January 11, 2007
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The "100 Hours" is looking pretty lame, as Senate Democrats try to shoot down the Pelosi pork reform proposal. Andy Roth reports:
The Senate is boiling with excitement right now. For background, the Senate is proposing very weak earmark reform rules. In contrast, Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats implemented some very strong earmark rules in the lower chamber last week.
In response, Senator Jim DeMint, who is a very strong advocate for more transparency, figured, “Let’s just offer Pelosi’s reforms as an amendment to the Senate bill.”
It was a very clever strategy. Dick Durbin, the Majority Whip, threw a fit on the Senate floor and offered a motion to table it (kill it).
Let's be clear about the rich irony here. Senate Leadership tried to kill a bill that House Leadership supported and passed. Harry Reid and Dick Durbin are basically saying that they want their pork no matter what, even if it embarrasses their own party.
So when the motion to kill the bill came to a vote, Durbin and the Democrats lost!
It should be noted that a majority should never offer a motion to table if they aren’t sure they can win. It was very embarrassing. Especially since Durbin was trying to kill a proposal that his Leadership colleagues in the House offered!
Anyways, after the motion failed, DeMint asked for a voice vote, which is common. It's basically used to save time since de facto support of the bill was decided when the motion failed. However, Big Ted Kennedy objected, which is all that it needed to skip a voice vote.
The Dems are now off the floor whipping the hell out of their members for when they take a real roll call vote later this afternoon.
And now they're back. Roth is updating, and this looks like a real embarrassment. The Democratic reforms in the House don't mean a lot if the Senate is going to vote for business as usual. Harry Reid, apparently, is much less committed to ending the "culture of corruption" than Nancy Pelosi.
UPDATE: More here: "Reid and Durbin are determined to feed at the trough no matter how embarrassing it is to the party."
ANOTHER UPDATE: TPM Muckraker is pretty hard on Harry Reid: "Showing he can be every bit as bullying to advance a bad idea, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) held open a vote on his watered down earmark reform legislation today in order to round up enough votes to push it through. . . . According to Craig Holman of Public Citizen, Reid's version, if it had been applied to earmarks as part of legislation passed last year, would have disclosed the sponsor of only approximately 500 earmarks. DeMint's amendment would have forced sponsors to be known of roughly 12,000."