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GOP vows retaliation after Reid uses nuclear option in Senate
The Hill ^ | October 8, 2011 | Alexander Bolton

Posted on 10/08/2011 2:12:00 PM PDT by jazusamo

Senate Republicans vow they will retaliate for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) decision to unilaterally change the Senate’s rules Thursday without prior warning or negotiation.

Republican aides say their bosses will now be even more reluctant to allow the Senate to conduct routine business by unanimous consent, forcing Reid to gather 60 votes for even the most mundane matters.

“Reid fired a major salvo and it’s hard to imagine a return shot won’t be fired. Maybe over the weekend they’ll come up with something and try to make it less worse than it already is,” said a Senate GOP leadership aide.

Partisan anger hit a boiling point in the chamber this week after Republicans refused to allow final passage of a China currency bill unless Democrats voted on President Obama’s jobs package, as originally drafted.

Triggering what has come to be known as the chamber’s “nuclear option,” Reid overturned Senate precedent that allowed Republicans to force votes to proceed to non-germane amendments. He did so by voting with 50 of his Democratic colleagues to overturn a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian.

The controversial procedural tactic hasn’t been used in years. In a chamber where it requires the consent of all 100 senators to dispense with the reading of a bill, changing the rules unilaterally is considered bad form.

Former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) predicted Thursday’s blow-up on the floor would have aftershocks.

“It’s obviously consequential and significant,” he said of the surprise rules change.

Eric Ueland, who served as chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), also predicted repercussions.

“Usually if you set off a nuke, you’re responsible for the fallout," he said. “There’s likely to be fallout here to the extent members on either side of the aisle feel this new gag rule impedes their ability to legislate. That has ramifications down the line.”

More than majority leaders before him, Reid has used a tactic known as filling the amendment tree to block Republicans from offering politically charged amendments to legislation. He has done this to protect vulnerable members of his caucus from taking tough votes.

He did it on the China currency bill that was being debate when he triggered the nuclear option. Republicans had no recourse to force a vote on Obama’s jobs package than to offer a motion to suspend the rules after the Senate had already voted to move to final passage.

By changing the rules Thursday, Reid barred Republicans from forcing votes even on motions to suspend the rules to proceed to amendments designed to send a political message.

One GOP strategist said giving the minority an opportunity to vote on these message amendments “lets partisan steam out of the kettle.”

Now that Republicans have been deprived this outlet, they warn pressure will build up, threatening an explosion.

Reid halted Senate business in the middle of consideration of the China bill Thursday night and rescheduled a return to work for Tuesday, giving angry Republicans time to cool off.

He and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate Democrats’ messaging and strategy guru, have also proposed a bipartisan caucus meeting, to give lawmakers on both sides of the aisle chance to talk out their frustrations.

Reid said he would be happy to sit down with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in an effort to mend fences.

“I’m sure we can all cinch up our belts and, as they say in the old and new testament, gird our loins and try to do a better job of how we get along here,” Reid said.

“One of the things I want to do is have a joint caucus,” he said. “I want to have one with Democratic senators and Republican senators and at that time we can all talk about some of the frustrations we all have.”

McConnell has yet to respond to the overture.

Reid and McConnell entered into a gentlemen’s agreement at the beginning of the year to allow the Senate’s business to proceed more smoothly.

Reid promised to give Republicans opportunities to offer amendments, and McConnell pledged not to filibuster motions to proceed to legislation, unless the legislation is highly controversial.

Schumer and Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) also worked out an agreement to allow hundreds of mid-level administration nominees to be appointed without Senate confirmation.

Senate aides say the gentlemen’s agreement and spirit of bipartisan cooperation that existed in January are now dead.

Schumer admits things haven’t worked out as planned.

“The senator from Tennessee and I talked about that frustration at the beginning of this session in an attempt [to work it out],” he said. “Obviously it hasn’t worked terribly well.”

A Senate Democratic aide said McConnell is responsible for the collapse of the gentlemen’s agreement.

The aide accused McConnell of acting like a sore loser by trying to force a vote on Obama’s jobs package after the Senate already voted to move to final passage of the China bill.

"McConnell isn't happy unless the Senate is in a state of dysfunction. It personally bothered him this week that members on his side bucked him and voted to cut off a filibuster on a bipartisan bill so it could pass the Senate. He got hot under the collar [Thursday] and was grasping at procedural straws to try to tank a bipartisan bill at the eleventh hour,” said the aide.

Dorgan said Thursday’s floor fight is a sign of the collapse of bipartisan cooperation in the Senate.

“It’s another step in the confrontation that exists almost constantly now. Not only is there not agreement on policy, there’s not agreement on the rules,” he said. “It’s another demonstration the system isn’t working at all.”

“Underlying it all, there’s no cooperation on anything,” he added. “How are we going to show American people that we’re working on their problems?”



TOPICS: Government; Politics/Elections; US: Kentucky; US: Nevada; US: New York; US: North Dakota; US: Tennessee
KEYWORDS: billfrist; byrondorgan; chuckschumer; harryreid; kentucky; lamaralexander; mitchmcconnell; nevada; newyork; northdakota; nuclearoption; tennessee; ussenate
A Senate Democratic aide said McConnell is responsible for the collapse of the gentlemen’s agreement.

Gee, an anonymous Senate Dem aide said it's all McConnell's fault, Harry and Chuck should speak for themselves.

Sadly the Republicans have short memories, especially RINOs, I doubt they'll be retaliation.

1 posted on 10/08/2011 2:12:12 PM PDT by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

“The controversial procedural tactic hasn’t been used in years. In a chamber where it requires the consent of all 100 senators to dispense with the reading of a bill, changing the rules unilaterally is considered bad form.”

Make them read every line of every bill into the record.


2 posted on 10/08/2011 2:15:17 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: Spktyr

Exactly...It would drastically slow down legislation and that would be a good thing.


3 posted on 10/08/2011 2:19:56 PM PDT by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Senator John McAmnesty will NEVER stand for GOP partisan tactics! He is able to “reach across the aisle” and “work with his friends” on the demorat side.


4 posted on 10/08/2011 2:20:45 PM PDT by Mr. Jazzy (For God and country - Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo!)
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To: jazusamo

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. Nothing will now get done till the next election.


5 posted on 10/08/2011 2:21:27 PM PDT by Drango (A liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.)
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To: jazusamo

Please bump the Freepathon or click above and donate or become a monthly donor!

6 posted on 10/08/2011 2:22:35 PM PDT by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Wow, who should’ve thunk that some GOP senators had gonads.

Refreshing to know.


7 posted on 10/08/2011 2:23:25 PM PDT by 353FMG (Liberalism is Satan's handiwork.)
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To: Drango

Get some stones Republicans. It’s about time. No bills passed until this Commie in the White House is thrown out of office!


8 posted on 10/08/2011 2:23:41 PM PDT by Signalman
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To: jazusamo

I’m certain McCain and Graham are working on a very stern letter right now.


9 posted on 10/08/2011 2:24:58 PM PDT by Raycpa
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To: 353FMG

No, GOP senators have not gotten gonads. This story is about hollow words from unidentified ‘staffers’.


10 posted on 10/08/2011 2:26:24 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: jazusamo

I...grow...so...weary.


11 posted on 10/08/2011 2:28:36 PM PDT by Crawdad
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To: 353FMG

As my favorite fictional lawyer, Perry Mason, would have said: “... some GOP Senators had gonads . . You have assumed facts not in evidence.”

If you expect the whores in the Senate to follow McConnell, forget it. Mitch McConnell couldn’t lead a troop of randy scouts through a Chinese cat house with a fistful of cash and a wallet full of credit cards. McConnell is all blow and no go.


12 posted on 10/08/2011 2:35:42 PM PDT by MasterGunner01 (To err is human; to forgive is not our policy. -- SEAL Team SIX)
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To: Spktyr
Make them read every line of every bill into the record.

Now let them introduce another 2,000 page bill like ZeroCare. They would get to vote on it sometime after 2012.

13 posted on 10/08/2011 2:36:05 PM PDT by immadashell
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To: jazusamo

Problem is republican’s in the senate have no guts or backbone..Seriously don’t like Reid, but he does get an A or guts and backbone against the republican senators...Must get rid of the rino leaders to make the democrats pay for their action and I don’t remember any republican senator having any guts or backbone..


14 posted on 10/08/2011 2:45:48 PM PDT by goat granny
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To: jazusamo
Is this Harry Reid's Battle of the Bulge?
15 posted on 10/08/2011 2:53:08 PM PDT by ImJustAnotherOkie (zerogottago)
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To: jazusamo

Ron Johnson has been withholding his consent periodically throughout the summer. You know - the Senator from Wisconsin who didn’t have a chance to beat Russ Feingold because he was just a business man with no previous political experience?


16 posted on 10/08/2011 3:01:40 PM PDT by Mygirlsmom (Come 11/6/12 there will be a reconnect-a very different kind of commander in chief— a CEO of Self)
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To: jazusamo
Republican aides say their bosses will now be even more reluctant to allow the Senate to conduct routine business by unanimous consent...

Ooohhh... I'm even more scared now that they're "more reluctant."

-PJ

17 posted on 10/08/2011 3:06:09 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, Mexican on Cinco de Mayo, and American on Election Day.)
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To: ImJustAnotherOkie

“Is this Harry Reid’s Battle of the Bulge?”...I think so, even our softer Republican Senators will turn the other cheek for only so long.


18 posted on 10/08/2011 3:08:18 PM PDT by kevslisababy
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To: jazusamo
...Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate Democrats’ messaging and strategy guru... said... “Obviously it hasn’t worked terribly well.”

Did it work "terribly" or "well?" It can't be "terribly well," can it?

I guess if the "messaging guru" says so...

-PJ

19 posted on 10/08/2011 3:10:00 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, Mexican on Cinco de Mayo, and American on Election Day.)
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To: Mygirlsmom

Good for Sen. Johnson, the plain ole businessman. :-)

We need a lot more like him!


20 posted on 10/08/2011 3:14:37 PM PDT by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: Raycpa

Yes and rushing it right off to the GOP blaming them!


21 posted on 10/08/2011 3:19:27 PM PDT by italianquaker ( Mr Obama inherited an AAA rating and made it AA, thnx Resident Zero)
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To: jazusamo
GOP vows retaliation after Reid uses nuclear option in Senate

The GOP should be vowing to find productive (non-government related) jobs after we replace them with Tea Partiers next year.

They are the only people in America too stupid to see that the Dems weren't afraid to use something that they were terrified of using!! And they have the audacity to threaten revenge!!???

All across America, Democrats are laughing up their sleeves at GOP idiocy!!

22 posted on 10/08/2011 4:05:48 PM PDT by DustyMoment (Congress - Another name for white collar criminals!!)
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To: jazusamo

Harry knows that the GOPers don’t have the stones. And even if they manage to find their stones, there are individuals who just have an “R” label, but who are really moderate dems.


23 posted on 10/08/2011 4:17:20 PM PDT by Moorings
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To: jazusamo

The Republicans? Fire a return volley? The Tweedle-DUMB party? SENATE Republicans? Not only would it have to be a COLD day in hell — not only would hell have to freeze over — the very FLAMES in the lake of fire would have to freeze blue and orange while lapping at the heels of the frozen damned for THIS to ever happen.....

Okay — I took a little dramatic license. So sue me...


24 posted on 10/08/2011 5:00:46 PM PDT by patriot preacher
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To: jazusamo
Good for Sen. Johnson, the plain ole businessman. :-)

We need a lot more like him!

That's for sure. And I don't have much faith that the GOP caucus can show any backbone for very long, although that's exactly what they should do: just slow down business to a halt. In general, that's better than passing legislation, especially under the current Senate composition.

25 posted on 10/08/2011 5:05:55 PM PDT by sargon (I don't like the sound of these "boncentration bamps")
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To: jazusamo

Deeds not words.


26 posted on 10/08/2011 5:46:15 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: goat granny

Reid and McConnell entered into a gentlemen’s agreement at the beginning of the year to allow the Senate’s business to proceed more smoothly.

You would think that eventually the Republicans would learn that every time they play nicey nice the Dems just double down.


27 posted on 10/08/2011 6:33:54 PM PDT by sheana
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