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Reid Schedules Rare Live Quorum Monday Night

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Friday that he would force Members to attend a rare “live quorum” Monday night to debate the Democrats’ outsourcing legislation.

“Everyone should be aware that we’ll have a live quorum at about 7 on Monday evening,” the Nevada Democrat said.

Live quorums are rare and are generally used to force lawmakers to attend votes or participate in key procedural motions.

But in the age of C-SPAN, floor “debates” have become little more than a single Member giving speeches to an empty chamber. By using a live quorum, Reid can force virtually every Senator to participate in the Monday evening debate.

Reid’s announcement came after he and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) traded barbs over Democratic efforts to deal with the economy. McConnell charged that “my view is that the majority has really wasted months in the chamber trying to tell the private sector what to do instead of providing certainty to help them make investment decisions.”

McConnell also argued that the outsourcing bill would end up costing jobs in the U.S.

“My friend is correct. There has been a lot of wasted time here in the Senate. But it hasn’t been because of the majority. We’ve had to answer to more than a hundred filibusters,” Reid countered.

Reid also questioned McConnell’s criticism of the bill, saying, “For my friend to stand on the floor and say the continual exporting of our jobs is good for our country is beyond the pale … not only does the fact that these jobs being taken off of our soil and transferred to another country create tremendous job losses here, but we give these people tax benefits for doing it.”

A cloture vote on the outsourcing legislation is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

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