Friday, December 18, 2009

Clean Cups! Clean Cups!

Now here's a scenario worthy of a Lewis Carroll tea party: Republicans in the Senate were prepared to filibuster the defense spending bill needed to keep the Pentagon in business for another year. The reason? The GOP saw that as a way to delay health care reform.

Say what?

No, really. By filibustering a bill that normally is passed with the GOP leading the military marching band, flag lapel pins glinting in the sunlight, Republicans hoped to forestall bringing the health care bill to the floor, thereby forcing Democrats to go home for the holidays to face what Republicans are gambling are irate voters who will make it difficult for any health care reform to pass. What is so amazing is the GOP was not only willing to politicize a defense bill, it was quite up front about it.

From the NY Times:

The Senate voted early Friday morning to force final action on a Pentagon spending measure as Democrats broke a Republican attempt to use the military money to stall action on the health care overhaul.

In an unusual dead-of-night session that opened just after midnight, senators voted 63 to 33 to shut off debate on the $626 billion plan, which is the last spending measure due to pass this year and was easily passed by the House earlier this week. A final vote is expected early Saturday.

Democrats had to struggle to line up all 60 of their members in support of a key procedural vote to overcome anticipated Republican opposition to a bill Republicans would normally rally behind and have criticized Democrats for politicizing in the past. ...

Republicans acknowledged their resistance to the Pentagon measure was due to their desire to prolong the debate over the Democratic health care overhaul.

“Most of us are going to support the Department of Defense appropriations bill when the time is right, but I think it is very important to have the opportunity to talk about the health care bill,” said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas.

Asked if he would vote for the defense bill, which Republicans routinely support, Senator Sam Brownback Republican of Kansas, replied bluntly: “No. I don’t want health care.”
[Emphasis added]

Sen. Brownback's rather odd response aside (did anyone bother to tell him that we would be happy to deny him health care if he would just put that sentiment in writing?), the candor of the Republicans with respect to delaying funding to their favorite cash cow is more than a little stunning. Don't these bozos know that the American public already knows just how cynical and corrupt the Senate is? Haven't the last ten years established that firmly in all of our minds? Did they really need to ram it home just one more time without even a thank-you?

Alas, once again the Democrats deprived the Republicans of an opportunity of showing just how irredeemable they are by putting together the 60 votes necessary to bust the filibuster.

A pox on both their houses.

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