Deal Struck to Clear Way for Housing Bill

Posted June 19, 2008 at 11:15am

Despite threats from conservative Republicans to derail the Senate’s latest housing legislation, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have agreed to debate the bill on the floor without use of the procedural tactics that have become commonplace this session.

A group of conservative lawmakers, including Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), had threatened to force a motion to recommit to delay the bill until an investigation was conducted into how the bill would aid troubled mortgage company Countrywide Financial. The maneuver was, according to GOP aides, designed to halt a bill conservatives oppose and act as a political tool to hit two top Democrats — Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who authored the bill, and Budget Chairman Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) — who were given favorable loans by Countrywide.

But under the deal between Reid and McConnell, Reid has agreed to not “fill the tree,” a parliamentary tactic he has used on most major bills this year that allows him to control which, if any, amendments are offered. For his part, McConnell agreed to not derail the measure.