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Want To End Gridlock In Washington? Fire Reid

- July 28, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Senate Is “On Pace For Their Worst Year In More Than Three Decades” On Bringing Bills To The Floor. “Through the end of June, just 41 measures have been reported as being out of committees and gone to the Senate floor, which puts senators on pace for their worst year in more than three decades. Total bills considered are also down, as are roll-call votes on amendments.” (Stephen Dinan and S.A. Miller, “Harry Reid Lords Over Crippled Congress,” The Washington Times, 7/7/14)

Reid Has Allowed Dozens Of Jobs Bills To Sit “Languishing In The Senate.” “Heller is still hopeful, and has said repeatedly in recent weeks that he’s sympathetic to the House members’ concerns. The chamber has about 40 jobs bills languishing in the Senate and would like to see one or more brought to the floor in exchange for a vote on unemployment insurance.” (Sarah Mimms, “Changing Of The Guard In House Does Little For Unemployment Insurance Prospects,” National Journal , 6/24/14)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): “I’ve Never Been In A Less Productive Time In My Life Than I Am Right Now, In The United States Senate. “‘I’ve never been in a less productive time in my life than I am right now, in the United States Senate,’ Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has not received roll-call vote on an amendment since June of last year, told Time magazine last week.” (Alexander Bolton, “Dems Chafe Under Reid’s Rules As Well,”The Hill, 6/24/14)

REID HAS USED PARLIAMENTARY TRICKS AT AN UNPRECEDENTED LEVEL TO CREATE MORE SENATE GRIDLOCK

According To Political Analyst Charlie Cook, Reid’s “Preferred Tactic” Of Obstruction Is To “Fill The Amendment Tree.” “For Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the preferred tactic is to ‘fill the amendment tree’ to prevent consideration of anything that he doesn’t want to reach the floor.” (Charlie Cook, “Blocking The Vote,” National Journal, 7/25/14)

  • “Filling The Tree” Prevents Senators From Filing Amendments Against A Bill Once It Has Been Introduced On The Floor. “Reid typically blocks amendments through a procedure referred to as ‘filling the tree.’ Only the majority leader can execute the move, which prevents senators from filing amendments against a bill once it has been introduced on the floor for debate. Reid sometimes fills the tree as way to manage the amendment process and control the negotiations with McConnell and his conference over which GOP amendments will be granted floor votes.” (David M. Drucker, “Democrats Don’t Mind That Harry Reid Is Blocking Some Of Their Ideas,”The Washington Examiner , 7/10/14)

FLASHBACK: In 2011, Majority Leader Harry Reid Vowed To Use The “Filling The Tree” Procedure “Infrequently.” “On January 27, 2011, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell conducted a colloquy on the Senate floor during which the majority leader pledged to use the procedural option of filling the amendment tree ‘infrequently’ in the 112th Congress.” (Christopher M. Davis, “Filling The Amendment Tree In The Senate,”Congressional Research Service, 3/27/13)

Reid Went “Nuclear” On The Senate, Changing A Two Hundred Year Old Rule To Ram Through Liberal Nominees

Harry Reid “Led The Chamber In Eliminating The 60-Vote Majority Needed To Vote On Most Presidential Nominations.” “After months-long threats and last-minute deals to avoid a major rules change in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid led the chamber in eliminating the 60-vote majority needed to vote on most presidential nominations.” (Kate Nocera, “Harry Reid Goes Nuclear, Senate Democrats End 60-Vote Filibuster For Most Nominees,” BuzzFeed, 11/21/13)

“Critics Of The Idea, Who Exist In Both Parties, Say Such A Change Would Do Great Damage, Causing Washington To Career From One Set Of Policies To Another, Depending On Which Party Held Power.” (Jonathan Weisman, “The Senate’s Long Slide To Gridlock,” The New York Times , 11/24/12)

The Senate “Has Grown Even More Constipated Than It Had Been” Before Reid Triggered The “Nuclear Option.” “Since late last year, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid triggered the so-called nuclear option limiting the minority party’s ability to filibuster some presidential nominees, the Senate has been at a virtual standstill. The acrimonious chamber has grown even more constipated than it had been before the bomb-and that’s saying something, since it was already on track to be the least productive session in more than 50 years.” (Jay Newton-Small, “Capitol Hill Gym Buddies Try To Break Senate Gridlock,”Time, 3/13/14)

  • FLASHBACK: In 2005, Reid Said Of A Potential Filibuster Elimination: “If There Was Ever An Example Of Abuse Of Power, This Is It.” “But Democrats contend that the Republicans are essentially breaking the rules to change the rules. ‘If there were ever an example of an abuse of power, this is it,’ said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).” (Mike Allen and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, “A Likely Script For The ‘Nuclear Option,’” The Washington Post, 5/18/05)

AT NEARLY EVERY TURN, REID USES HIS TRICKS TO BLOCK BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION AND CREATE GRIDLOCK

In June, Reid Indicated That A Bill On Keystone “Has Little Chance Of Being Brought Up In The Senate This Year.” “But the Senate leader also indicated that the Keystone bill, even if passed by Landrieu with mostly Republican votes in committee, has little chance of being brought up in the Senate this year.” (Edward Felker, “Analysis: Landrieu Gets Keystone, But Reid Calls The Shots,” Energy Guardian, 6/18/14)

  • Reid “Laughed At The Suggestion That He [Will] Bring The Bill To A Vote.”“Reid on Tuesday laughed at the suggestion that he bring the bill to a vote, and blamed Republicans for failing to take an offer for a standalone Keystone XL vote last month in connection with an energy efficiency bill.” (Edward Felker, “Analysis: Landrieu Gets Keystone, But Reid Calls The Shots,” Energy Guardian, 6/18/14)

Against The Wishes Of Even Democrats, Reid Has Refused To Allow A Vote To Repeal The Unpopular Medical Device Tax . “And Democrats, eager to replace a tax on medical devices that helps pay for the Affordable Care Act, have been denied a vote.” (Jonathan Weisman, “Reid’s Uncompromising Power Play In Senate Rankles Republicans,” The New York Times, 1/9/14)

Reid Even “Filled The Tree” To Block “A Fairly Innocuous Package Of Hunting, Fishing, And Public Lands Measures” Proposed By A Fellow Democrat. “In recent weeks, Reid even filled the tree to prevent a vote on Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan’s Sportsmen’s and Public Outdoor Recreation Traditions Act, a fairly innocuous package of hunting, fishing, and public-lands measures.” (Charlie Cook, “Blocking The Vote,” National Journal, 7/25/14)

Even Democrats Are Now Balking At Reid’s Crusade To Create Gridlock

A Group Of Democrat Senators Are “Privately Lobbying Reid To Help Ease The Gridlock.” “Led by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, a small but vocal group of mostly younger Democratic senators are meeting secretly and privately lobbying Reid to help ease the gridlock.” (Manu Raju And Burgess Everett, “Harry Reid’s New Challenge: His Fellow Democrats,” Politico, 6/24/14)

12 Freshman Democrat Senators “Have Not Had A Single Vote On The Floor On Any Amendment Bearing Any Of Their Names As The Lead Sponsor. “Since joining the Senate in January 2013, the 12 freshmen Democrats have not had a single vote on the floor on any amendment bearing any of their names as the lead sponsor. Although some freshmen have succeeded in proposing amendments during committee consideration or won changes as part of a package drafted by the managers of a particular bill, winning a vote during floor debate is a rarity these days.” (Manu Raju and Burgess Everett, “Harry Reid’s New Challenge: His Fellow Democrats,” Politico, 6/23/14)

In June, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) Blamed Senate Democratic Leaders For His Appropriations Bill Being Shelved.

“So Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, probably shouldn’t have been surprised when his cherished bill to fund the Labor, Education and Health and Human Services departments got yanked from the Appropriations Committee’s agenda this month. Word quickly spread that committee Democrats in Republican-leaning states feared a flurry of votes related to ‘ObamaCare.’ ‘It’s not as if they haven’t voted on them before,’ Harkin griped. ‘My way of thinking is, ‘Hell, you’ve already voted on it. Your record’s there.” Harkin blamed Senate Democratic leaders.” (Andrew Taylor, “Fear Of Voting Grips Senate Democratic Chiefs,” The Associated Press, 6/27/14)


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