Republicans Continue to Try to Block Bill

Posted December 20, 2009 at 3:15pm

Signaling they’re not giving up on blocking the Democrats’ health care bill even in the face of a united, 60-seat majority Conference, the Republicans on Sunday have repeatedly moved to set aside the manager’s amendment currently under debate and bring up a GOP proposal, only to be blocked by swift Democratic objections.Republican Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.) and Richard Burr (N.C.) were the two latest Members to ask unanimous consent to stop debate on the manager’s amendment to the Democrats’ $871 billion health care package — a cloture vote on the measure is set for 1 a.m. Monday. Barrasso attempted this maneuver four times, and Burr at least once, and each time they were met by an objection from Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).“Clearly this is a stunt,— Baucus said, as he objected to Barrasso, who retorted that he’s “not surprised— Democrats are trying to block him from offering counter-proposals given the public’s dissatisfaction with the majority’s bill.Earlier Sunday, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) employed the same tactic, but he was rebuffed by an objection from Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Saturday put the final touch on his 60-vote, Democratic coalition after he secured the support of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) for the bill. The GOP remains unanimously opposed to the bill, but can do little to block it at this point absent help from a Democratic defector.