Coburn Hijacks Debate on Debt Limit Hike

Posted January 26, 2010 at 2:18pm

Updated: 3:36 p.m.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) used a little-known procedural maneuver Tuesday afternoon to hijack debate on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) debt limit increase bill.

The procedure, known as a “clay pigeon,— splits Coburn’s pending amendment to the debt limit increase into 17 separate parts — a move that will require the chamber to take 17 separate votes and drag out the debate significantly.

In 2006, Coburn became just the second Senator to use the procedure when he divided an anti-earmark amendment to an appropriations bill into 19 separate pieces. Previously, only former Sen. Bob Smith (R-N.H.) had used the tactic, Coburn’s office said at the time.

“We’re addicted to spending,— Coburn said on the floor Tuesday.

Aides said Coburn was using the procedure to try to force votes on debt reduction amendments.

“Dr. Coburn believes it is important to give Members not just one chance to cut spending, but 17 chances, so there can be no doubt about whether Members stand with families or the professional procrastinators in Washington,— Coburn spokesman John Hart said.