Reid Moves to Thwart Filibuster of Defense Bill

Posted September 16, 2010 at 10:39am

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he will file a procedural motion on the defense authorization bill to work his way around a potential GOP filibuster.

“I would like to reach an agreement to proceed to the measure, but it appears unlikely,” the Nevada Democrat complained.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday he would hold up the defense measure and blasted the “onerous provisions” that Reid has attached, including an amendment repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the DREAM Act and legislation to curb the Senate’s use of secret holds. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) echoed his GOP colleague Thursday, saying this year’s defense authorization measure has been turned into a political tool.

“The Democrats’ whole game plan over the past year and a half and through today is to tick as many items as possible off their liberal wish list while they have a chance,” McConnell said in a floor statement.

A test vote is expected to occur on Tuesday, although it remains unclear whether Reid has the 60 votes needed to overcome GOP opposition. Still, Democrats hope to score a few legislative wins before adjourning Oct. 8, or perhaps even a week earlier, to campaign for the midterm elections. Among those is a food safety bill, which some Members say has particular urgency in the wake of last month’s massive egg recall. Members from both sides have stalled action over concerns with the bill, which includes new regulations governing food policy, although Democrats have placed blame on Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) over his concerns about the bill’s costs.

“We spent a whole Congress on this and at the last minute, he comes in and likely we’re not going to be able to get this done before we go home before the elections,” Reid said.