Coleman Says He Disagrees With Filibuster Tactics

Posted June 12, 2008 at 3:01pm

Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) might want to be careful what he says, even in private meetings with lobbyists.

Twice on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) mentioned a mysterious Republican Senator who doesn’t agree with his leadership’s decision to try to block most bills from even coming to the chamber floor for debate.

“This morning, one of the Republican Senators, whose name I won’t mention, said at a meeting with a number of people downtown … ‘There’s a lot of frustration within the Republican Caucus about blocking motions to proceed’” to legislation, Reid said on the Senate floor.

Coleman acknowledged to Roll Call that he was that unnamed Senator but indicated that he did not intend to give Reid a talking point for why Republicans should end their record-breaking string of legislative filibusters.

“Ultimately, people expect us to get things done. Reid’s not making it easy,” Coleman said. He said Reid’s tactics on the Senate floor — and the Republican reaction to them — are difficult to explain to voters.

“Part of the problem is on the message. People don’t understand what it is to fill the amendment tree,” Coleman said, referencing a procedural maneuver that essentially blocks the minority from offering amendments. “So, some of us now are stuck in a position where the public doesn’t understand what Reid is doing, making it difficult for folks to fully have amendments.”

Still, he said he would rather that Republicans vote to proceed to legislation, even if they end up voting against it or filibustering it in the end.

“I’m one who likes to vote on things, put it on the floor and vote on it,” he said.

Coleman has a difficult re-election race this year against comedian Al Franken (D) in November.