Video: Sanders breaks Senate rule by ending reading of his giant amendment

posted at 7:15 pm on December 16, 2009 by Allahpundit

Philip Klein is all over it. Plain and simple: Once a senator asks for a bill to be read, the reading goes on until he asks that it stop or, by unanimous consent, the bill is withdrawn. The whole point of Coburn’s delaying tactic was to buy an extra day so that opposition to the bill could further harden. Instead, as you’ll see below, Sanders somehow got away with interrupting his tantrum to unilaterally withdraw his amendment after just three hours of reading. Turns out there’s precedent for that — but the precedent was itself a mistake. That’s the point of the second clip, with Mitch McConnell in the role of prosecutor.

Karl e-mailed me earlier speculating that one of the reasons Coburn, DeMint, et al. have suddenly shifted to out-and-out obstruction is because they’re worried that Reid may force a cloture vote imminently. Makes sense in the abstract, but … where’s the bill? Does a bill even exist right now? I thought we were waiting for a CBO score on the now-dead Medicare buy-in. Assuming that’s been canceled due to Lieberman, does that mean we’re back to voting on the original Baucus bill? And I thought Pelosi already told Politico that she wants a conference with the Senate and thus there won’t be a vote on the final bill this year, in which case why is Reid still rushing?

Maybe we’ve actually reached the point where not only aren’t they reading the bill before voting on it, they’re not even writing it before voting on it.


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Do you think we may be facing a new kind of tyranny? A tyranny of the poor, and I forget who said that, as we reach %50 of the population that doesn’t contribute? Won’t that lock taxpayers into a taxation without representation scenario?

DFCtomm on December 16, 2009 at 10:54 PM

I do. But I wouldn’t limit it to “the poor.”

It is a tyranny of entitlements regardless of contribution levels of taxpayers.

It is a grave mistake to consider paying taxes as some sort of investment program that will yield a return at some point.

Otis B on December 17, 2009 at 7:31 AM

Can you imagine what a spectacle it would have been to have Sen. Joe McCarthy questioning Bernie Sanders? In a little more than 50 years this is what has become acceptable in the tyranny passing for the United States. It’s recently come to light that McCarthy was right far more than he was wrong in going after commies in the homeland. History will bear out he did the right thing, as well as Bush doing what he had to do to protect the homeland. As long as the commies don’t get to write that history, and seeing as Maobama is starting to go up in Marxist flames lately, maybe actual factual history will be written…

adamsmith on December 17, 2009 at 8:11 AM

Rules are for fools. If the amendment was important enough to take over 700 pages to write, then it was important that it be read or heard before voting on it. It seems that if it was 700+ pages, then it must have been a really good idea. What else was it it that they didn’t want coming out.

Kissmygrits on December 17, 2009 at 8:49 AM

Man! Sanders looks and sounds quite mad here.

…He seems a bit angry as well.

BlueCollarAstronaut on December 17, 2009 at 9:52 AM

Thank you Sen. McConnell. Reminding the Parliamentarian of the rules and that following them is required to maintain order and discipline.

If Demoncrates do not allow U.S. time to read, and comprehend 2,000 + pages of legislation drawn up by them at our expense then they are violating our rights as a Representative Republic. Many have forgotten that, and led U.S. to believe we are a Democracy (majority rules).

That has been the case in our government for every year that Demoncrates have been in power, they push laws and taxes through under that precept, creating a larger burden on U.S. that King George.

Let U.S. represent ourselves and tell those of the Demoncratic persuasion that they do not rule because they have the Majority in the government. They are required to represent the majority of the entire population.

The Majority of U.S. want to hear, if we can not actually read, the contents of a law that will have an enormous impact to our already overtaxed ability to create and enjoy our own welfare.

MSGTAS on December 17, 2009 at 10:08 AM

I disagree with Sen. McConnell. I think it’s rather unfortunate that canings on the Senate floor are the exception rather than the rule….

quikstrike98 on December 17, 2009 at 10:39 AM

Only in the world of the Democrats is reading a bill before voting on it considered obstruction.

Scrappy on December 17, 2009 at 11:25 AM

If Democrats think it is OK to vote on bills which haven’t even been written, then what happens to the principle that “Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse”???

If it is impossible to know what the law is, then our civilization will have regressed to the times before the Twelve Tables of Rome, where people were governed by the whim of dictators called “Tribunes”.

If this comes to pass, there will be no basis for a legal system in the US.

landlines on December 17, 2009 at 11:37 AM

What is the point of Roberts Rules of Order if the very body that is sworn to uphold it and follow it doesn’t? Now the majority Party can do whatever the heck it wants regardless of law and order? Makes those GOP guys fretting about the Nuclear Option during SCOTUS confirmations look pretty dang stupid right now.

We officially have a Banana Republic verging on a wanna-be Third World economy.

Sultry Beauty on December 17, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Maybe we’ve actually reached the point where not only aren’t they reading the bill before voting on it, they’re not even writing it before voting on it.

I’d really like to laugh at that. I really would.

tom on December 17, 2009 at 1:35 PM

The President pro tempore or the Vice President is obligated to maintain Rule of Order, and this action was out of order.
There is established procedure for retracting an amendment, and it has not been followed.
These people are criminals. We are so lucky to have such a great Congress.

Cybergeezer on December 17, 2009 at 2:40 PM

one of the reasons Coburn, DeMint, et al. have suddenly shifted to out-and-out obstruction is because they’re worried that Reid may force a cloture vote imminently. Makes sense in the abstract, but … where’s the bill?

Maybe we’ve actually reached the point where not only aren’t they reading the bill before voting on it, they’re not even writing it before voting on it.

A logical progression of events led by President Spockbama.

Not so different than ignoring the Constitutional prerequisite of any POTUS being a “natural born” American citizen, both parents being US citizens, with no other citizenship alliances and no varying previous alias name.

The House Speaker illegally censored communications from Representatives to their Constituents.

Not such a far cry from breaching the Constitution that separates powers of the three government branches by this Congress legislating finance powers to the POTUS prohibited by the Constitution, illegitimately granting the POTUS power to dictate expenditure of tax funds independent of Congress, independent of the People’s Will. In effect, Congress declared their own mutiny from the US Constitution, issuing their radical Declaration of Independence from rule of law for Obama to sign his own powers of dictatorship.

Mr. Malleable wants open ended powers to ignore laws while levying tons of laws on us. He won’t even stop at the point to revise laws free of the legislative procedure. The Democrats have been leading this charge into tyranny. Not such a leap from where Progressive Marxism “is or should be” — Obama’s latest speech.

maverick muse on December 17, 2009 at 5:30 PM

What is the point of Roberts Rules of Order if the very body that is sworn to uphold it and follow it doesn’t?

Congressional sabotage, Christmas 2009.

The point? The illegitimate and unconstitutional “legislation” is illegal.

Having already laid traps and holding public office, the Democrats are baiting the American public to revolt.

Join the conservative Tea Party, defeat the Democrat majority, and rescind unconstitutional legislation.

Abolish PC
Cut Taxes

maverick muse on December 17, 2009 at 5:44 PM

Rules! We don’t need no stinkin’ rules!
/Dims

Open The Door on December 17, 2009 at 10:02 PM

What recourse do the Senators have if these rules are broken? How can this be corrected? Do the Senators have any method of holding the presiding Senator (or the President pro tempore, or the Vice President) accountable if he/she doesn’t adhere to the Parlaimentarian rules?

If this is allowed to stand, then the Democrat majority have, in essence, declared a “dictatorship” of the Senate.

McCain was right when he said, “I don’t know what is happening here in this body, but it’s wrong.” Maybe that is why he is still in the Senate, to witness this debacle.

DINORight on December 17, 2009 at 10:27 PM

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