Coburn plans to read the bill …
posted at 9:50 am on November 7, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn is an old-school conservative, and an old-school Senator. How traditional can Dr. Coburn get? Politico reports that Coburn wants to read Harry Reid’s ObamaCare bill before he casts a vote on it — and to make sure he has the time to do it, Coburn plans to force the bill to be read in its entirety on the Senate floor:
Sen. Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who developed a close friendship with President Obama when they served together in the Senate, is threatening to have the entire health care bill read on the Senate floor.
Senior Senate Democratic aides had heard Coburn was considering having potentially thousands of pages read aloud in effort to stall passage. “If he did this it would be even outrageous for a guy who’s become known as Dr. No around here,” one of them told POLITICO.
Coburn’s office confirmed that he is indeed thinking about having the bill read.
This could create even more problems for Harry Reid in getting the bill out the door. Unlike in the House, Reid hasn’t been able to do a jam-down on his version of ObamaCare. While a few Democrats still hold out hope for action on the bill by Christmas, some are now setting a target of the State of the Union address at the end of January as more realistic.
If Coburn and other Republicans force floor readings of the bill, that may drift into March or April. If Coburn insists on a floor reading every time the bill gets amended, it may be summertime before they can get around to it. The Senate has other business to conduct, which would interrupt floor readings that would take at least several straight days of floor time to complete for a bill that will run into the thousands of pages. And all it takes is one Senator to withhold the unanimous consent necessary to dispense with floor readings.
In effect, it would allow Coburn to have the bill filibuster itself.
Publicity stunt? Sure. But Coburn’s action would give people plenty of time to find the ridiculous aspects of a bill that would quasi-nationalize 1/6th of the American economy — its reach, its taxes, its mandates, and its intrusion onto the personal choices and freedoms of Americans. The more people have seen these bills, the less they have liked them. That’s why Pelosi’s trying to jam down her bill this weekend, and why Reid can’t afford to let anyone read his bill, let alone the Senate clerk doing it aloud.