Call Senator DeMint and Tell Him to Stop Playing Politics with the new START treaty
The Republicans have devised a new stunt to delay the vote on the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (new START) thanks to obstructionist-in-chief Jim DeMint:
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) will force readings of both a nuclear arms treaty and $1.1 trillion spending bill that could eat up hours of the remaining lame-duck Congress.
DeMint will invoke a senatorial privilege to ask that texts of both the New START Treaty and the 2011 omnibus spending bill be read aloud on the Senate floor.
The readings could take seven to 12 hours to verbalize the START Treaty, while the omnibus could take 40 to 60 hours, according to a spokesman for DeMint.
The readings could eat up a substantial amount of time in the closing days of the lame-duck Congress, in which Senate Democrats are racing against the clock to pass through a number of priorities. Democrats hope to pass a tax-cut bill, on which they’ll vote Wednesday afternoon, along with a repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” the START Treaty and the DREAM Act immigration bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) “hoped” in a floor speech Wednesday that DeMint would not force a full reading, calling the move a “colossal waste of time.”
Floor readings of measures before the Senate are typically waived by unanimous consent without any objections. But if a senator were to require that lengthy bills be read, the delay could take hours. (The omnibus is over 1,900 pages.)
DeMint’s maneuver will no doubt cause a headache for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as he figures out how to fit all of the remaining legislative items into the waning days of the lame duck. Lawmakers had been set to leave Washington on Friday, but that deadline appears flimsy at this point. Reid had sought to avoid working the week of the Christmas holiday, as lawmakers had done last year, and has now threatened work after the holidays if necessary.
That session was delayed after a similar tactic last year by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who’d forced a lengthy reading of an amendment to the healthcare reform bill that led to the withdrawal of that amendment.
The fact is, the party that claims to be the sole protector of our national security has finally been revealed to be the party of empty, patriotic bumper-sticker slogans and political posturing. But at the end of the day they are really more concerned with taxes, taxes, taxes and they are going to hold up everything else simply to deny this administration anything that could be considered a legislative victory or success, even if the legislation is in the best interest of the U.S.
Secretary Clinton has worked tirelessly to make the case for immediate ratification of new START.
Please consider calling or emailing Senator Jim DeMint’s office and telling him that the political games need to stop. His 15 minutes of Tea Party fame has gone on long enough. His contact information is here.