Calling “This Childish Behavior Would Be An Insult To Children Everywhere”

That was Kevin Drum of Mother Jones describing the Republican antics today in the Senate.  Here is what happened:  During multiple Senate committee meetings being conducted today, Democratic Chairmen had to suspend the meeting, sometimes mid-sentence during a witnesses testimony.  Why might you ask?  Well it seems there is an obscure Senate Rule, (5(a)), which states:

Notwithstanding any other provision of the rules, when the Senate is in session, no committee of the Senate or any subcommittee thereof may meet, without special leave, after the conclusion of the first two hours after the meeting of the Senate commenced and in no case after two o’clock postmeridian unless consent therefor has been obtained from the majority leader and the minority leader (or in the event of the absence of either of such leaders, from his designee). The prohibition contained in the preceding sentence shall not apply to the Committee on Appropriations or the Committee on the Budget. The majority leader or his designee shall announce to the Senate whenever consent has been given under this subparagraph and shall state the time and place of such meeting. The right to make such announcement of consent shall have the same priority as the filing of a cloture motion.

I can’t tell what is more absurd:  the fact that Republicans refused to give their consent OR THE FACT THAT THERE IS ACTUALLY RULE THAT SAYS WE CAN’T WORK PAST 2PM. If you needed any more evidence that the Senate is the most dysfunctional, antidemocratic legislative body, I think you got it.

And what was going on in some of these meeting?  Nothing important; they were just discussing things like childhood nutrition and OUR MILITARY POLICY REGARDING NORTH KOREA.

According to Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, Chairman of the Arms Services Committee:

“We’ve had, we have three [U.S. military] commanders scheduled to testify this afternoon. They’ve been scheduled for a long time. They’ve come a long, long distance. One of them has come from Korea; one of them has come from Hawaii.

Even though the ranking Republican on the Committee, Senator John McCain had consented, Senator Richard Burr, another member, stated that while he wanted to continue someone in the minority party, he would not say who, objected.  I think when the Senate reconvenes next year, the Democrats should change the rules and if they do not ban the filibuster, they should deny members the ability to put anonymous holds on legislation, nominees and hearings.  If you are going to delay for no other reason than you are a petulant child, you should at least be forced to identify yourself and have sunshine illuminate it for the voters.

And there is John McCain, who said after the Democrats passed Health Care Reform through both houses of congress, including with 60 votes in the Senate:

“There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year,” McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. “They have poisoned the well in what they’ve done and how they’ve done it.”

Responding to this, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said:

“The notion that you don’t get what you want, [so] you’re not going to cooperate on anything else is not a whole lot different than I might hear from a 6-year-old,” he said during a White House press briefing today. “It doesn’t work well for my six-year-old…I doubt it works well in the United States Senate.”


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