View Full Version : Screw the Troops

Ian McColgin
12-16-2009, 04:17 PM
Devious indeed are parlimentary machinations, but given that Saunders' bill has been distributed to the Senate and available to the public for a couple of weeks, one suspects that this gaming will come back to bite them. At least it tells us what Republicans really think of the troops they committed to hazard.

Published on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 by Huffington Post

Coburn Demands 12-Hour Reading Of Single-Payer Amendment On Senate Floor

by Ryan Grim

The GOP mantra, repeated at Tea Parties all summer, was that lawmakers and voters ought to "read the bill" in order to truly understand the many ills of health care reform.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), on Wednesday, did his part to help out those who can't read legislation themselves, and asked the Senate clerk to read a single-payer amendment from Sen. Bernie Sanders out loud on the Senate floor. The reading of the 767-page amendment is expected to take about 12 hours.

Sanders, an independent from Vermont, first filed his amendment on December 2, so the GOP has indeed had two weeks to read it.

By jamming up Senate business, Coburn's move prevents a vote on a funding bill for the Department of Defense. The current funding provision expires at midnight on Friday.

Coburn said he was doing Americans a favor. "I admire Senator Sanders for his willingness to fight for publically [sic] what many advocate only privately -- a single payer health care system funded and controlled by bureaucrats and politicians in Washington. Every American should listen to the reading of this amendment and pay careful attention to its vote tally," Coburn said in a statement.

"The American people deserve to understand the competing approaches to reform in the U.S. Senate. It's unfortunate that Senator Reid waited until the last minute to introduce his bill and now wants to rush it through the Senate. This reading will provide a dose of transparency that has been lacking in this debate."

The group, "Senate Doctors," a Republican coalition of lawmakers with medical backgrounds, re-tweeted that Coburn was "a rockstar."

Senate Democrats are powerless to prevent the full reading of the amendment due to parliamentary rules. And they don't appreciate the favor. "The only thing that Sen. Coburn's stunt achieves is to stop us from moving to the DoD appropriations bill that funds our troops -- not exactly the kind of Christmas gift that our troops were expecting from Dr. No," said Jim Manley, senior communications adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Coburn has a long and unapologetic career of standing in the way of Senate business.

Sanders provided a summary of his amendment to colleagues: "This amendment would establish a single payer health insurance system that would cover every person legally residing in the United States. The single payer system would be regulated and funded by the federal government through a payroll tax and an income tax, but it would be administered by the states. It would replace the coverage and revenue titles of the current bill, but it would leave in place most of the provisions in the quality, prevention, and workforce titles of the bill. This amendment starts from the premise that health care is a human right, and that every citizen, rich or poor, should have access to health care, just as every citizen has access to the fire department, the police, or public schools."

2009 Huffington Post

12-16-2009, 06:22 PM
The way I read it, the Democrats purposefully schedule the DOD bill after the Health Bill because they knew it would not get voted on because of expected delays. This being just one more way the Democrats screw the troops.

Spin is a wonderful thing. Hell, I don't even need blog to come up with this crap. :)

Peter Malcolm Jardine
12-16-2009, 07:25 PM
I thought this was about Obama taking 3 months to refuse his General's request for more troops for Afghanistan. Then I noticed who posted it.

Getting in shape for a limbo contest, Ian?

How's that seabright skiff coming Donn? I myself having been working on wooden boats almost constantly.

Ian McColgin
12-16-2009, 07:25 PM
Senator Coburn is indeed against every form of health care reform. But this tactic is irrelevant to that. Were one to have been following this story over the last couple weeks, one would know that Sen. Saunders introduced the bill with no expectation of it getting anything except a quick death. It was for the purpose of putting people on record.

Debate on the main health care proposal can be, has been, interrupted for other business, like defense spending. That's what happens all the time. The read aloud proceedure has a feature that Sen. Coburn timed his call for - no other business can take place till the whole bill is read aloud. Were he interested in helping any illiterate Senators hear the bill and were he concerned with the defense spending bill, he'd have introduced the reading a week or so back. And maybe he'd find a way to get Senators to be present at the reading.

This is a stunt and like the measure to require Congress to get the Medicare-for-all option introduced by Republicans and to their embarrassment forcibly co-sponsored by some Democrats. And like that one, it's a stunt that leads to howlingly funny apologetics.

Brian Palmer
12-16-2009, 08:05 PM
Sanders withdrew his single payer amendment because he knew it would get voted down anyway and he did not want to take up the time for the reading from stuff that actually had a chance.


Ian McColgin
12-16-2009, 08:14 PM
Sanders has done the right thing.

I want to thank all those who have so ably pointed out the up front way at least some Democrats attempted to change Bush 43's direction. No parlimentary tricks. Just clear motions.

Phillip Allen
12-16-2009, 08:50 PM
partisan politics...there are none so bllind as those who refuse to see...

checks and balances are fine, Ian, so long as you see political benefit for your chosen team...they are obstructionism when those same checks and balances hinder your team...

did I say why I dislike football yet...? oh yeah...the fans are stupid, easily manipulated and always...ALWAYS think it's the "other" side that's stupid!

Ian McColgin
12-16-2009, 09:26 PM
November 1995. Need I say more. Both Gingrich and Clinton played as hard as can be and neither blinking through a partical shut-down of the government. As we all recall, in the end and unfortunate whine from Gingrich about being at the back of the plane led the public towards seeing his side as more petty.

Point is, while the Republicans were always more willing than Republicans to go to the "nuclear option" and risk shut-down, the tactics of both sides were direct and there was no defense spending at risk.

Here, Sen. Coburn exploited a wierd Senate rule requiring full reading if asked for (which about never happens) and which then prevents any other business till the reading is done. He may have known that Sanders, being sole sponsor, would really have to pull it. Who knows.

To my mind though, it's slightly more honest than the way health care finance reform is being held to an effective supermajority by the threat of fillabuster, and for that I blame the D's as well. It's a minority that want to fillabuster. My own feeling is put them to it. Go into the long talk and see who lasts. Getting no where because you can't shut the minority up and can't wear them down is better than passing a phoney non-reform.

Phillip Allen
12-16-2009, 09:36 PM
take that rule out and see what happens...then try to have it put back in!!!

12-16-2009, 09:39 PM
Erster: That's why we voted them in!

12-16-2009, 10:36 PM
Wow, wanting to know what is in a bill these days is weird.:eek:;)

Apparently, Coburn didn't even stay in the room during the reading. :rolleyes:

You think he really wanted to hear what was in it?

Ian McColgin
12-16-2009, 10:52 PM
Doesn't matter since erster appears not to have read my post calling the rule wierd and noting, as erster so redundantly agrees while pretending to make some sort of point as yet obscure, that the senate rule require a reading. Just to round it out, a single senator may require a reading of any bill before debate begins. Those with proceedural memories will remember Coburn's threat last month to force a reading of the entire health care tomb.

Mad Scientist
12-16-2009, 11:25 PM
...Sanders provided a summary of his amendment to colleagues: "This amendment would establish a single payer health insurance system...This amendment starts from the premise that health care is a human right, and that every citizen, rich or poor, should have access to health care, just as every citizen has access to the fire department, the police, or public schools."

2009 Huffington Post

Huh? Health care as a 'human right'? I don't recall any such guarantee in your Constitution from that Pol-Sci 101 course I took 30 years ago.:confused:

Wouldn't such a sweeping pronouncement require a Constitutional amendment?
Is it wise to replace 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' with a bunch of wishy-washy P.C. 'human rights' laws?

High time for U.S. citizens to put an end to this 'creeping socialism', IMHO. If you don't stop it soon, you might as well rename your country 'South Canukistan'.:eek:


Paul Girouard
12-16-2009, 11:48 PM
Change we can count on , HA, ha, ha, ha.

If it wasn't so friggin scary what this bunch of nut jobs is doing to the counrty it might be considered a LMAOROTF moment.

Sadly it seems real.

Ian McColgin
12-17-2009, 12:12 AM
erster, I certainly do view as weird the Senatorial ‘reading aloud’ rule because:

It only comes into play on the request of a single senator and is not something that applies to all legislation; and

It stops debate and action on ALL matters until the reading is done while in the normal legislative process there are several things happening at once; and

No one in the senate pretends, except on TV, that the rule does anything to enhance understanding of legislation because no senator is so illiterate that he or she can’t read the legislation and none of them hang out to listen anyway.

This rule is only exercised by a minority party when it does not want to or has not the strength to filibuster. That’s less than half a dozen times in recent history. I’ll leave to the Forum the delight of guessing or looking up who does it most.

There are two types of problem, in gross terms.

Any form of meeting, whether Quaker or presbytery or town or congressional, has rules of procedure. Those of us skilled in whatever local rules work in bodies we’ve played in appreciate a bit of parliamentary legerdemain. Some of these rules can (I’ve done it) be used by a minority to thwart the will of the majority, forcing a, to the minority’s perspective, better compromise. It can range from nasty to mischievous to really important. The senate’s ‘reading aloud’ rule seems to me to only be useful for mischief and does not really help a minority fashion a solution with the majority.

The second arena of trouble is the shear volume of stuff to deal with. No one can possibly read and comprehend all the stuff coming down. This is made worse by a couple of corrigible evils - the ability to tack on irrelevant items to a main bill, and the ability to make rapid fire amendments that confuse everyone. But even without that, it’s hard. Take at the city level: I’ve briefed my commissioner in the moderate city of Portland Oregon on about 20 issues that were to be voted on in that week’s session. Five other staff people had a similar range of issues. Reading aloud does not even begin to address the actual problems. It’s so far off that one can only conclude that the folk rationalizing it really do not want a more reasonable legislative process, but they do want to fool someone.

Ian McColgin
12-17-2009, 12:17 AM
Health care a right? We do lots of things not particularly enumerated. I can't find anything that says the government has to give me an attorney either.

We make things either rights enumerated by constitutional change or rights judicially found by court review or even rights by legislation. It's a choise.

There's nothing unconstitutional about even a single payer national health system any more than it's unconstitutional to use federal and state monies to build roads and airports and harbours.

The issues regarding health care are cost, efficience and justice. As it happens, our US experience with health programs shows that on all three counts, private enterprise comes up a distant after last compared to government. At least here. Maybe the Belgians (the only other nation with as privatized a health system) will have better luck.

12-17-2009, 12:20 AM
What I'd like to know, is if the DOD bill vote was scheduled to be after the Health Care bill before they knew Sanders was going to invoke the weird rule. Or did the Democrats purposefully schedule the DOD bill for that time-frame knowing that some loyalist would make an issue out of it?

Ian McColgin
12-17-2009, 12:22 AM
The DoD bill was up long before. Debate on the main health reform bill had already started and thus (after the uncarried out November threat) Coburn could not read that one to hold up troop salaries.

12-17-2009, 12:33 AM
The DoD bill was up long before.

Doesn't that make this whole issue a non-starter?