Democrats contend that the 1992 withdrawal essentially created a new precedent and that Republican anger is simply frustration about having their efforts at obstruction blocked.
They are upset because they were thwarted in their latest stunt to derail health reform, Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in an e-mail. The rules of the Senate are clear. Any Senator can withdraw his amendment prior to the yeas and nays being requested. That is what happened in this case. Its parliamentary rules 101. Nothing biased or changed about that.
Republicans, however, called that reading of the record disingenuous at best.
In 1992, the chair made a mistake and allowed something similar to happen. But one mistake does not a precedent make, McConnell said. For example, there is precedent for a Senator being beaten with a cane here in the Senate. If mistakes were the rule, the caning of Senators would be in order. Fortunately for all of us, it is not.
Earlier in the day, Democrats were using the fact that they could not stop the reading to make the case that the GOPs efforts were resulting in the delay of a critical Defense Department spending bill. They later checked with the Parliamentarian and realized there was a way around it.
The complaints against Frumin and Senate Democrats are the latest example of an increasingly bitter climate in the chamber. For instance, earlier this month, Republicans accused Reid of attempting to rig the floor schedule to accommodate his fundraising trips when he tried to cancel a Saturday vote that would have conflicted with an event in New Orleans. Reid eventually canceled his trip and accused Republicans of attempting to embarrass him.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said he hopes Wednesdays events dont cast a permanent shadow on the chamber. Hopefully everybodys going to be a grown-up about it and understand that proponents have a job and opponents have a job to do, Cornyn said.
But others were not so sure.
If there was any good faith, its gone. ... No one can say this is a fair process when they basically have a Parliamentarian in their pocket, DeMint added.
Rep. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
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