Standoff on Nominees Continues
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) squared off on the Senate floor early Thursday afternoon as tempers continued to flare over judicial nominations.
McConnell attempted to offer an amendment to the climate change bill that would put an emergency brake on the majority if the measure, authored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), ended up raising gas prices.
But Reid objected and McConnell was not able to offer the amendment.
Reid slammed Republicans for obstructing debate on the climate bill because of a long-running standoff on judicial nominations. Indeed, Republicans forced a reading of the nearly 500-page climate bill on Wednesday because of their nominee complaints. They also invoked the two-hour rule on Thursday morning to prevent committee meetings.
I think its pretty clear what the picture is here. After trying everything that we could to have a regular debate on this bill, we were turned away at every point, Reid said.
But McConnell invoked a 2003 nine-hour Senate floor reading of Reids book, Searchlight: The Camp that Didnt Fail, in order to protest then-GOP leader Sen. Bill Frists (Tenn.) push to debate judicial nominations.
Pointing to recent House special election losses to Democrats, Reid responded by saying that GOP tactics were abundantly transparent to voters and that they would continue to lose at the ballot box because of them. The losing is going to continue, Reid said.
Speaking earlier, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the atmosphere in the Senate halls was sour. He added that Republicans are not serious about working on the environmental bill and they that would extract a pound of flesh at every thing that Democrats seek.
Its not very good. Its not constructive, complained Durbin of the GOP delaying ploys. Its not good. Their anger is misplaced. … They want to seat conservative ideological judges as Bushs last gift to America.
Debate on the global warming bill has been ongoing since an initial overwhelming vote to proceed to it Monday afternoon. Since then, the bill has run against additional hurdles, ballooning into a perfect thunderstorm between the two sides despite its already dim prospects of passing.