GOP To Paralyze Senate By Forcing Clerks To Read 1,924 Page Bill Aloud
The same party whose members are complaining about having to work so close to Christmas is now threatening to delay the legislative process even more:
Republicans will paralyze the Senate floor for 50 hours by forcing clerks to read every single paragraph of the 1,924-page, $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill.
Senate clerks are expected to read the massive bill in rotating shifts around the clock — taking breaks to drink water and pop throat lozenges — to keep legislative business on track, according to a Democratic leadership aide.
The Senate is currently debating the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty. It is expected to take up the omnibus spending bill on a separate and parallel track later Thursday.
If Republicans follow through on their threat, legislative business couldn’t resume until late Saturday in order to give the staff enough time to read the bill aloud, according to a Democratic leadership estimate.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the Senate Republican Steering Committee chairman, vowed not to back down.
“If they bring this up, they’re going to read it. It’ll take them a day or two to read it,” DeMint said on Fox News. “Again, we’re trying to run out the clock. They should not be able to pass this kind of legislation in a lame-duck Congress.”
On one level, you’ve got to hand it to guys like DeMint. For two years they have successfully manipulated the rules of the Senate to frustrate the Democrats from bringing bills that could easily pass a majority vote. They’ve totally played the system, and they’ve won many times.
On another level, though, it’s fairly clear that DeMint is not actually interested in legislating. If he was, he wouldn’t be wasting everyone’s time with a bill reading that no member of the Senate is actually going to be present for anyway.