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DeMint Makes Final Offer

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) appeared to make a last-ditch effort to stave off an unpopular Saturday session by offering to delay his amendment to the housing bill until after the energy debate is over.

In a late Thursday afternoon floor speech, DeMint said he would allow the Senate to proceed directly to the massive housing bill, and then take up energy legislation, if — and only if — Democratic leaders then allowed his amendment to move as a stand-alone bill.

DeMint’s amendment would prevent the lobbying of Members of Congress by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A rescue plan for those entities is currently contained in the housing bill and is backed by the Bush administration.

“It’s clear that my Democratic colleagues do not support my reform. Apparently, they’re going to do everything they can to support these entities,” DeMint contended.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who was on the floor and speaking for the chair, said that she would object to such a move on the majority’s behalf.

DeMint then explained that Fannie and Freddie are going to “lavish” attention on lawmakers at the Democratic and Republican national conventions later this summer, and that they had spent millions of dollars lobbying lawmakers and doling out campaign contributions.