Bob Geiger at Yellow Dog Democrat explains why Senate Dems feel shut out:
Let’s go to the numbers because, just looking at the first 10 months of 2005 reveals a Republican-dominated Senate that, far from practicing what they preach and extending a hand of cooperation across the aisle, have gone out of their way to scuttle almost every amendment and bill sponsored by Democratic senators.
The numbers don’t lie and here’s how it stacks up after reviewing all 281 roll call votes taken in the Senate through the end of October.
Of 118 pieces of Democratic-sponsored legislation, a whopping 80 percent were rejected by Senate Republicans, many of them on straight party-line votes. Of those bills, 24 were “agreed to” and 94 were “rejected.”
Omitted from this analysis for the sake of simplicity are votes to table â€“ effectively trash â€“ Democratic legislation without a vote. But, even when those instances are examined, eight of twelve motions to table a bill sponsored by a Democrat succeeded, in predominantly party-line actions.
But it’s even worse than it looks for those paragons of civility and bipartisan cooperation in the GOP.
Of the 24 Democratic amendments that the Republican leadership allowed to slip through, nine were benign acts that passed by a unanimous vote or, in one case, 94-6. For example, in July, a bill sponsored by Tom Harkin (D-IA) “…recognizing and honoring the 15th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990” passed 87-0. A vote of 100-0 passed an amendment by Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to give a tax credit to employers continuing to pay the salaries of Guard and Reserve employees serving in Iraq. Sponsored by Dick Durbin (D-IL), an almost-clerical bill mandating a change to the numerical identifier used to identify Medicare beneficiaries under the Medicare program passed muster with everyone 98-0.
Via Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice—Charles Babington of the Washington Post explains why Harry Reid didn’t give Bill “here, kitty!” Frist advance warning of Monday’s parliamentary move to close the Senate.
Reid’s aides said yesterday that their boss decided on the dramatic, attention-grabbing ploy because he was weary of GOP foot-dragging on a promised inquiry by the Senate intelligence committee into the Bush administration’s handling of prewar intelligence on Iraq. “We’d had enough press conferences and requests, public and private,” Reid spokesman Jim Manley said. “Now it was time to act.”
But Reid did not have to start from scratch. His predecessor, former Democratic leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.), had considered going into closed session to discuss intelligence use and to spur the inquiry launched in early 2004. But he wanted the cooperation of Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).
“For the past couple of years, Senator Frist and I had agreed to hold an executive session,” Daschle said yesterday. But Frist “kept putting it off.” Daschle said several Democratic senators “threatened to do it over his opposition during that time, but it never got to that point.”
You’ll remember that Frist pitched a five-alarm temper tantrum in reaction to Reid’s maneuver. Clearly, he never learned that if you don’t play nicely with others, sooner or later somebody’s going to stop taking crap from you.