GOPers ‘are using a bogus ‘procedural’ argument to justify a filibuster’ against Defense bill

Via Chris Johnson, Harry Reid has filed cloture on the Defense Authorization bill. As we mentioned earlier today, the votes aren’t there for cloture. Senators Susan Collins and Scott Brown won’t commit to ending the filibuster — despite the fact they already voted for the same Defense bill in the Armed Services Committee on May 27, 2010.

After reading that post, a reader who follows the Senate wrote us to explain what’s going on here. I found this very helpful:

People have to understand that the Republicans, led by McCain, are using a bogus “procedural” argument to justify a filibuster of the defense authorization bill. Totally unpatriotic in my view.

Republicans like Susan Collins are already bemoaning the alleged lack of an open process of floor amendments.

But what Harry Reid has already made clear is that he is offering the same age-old process that is always followed on major bills. What Republicans aren’t telling you is that no matter which party controls the Senate, the process is always that the two parties have to agree on a path forward to consider amendments. It’s never a fully open, all-you-can-amend process, which could drag on literally for months. There is ALWAYS some sort of agreement – for example, “one week of floor debate, with each side offering three amendments.” And often each side even gets a veto right over what the subject matter of the amendments will be.

Those are the plain facts.

Instead, Republicans continue to hide behind the argument that Reid is shutting them out, being undemocratic, trampling their rights – simply because he won’t allow a several-months amendment process that would grind the Senate to a halt. In reality, Reid is following an age-old practical route to doing the Senate’s business.

Shameless. And made worse by the fact that our military, our troops, and LGBT service members will suffer – while the Republicans play politics.

We’re hoping Collins, Brown and other pro-lgbt Senators (there aren’t many) will heed what the Log Cabin Republicans said in May:

Strong opponents have risen in support of a filibuster led by Sen. John McCain that would block a vote on the issue. These opponents would need 41 votes to filibuster but with Sen. Brown’s rejection and Sen. Collins supporting repeal, Republicans would need to convince two Democrats to join their filibuster vote.

The policy repeal will go before the full Senate as part of a larger defense spending bill, so blocking the entire bill would block troops and crucial funds.

Looks like that analysis appears wrong. Right now, it is Collins and Brown who are willing to play procedural games to block those crucial funds.


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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