WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Senate Republicans accused Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) of trying to “jam” through legislation and nominations as some members of Congress look to head home before the Christmas holiday.
However, with last month’s push by Reid and other Senate Democrats to reduce the votes needed to filibuster nominations, Republicans have taken a new strategy of forcing roll-call votes on procedural questions and threats to use all post-cloture debate time to slow the process.
“They know ultimately that we’re gonna get it done,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said at a news conference. “We’re gonna stick with it till it’s done, we’re committed to it. We’ve waited too long to get this going.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell and other Republican lawmakers expressed frustration that the Senate votes on a defense authorization bill on Wednesday, but will allow no amendments. McConnell was clear on Tuesday who he thought was to blame for Senate dysfunction.
“I’d like to focus for a few minutes on the way the Senate is being run,” McConnell said at a news conference on Tuesday.
“So as we end the year, it’s a tragedy the way the Senate is being run into the ground by basically one person. And I hope that one of the majority leader’s New Year’s resolutions is going to be to operate the Senate in a quite different manner.”
McConnell stated that there were no emergency issues that needed to be addressed this week despite Reid’s call for “a whole slew of nominations” and legislation votes being jammed in before the end of the year.
“This is obviously to protect the administration from having a vote on enhanced sanctions on Iran,” McConnell said.
“But it also disadvantages all the members of the Senate, on both the Democrat and Republican side. So the effort once again will be to fill up the tree, prevent members from offering amendments, jam it through, centralize the power in the majority leader’s office.”