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  • Here is another article about Senator Coburn's use of the hold to block legislation. It is a bittersweet consolation that CDRPA is getting attention as one of the prime examples of the egregiousness of Coburn's use of the hold.

    Coburn Has Learned To Just Say No
    On a cold Wednesday morning in mid-December, with bills piling up and lawmakers increasingly eager to get out of town for the holidays, Senate Majority Leader Reid set aside three hours for a demonstration on wasting time.
    GOP aides groaned that Reid was devoting precious hours for political theater, and Minority Leader McConnell said Reid's demonstration was itself a waste of time. But Reid was determined to deliver the message that it was Republicans who were gumming up the works.
    And, as one Democratic aide made plain that day, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., was the poster boy for their frustration.
    Democratic lawmakers did their best to try to pass what seemed to be non-controversial bills -- including the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act and a bill addressing traumatic brain injuries in veterans.
    But, in a repeat of a scene that became common this fall, Coburn or a Republican lawmaker acting on his behalf objected to unanimous consent agreements to adopt the bills.
    The Senate was able to pass a handful of bills Coburn had holds on later in the week -- most notably Federal Housing Administration legislation and a Coburn-sponsored amendment that would have delayed lifting the cap on FHA reverse mortgages.
    And Wednesday, the Senate passed legislation to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, another bill on which Coburn had placed a hold.
    But those bills were merely drops in the pond of 90-plus bills, on which Coburn has put holds.
    In December alone, Coburn blocked unanimous consent on such items as the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act and a bill addressing infrastructure needs for Washington's Metro system.
    Coburn has drawn the ire of Democrats and Republicans for his efforts to object to agreements that would allow legislation to pass without procedural hurdles -- or floor debate.
    One of the final acts taken by the Senate before it left Wednesday night was to set up votes next year on energy legislation that Coburn had delayed.
    "We've been more than reasonable waiting to work through this, in my opinion," said Reid. "I think it's unreasonable he has held these up."
    But no senator could be surprised by his behavior. Coburn sent a letter to senators at the beginning of the month warning them against using the traditionally busy end-of-year timeframe to push bills that would increase spending without running them past him first.
    Coburn, in an interview with CongressDaily, said he was not trying to burn bridges with his colleagues on either side of the aisle.
    "My intention is not to create ill will," Coburn said. "My intention is to follow my oath ... how are we affording the government that we have? The answer to that is we're borrowing from the next two generations. I'd much rather have the ill will of my peers here than place a ... much larger burden on the next generation."
    Even though he was unable to hold off action on the FHA bill any longer, Coburn stood by his decision to slow the process. Objecting to unanimous consent allowed a debate to occur and amendments to be offered on the measure, which he maintains is his primary goal.
    "We're seen as 'Dr. No,'" Coburn, a licensed physician said, referring to a James Bond villain. "But we're not 'Dr. No.' We're 'Dr. Stop and Wait a Minute.' "
    While some senators have hidden their roles in the process by asking a colleague to object on their behalf, Coburn pulls no punches. If another senator asks if Coburn is behind a hold, he will answer, sometimes referring to a card he carries that lists the 90-plus bills that he has holds on.
    One GOP aide agreed Coburn has been respectful of his colleagues, and that his staff has been easy to work with. "It's hardly a 'kiss the ring' situation," the aide said.
    But courtesy and accommodation do not change the reality that some Republican lawmakers take offense at and are frustrated by Coburn's tactics.
    "At worst, it irritates folks who have been at the negotiating table, on both sides of the aisle," a second Republican aide said.
    One Democratic aide stressed the same point -- that Coburn is hurting the Senate as a whole, and not just Democrats.
    "I don't want to make any enemies," Coburn said. "But if I do, I'll have to live with that." By Ben Schneider

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Leo
      hi dan,

      i listened to cspan until they ended last night and no action on cdrpa

      sen. reid read off the future session days but to fast for me to catch. for some reason i thought they were ending but we do have more time

      sue's contact points are right.......plus if we can get more folks from oklahoma, cousins, uncles and who ever to call him

      more later
      The Senate is finished with legislative business for the year, but that is not the end of the process for CDRPA. The list of dates Senator Reid read are for "pro forma" sessions in which the Senate convenes as a formality (to avoid "recess appointments") but does not conduct any actual legislative business. The Senate will return for legislative business on January 22nd. CDRPA will remain alive and on the legislative calendar when the Senate returns. Legislation does not die until the end of 2008 when a new Congress is elected. So we have all next year to get CDRPA through the Senate and to the President.
      Last edited by cubsfandc; 12-20-2007, 04:46 PM.

      Comment


      • I'm trying to compose a letter to Senator Coburn and call me but I have questions. This ONE Senator is blocking a vote by ALL Senators??? I mean, without his permission, there will be no vote? Is he being asked to support stem cell research? I think I read the answers already, please confirm. What other key points, to keep it short. Thanks!
        .
        get busy living or get busy dying

        Comment


        • Correct, the CDRPA is not about stem cells at all. It is only funding for federally approved research methods. Correct, one guy, Coburn, can hold the whole thing. I suspect this was originally a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" type allowance of the good-ol'-boy system. The only other person that can override these holds is the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, NV.

          What you want to say probably depends whether you're writing to support the CDRPA or complain about the hold system and this abuse of it. Personally, I'm having trouble focusing on an issue! They say to focus on one issue in any letter. Seasoned advocates say to keep it short, one issue per letter, don't forget he's a doctor if that is useful, I'd tell him you're a vet for sure. Tell him it's a bipartisan bill (which he already knows). That it is written to benefit all paralyzed Americans, 2 million of us, not just the 250,000 SCI's. That more are coming home from Iraq all the time. Etc, I'm sure you have much more that is much better! A lot of Coburn's objections are about the budget.

          Here's a link to info re the bill:

          http://www.christopherreeve.org/site...B167/CDRPA.htm

          That page hasn't been updated, so disregard it re bill status. CDRPA has passed in the House, been released from the Senate committee. Coburn releasing the hold will allow it to be voted on by the full Senate, which probably means passage (barring Bush veto, unlikely to happen).

          This link takes you to the bill's current status:

          http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:s.01183:

          32 Senatorial cosponsors! With this Democratic majority, I absolutely think it would pass, given the chance.
          Blog:
          Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?

          Comment


          • Christ, if it's unlikely Bush will veto, what's this guy Coburn's holdup. Thanks for clarifying that and the links, Betheny. Nice outline, too, thanks.
            get busy living or get busy dying

            Comment


            • Democratic lawmakers did their best to try to pass what seemed to be non-controversial bills -- including the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act and a bill addressing traumatic brain injuries in veterans.
              Am I the only one who chuckled at that phrasing?

              Quadvet, Coburn says he doesn't want Congress dictating to NIH, and he seems to think we've been given enough research funds.
              Last edited by leschinsky; 12-21-2007, 06:45 PM.
              Embrace uncertainty. Hard problems rarely have easy solutions. Jonah Lehrer

              Comment


              • National Call In Days (s)??????

                Hi all,

                First, let me say that your letters to the Senator have been terrific! A first class and intelligent blast.

                I have been thinking that we do two call in days. The first right after the New Year with calls to his home state office.

                Oklahoma City
                100 North Broadway
                Suite 1820
                Oklahoma City, OK 73102
                Main: 405-231-4941
                Fax: 405-231-5051

                We need to bring this issue to a local level for him and to his staff. I have found in the past that there is a whole different mind set at the local offices (local hires as opposed to college interns etc in DC) They tend to be more grounded. We call for the release of the hold and maybe we also call to request that the good Senator meet with some of his constituents from the paralyzed community to discuss the bill. (No pressure B)
                I am sure that if we all did some research we could come up with a group of people from Oklahoma. If he says no, or puts off a meeting,
                that would be very embarrassing for him with his staff and the local press.

                The second call in day happens when they return to DC, sometime in late February. Maybe this one we can tie in with the Presidential race as there maybe two leading candidates who we can tie down at that point. We can also coordinate this with a YouTube piece or pieces. Thoughts?

                Comment


                • Originally posted by cubsfandc
                  The Senate is finished with legislative business for the year, but that is not the end of the process for CDRPA. The list of dates Senator Reid read are for "pro forma" sessions in which the Senate convenes as a formality (to avoid "recess appointments") but does not conduct any actual legislative business. The Senate will return for legislative business on January 22nd. CDRPA will remain alive and on the legislative calendar when the Senate returns. Legislation does not die until the end of 2008 when a new Congress is elected. So we have all next year to get CDRPA through the Senate and to the President.
                  cubs,

                  Thanks for the advice and comfort.

                  Wise.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by bostondad
                    Hi all,

                    The second call in day happens when they return to DC, sometime in late February. Maybe this one we can tie in with the Presidential race as there maybe two leading candidates who we can tie down at that point. We can also coordinate this with a YouTube piece or pieces. Thoughts?
                    The Senate returns to session on January 22nd. There usually isn't much pressing legislative business at the beginning of the year before the President sends down his budget and committees report new bills, so that's the best time to push for legislation left over from the previous year.

                    There are two ways to bring a bill to the floor -- unanimous consent, or cloture. Unanimous consent means exactly what it says; all Senators consent to having the bill brought up for a vote. That is how Coburn can block it with a hold, which is basically an indication that he would object and asking his leadership to do so on his behalf if he is not on the Senate floor. The other process of getting cloture is a much more cumbersome and lengthy process which requires 60 votes to stop debate and proceed to consideration of the bill, and allows for up to 30 hours of debate after cloture is invoked. As Majority Leader Harry Reid can bring up bills and file for cloture, but because of the time involved he can only do that on so many bills.

                    Comment


                    • Best Day?

                      Cudsfandc,

                      Thank you for the continued insight to the process. Would you have a suggestion on a day/date that may be the best time to do this?

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by bostondad
                        Cudsfandc,

                        Thank you for the continued insight to the process. Would you have a suggestion on a day/date that may be the best time to do this?
                        I'd say some time in that last week of January starting with the 22nd would be best -- Senators are back, but things are not super busy yet.

                        Comment


                        • Face to Face on Call-In Day

                          Would group lobbying be of any use at this time? Maybe like we did in Nov 06?
                          I will happily take a day off and lead a group if it has any benifit.
                          Thoughts? PM me or post if you are interested.
                          Every day I wake up is a good one

                          Comment


                          • Funny that Senator Coburn saw fit to release his "hold" on the so-called "Veterans Disarmament Act" (HR 2640) the other day but disregards us... look it up, you decide - maybe I read it wrong.
                            get busy living or get busy dying

                            Comment


                            • Perhaps the contributions of the NRA to his campaign have something to do with it.

                              Quadvet, I read your letters regarding Coburn. Great job! Keep 'em coming!
                              "Our lives begin to end the day
                              we become silent about things that matter."
                              - Martin Luther King Jr

                              Comment


                              • Thanks, IMhopeful, You do pretty darn well, yourself. Thanks for ALL your work!
                                Last edited by quadvet; 01-05-2008, 05:23 PM.
                                get busy living or get busy dying

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