Senate Republicans Go on Procedural Offensive

Posted May 14, 2008 at 11:16am

The Senate devolved into a procedural mess at midday Wednesday as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) attempted to attach a GI bill authored by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) to a controversial collective bargaining measure.

The move is part of a Republican tactical offensive aimed at highlighting the GOP agenda as GOP leaders feel nothing is being done on the Senate floor that they can take home to constituents.

McConnell angered Democrats by seconding his own amendment, thereby prohibiting Democrats from filing their own version of the proposal. McConnell then filed cloture on the McCain amendment.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) responded angrily by calling a quorum call and denying Sen. Judd Gregg’s (R-N.H.) right to speak three times.

Reid chastised Republicans for stalling a bipartisan bill, saying that he anticipated the chamber would move on the labor legislation soon.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, was on the floor Wednesday morning debating the collective bargaining bill when the GI amendment was introduced.

Afterward, Kennedy, seemingly caught off guard, accused Republicans of obstructing debate. The Massachusetts Senator blamed Republicans, particularly, McCain, for obstructing the labor measure.

To be continued …

— John Stanton and Tim Taylor