It’s been a week since Democrats broke a GOP financial reform filibuster, allowing debate on the legislation on the Senate floor. But debate means amendments, and amendments mean votes, and there have been precisely zero of those since the logjam broke. Why not? Apparently, it’s because Repulbicans are unwilling to bring up their own amendments for the time being.
“This is really something,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, visibly angry on the floor yesterday. “[The GOP] will not let us vote on amendments [they] offered, amendments that we’ve agreed to—they won’t let us vote on them.”
Republicans are holding out until their top negotiator—Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)—gets a vote on his first amendment, changing the way the bill winds down large, failed financial firms. Reid sees no reason for this, calling it a “phantom amendment.” And, indeed, the procedural objection fits the GOP pattern of trying to run the clock as long as possible on every issue, to eat up floor time needed to consider other issues, including climate change, and the forthcoming Supreme Court nominee.
Perhaps because of that, Reid is already warning members: be prepared to cancel your vacation plans.
“[W]e started on this two weeks ago tomorrow — two weeks ago,” Reid said on the floor this morning. “And we have been stalled ever since. Now maybe today there will be a breakthrough, and we’ll be able to legislate. We don’t have a lot of time to spend on this bill.”
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.