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More Spending Is An American Priority?

You have to be a bit leery of any bill calling itself the “Advancing America’s Priorities Act”  (S.3297), but doubly so when it carries this description by the Club for Growth:

“This bill is a hodgepodge of 35 different bills totaling more than $11 billion in new spending. At the very least, this bill deserves a deliberate debate and should be amendable. According to the latest news reports, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will allow neither.

“This bill contains such questionable programs like $17 million for the prevention of the interstate sale of monkeys, $1.5 billion for the largest earmark in the country that could force tax hikes in the DC metro area, and a greenhouse in Maryland. And yet, there will be no time to debate this bill or offer amendments to strike certain provisions of the bill or to offset its overall cost with cuts in spending elsewhere in the budget. Contrary to its name, this bill does not advance our country's priorities. Instead, it forces special interest goodies through the Senate without any meaningful consideration about its merits.”

The National Taxpayers Union wrote an open letter to the U.S. Senate last week, noting that the bill “raises serious questions about how the Senate will proceed in the future.” Like the Club for Growth, the NTU opposes S.3297, which has been dubbed the “Coburn Omnibus.”

Today’s Washington Post carried a front page story about the villain in this story, well at least to the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. According to the Post story:

“Using every parliamentary tactic at his disposal, Coburn has tied the Senate in so many knots that Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev) has decided on an extraordinary tactic: He will devote most of the Senate's time this week to breaking the one-man stranglehold.

“Rolling 35 bills into one omnibus package, Reid will try to leap all of Coburn's parliamentary hurdles at once and win approval for dozens of programs worth more than $10 billion.”

At least for today, the Senate came down on the side of taxpayers. In a story scheduled to be on page A3 tomorrow, the Washington Post reports:

“Senate Republicans yesterday blocked consideration of 35 bills that were rolled into one omnibus measure designed to overcome the objections of Sen. Tom Coburn (D-Okla), who has used parliamentary tactics to stymie dozens of pieces of legislation.

"Siding with Coburn, most Republicans voted against bringing up the omnibus bill, worth more than $10 billion, contending that it would take debate time away from energy legislation and efforts to bring down gasoline prices.

The vote (number 189, 110th Congress, 2nd session) to fillibuster (or, technically, to invoke cloture) was defeated 52-40 (60 votes were needed to begin debate on S.3297), according to THOMAS, the Congressional legislative information system. Virginia’s Sen. John Warner (R) was one of three Republicans who voted with 48 Democrats and one Independent to invoke cloture.

Take a few minutes to call and thank the Senators who helped Sen. Tom Coburn fillibuster S.3297. The phone number on Capitol Hill is (202) 224-3121.

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