combat child exploitation by pornographers, and a measure to create a database for Lou Gehrig’s disease. Many have Republican cosponsors.

This is going to be fun to watch.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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