GREGG'S OBSTRUCTION MANUAL.... If Republican lawmakers put half as much energy into learning policy details as they do into obstructionism, Congress would be a more credible, effective institution.
Sen. Judd Gregg, (R-NH) has penned the equivalent of an obstruction manual -- a how-to for holding up health care reform -- and has distributed the document to his Republican colleagues.
Insisting that it is "critical that Republican senators have a solid understanding of the minority's rights in the Senate," Gregg makes note of all the procedural tools the GOP can use before measures are considered, when they come to the floor and even after passage.
He highlights the use of "hard quorum calls for any motion to proceed, as opposed to a far quicker unanimous consent provision. He reminds his colleagues that, absent unanimous consent, they can force the Majority Leader to read any "full-text substitute amendment." And when it comes to offering amendments to the health care bill, the New Hampshire Republican argues that it is the personification of "full, complete, and informed debate," to "offer an unlimited number of amendments -- germane or non-germane -- on any subject."
The details of Gregg's outline are a clear reflection of the extent to which Republicans are turning to the Byzantine processes of the Senate chamber as a means of holding up reform. And doing so with eagerness.
For the record, Senate Republicans now have a detailed obstructionism plan, but not a detailed health care reform plan.
Sam Stein posted the full text of Gregg's three-page memo, which offers specific instructions on all of the various ways GOP senators can interfere, interrupt, and undermine the legislative process -- not to improve the bill to make it more to Republicans' liking, but just for the same of obstructionism.
Jim Manley, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said, "Just in time for the holidays, here it is in black and white, the Republicans' manual for stall, stop and delay."
In the meantime, debate is in its third day, and thanks to senseless and unnecessary Republican objections, not a single amendment has received a vote. Brian Beutler reported that Democrats are now making it clear that the Senate will "stay in session through Christmas" -- working on Dec. 25 -- if the GOP's blind obstructionism continues.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters, "We're just not going to sit here forever and watch this bill go down."