Twisting The Vise On Senate Republicans
by Josh Orton, Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 07:25:37 AM EDT
Last week, we learned that Senate Majority Leader Reid would be collecting various bills "held" by Tom Coburn and combining them into one package - forcing Senate Republicans to either vote with the needs of their constituents on good legislation...or sacrifice themselves out of loyalty to one colleague's obstructionism.
And since many of the bills were bipartisan, quite a few Republican Senators will find themselves in the awkward position of either voting for the legislation they introduced, or selling out their constituencies to play politics and vote with Coburn.
Here, in no particular order, is a list of such Senators, and the legislation they partnered on:
Senator Thad Cochran - introduced - Stroke Treatment and Ongoing Prevention Act (S. 999/HR 477)
Sen. Christopher S. Bond - introduced - Vision Care for Kids Act (HR 507/S. 1117)
Sen. Sam Brownback- introduced- Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act (S. 1810/HR 3112)
Sen Domenici, Pete V - introduced - Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Reauthorization and Improvement Act (S. 2304/HR 3992)
Sen Vitter, David - introduced - Enhancing the Effective Prosecution of Child Pornography (S. 2869/HR 4136)
Sen Lugar, Richard G. - introduced - Reconstruction and Stabilization Civilian Management Act (HR 1084/S. 613)
Sen Coleman, Norm - introduced - Torture Victims Relief Reauthorization Act (HR 1678/S. 840)
Sen Stevens, Ted - introduced - Ocean Exploration, Mapping & Research (HR 1834/HR 2400/S. 39)
Sen Snowe, Olympia J. - introduced - Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act (S. 950/HR 2342)
Sen Voinovich, George V. - introduced - Appalachian Regional Development Act Amendments of 2008 (S. 496)
Coburn blocked every one of those bills - and every one of them will be in Reid's package next week.
Republicans in the Senate played politics with their power as long as they could. But now they're very, very unpopular, and their party's brand is in the gutter. Putting politics over substance by standing with Coburn may have been possible for this bunch even a year ago.
But now? Just yesterday Chuck Schumer said for the first time that achieving a 60-seat majority this cycle will be "difficult...but its not out of the question." Republicans are out of gas. Next week, we'll find out if they realize it.
Update [2008-7-24 12:1:11 by Josh Orton]: Senate whip Dick Durbin on the package:
"If you want to oppose this package, you're opposing a lot of things, including things that most Americans believe overwhelmingly should be part of our law to protect against child pornography, to deal with the drug problem in our country, to try to find runaway children, to prosecute those who are guilty of civil rights crimes," Durbin said.
"If you want to cast your vote against it, I'm sure there will be many people at home with a lot of questions," he said.