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.