Dec. 21, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER
Download CQ Roll Call's Definitive Guide to the 114th Congress | Sign Up for Roll Call Newsletters | Get the Latest on the Roll Call App

Small Pack of GOP Senators Dominated Amendments

File Photo

Senators may like to hide behind rhetorical support of certain bills, but they cant hide from public votes that make it clear where they really stand, Denton said. Most Senators talk about earmark reform, but few were willing to actually make it a reality until they were forced to take a position in public. Similarly, every Senator talks about cutting wasteful spending and balancing the budget, but this year well see whos serious.

One senior Senate Democratic aide said McConnell clearly has mismanaged the amendment process. Youd think hed want to spread the wealth a little bit. Theyre not all safe, the aide said. It also goes to show how politically motivated they all are.

Democrats have long argued that Coburn, DeMint, Vitter and other conservatives who have been fixtures on the Senate floor are merely trying to score political points or delay passage rather than improve the legislation.

And some amendments clearly seemed designed to make Democrats squeamish.

During the high-stakes health care reform reconciliation debate in March, Democrats had promised their House counterparts that they would adopt no amendments to the measure. But Republicans tested the majoritys willpower by offering amendments on gun rights, gay marriage and breast cancer screenings. Coburn, however, provided the most uncomfortable vote by offering a proposal that would have prohibited federal funds from paying for erectile dysfunction drugs for sex offenders.

At the time, one Senate Democratic aide called Coburns Viagra amendment a cheap political stunt.

However, McConnell spokesman Don Stewart indicated that the trend would not be changing anytime soon. All Senate Republicans, and more important, their constituents, benefit when we have the opportunity to amend and improve legislation, he said.

comments powered by Disqus

SIGN IN




OR

SUBSCRIBE

Want Roll Call on your doorstep?