Reid retreats on amendments for UI bill

posted at 4:01 pm on January 11, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Well, that didn’t take long.  After getting a few Republicans to agree to open debate on a bill to extend unemployment insurance, Harry Reid stabbed them in the back by blocking any GOP amendments to the bill through a favorite Reid technique called “filling the amendment tree.” Reid then attempted to blame Republicans for the stall on Thursday, smirking that they’d have to tell those cut off that they aren’t getting benefits because the GOP didn’t get “unlimited amendments.”

Suddenly, though, Reid hit retreat yesterday:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says he is now open to considering Republican amendments to a bill extending emergency unemployment benefits through most of 2014. …

But on Friday, a spokesman for Reid said Democrats would allow some limited number of germane amendments to the bill when it comes up next week.

“Senator Reid has continued speaking with his Republican colleagues since yesterday afternoon and informed them that he is absolutely willing for the Senate to consider a reasonable number of relevant amendments from Republicans,” spokesman Adam Jentleson said.

Six Republicans joined Democrats in a procedural vote to advance the unemployment bill earlier this week. But Reid’s objection to any amendments seemed to threaten their support for advancing the bill any further.

To Reid, that was probably a feature rather than a bug. Democrats want this to be an open issue during the 2014 midterm campaign, while most Republicans would probably vote for another extension if it is offset with spending cuts in other areas. The GOP wants to focus attention on the incompetence and failure surrounding ObamaCare, while Democrats want to talk about anything else but the disaster unfolding at HHS. Forcing Republicans to walk away is probably what Reid had in mind all along.

So what changed? Glenn Reynolds thinks it might be Democrats who are balking at making the chronically jobless hostages to a political strategy: “He must be facing some defections.” It might be that the media is making Reid’s dishonesty on tactics a little too easy to understand, too, or that some Democrats (and Republicans) really want to put their constituents ahead of 2014 midterm games — even with debate over the impact of the policy being a legitimate point of disagreement.

Either way, Reid’s forced retreat means that Republicans will at least get votes on their amendments. If those are somehow irrelevant or unreasonable, then the Democratic majority should be able to easily defeat them. If they are relevant and reasonable and some pass, though, it will show that Reid is the unreasonable factor in the US Senate. Too bad he’s not yet irrelevant.

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One of the proposed amendments is a restoration of vets pension benefits. Reid is backing away because he doesn’t want to appear to be anti-vet, even though he is.

chewmeister on January 11, 2014 at 4:06 PM

So the rules are: he can fill the “amendment tree” but then unfill it on a whim. What rules? There are no rules.

Fenris on January 11, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Don’t trust Reid. He is the proverbial scorpion.

jukin3 on January 11, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Reid… I loathe that guy — his shameless political games & hypocrisy are only outdone by Dear Leader himself. Why does Nevada keep renewing him?

KS Rex on January 11, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Virtually any Republican amendment to any Senate bill forces an embarrassing vote for an endangered Democrat Senator during this election year. Reid is maintaing his hold on the Senate by shielding these Senators from having to take any vote that could be used against them during the election; by tabling House and Senate Republican bills; by denying Republicans any amendments to his bills; and, of course, by running interference for Obama, who must never, ever, be forced to cross his red line and veto something he’s threatened to veto, or else do the Syrian sidestep.

de rigueur on January 11, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Make the amendments tied to real job creation a way of getting people o0ff of unemployment and back into the work force. The Keystone Pipeline would be a good start. Reigning in the EPA and letting more energy development take place on America’s land would be good for the economy and country.

DAT60A3 on January 11, 2014 at 4:28 PM

If they [Republican amendments] are relevant and reasonable and some pass, though, it will show that Reid is the unreasonable factor in the US Senate.

I’m pretty sure that’s already been shown, at least a couple (hundred?) times, by now …

ShainS on January 11, 2014 at 4:36 PM

I wonder if the GOP Senate polling numbers are starting to persuade some Democrats that relentless partisanship is soon going to be a bad thing, after having been the Democrat SOP for so long.

MTF on January 11, 2014 at 4:41 PM

de rigueur on January 11, 2014 at 4:15 PM

You’re right, of course, but the lack of GOP press conferences trumpeting each amendment proposed yet blocked speaks very loudly. The message is that the GOPe really doesn’t care if it wins as long as the game goes on.

Reminds me of the futures markets.

platypus on January 11, 2014 at 4:42 PM

What rules? There are no rules.

Fenris on January 11, 2014 at 4:07 PM

It’s deja vu all over again… Lucy and the footballThis time for sure. <— Whoa, even I didn't see that coming.

Fallon on January 11, 2014 at 4:48 PM

“Republican Obstructionism” is really all Democrats have for 2014. Do not be fooled with all of the other “war on wimminz” distractions, only fringe kooks who actively hate the GOP already really buy into them (most of the MSM, I know, but after the last two elections their credibility is lower than Obama’s).

Cristie’s recent troubles mainly have legs because of indignation from the Right, not the Left. The Left Do Not police their own ranks because of character issues. I still believe Rush when he says the only way for the NJ governor to get to the WH is on the Democratic ticket. The only principle Cristie has that most democrats abhor is a belief in math.

All that aside, a majority of voters also believe in math and also believe their own lying eyes when democrats try to tell them that Republicans are just “Obstructing” when it is clear they are being reasonable.

Reid cannot afford to lose the only trump card he has that can actually be (unfairly, but effectively) used. The edges may be tattered after the shutdown and Obamacare roll-out, but he still wants to be able to use it.

Honestly, what else do they have to convince skeptical voters in 2014?

Mord on January 11, 2014 at 4:51 PM

platypus on January 11, 2014 at 4:42 PM

The lack of any real GOP messaging about anything, period, speaks volumes.

de rigueur on January 11, 2014 at 5:03 PM

I don’t get the shock about

it might be Democrats who are balking at making the chronically jobless hostages to a political strategy

Isn’t holding the entire country hostage to radical political strategy regular business for the Democrats. When was the last time this was not the case?

bartbeast on January 11, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Essentially permanent UI is really just welfare with no work requirements. Of course the GOP supports it.

Clark1 on January 11, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Reid owes his seat to labor unions. Naturally, their wishes are his first priority. This time he pushed it too far, but he’ll be back at it first chance he gets.

flataffect on January 11, 2014 at 5:11 PM

What Reid has undone can not be easily re done and put back in the box. Every time he changes or ignores a Senate rule, that will come back and bite the Dems 100 times over when Republicans are in power. I suspect he is being reminded of that right now.

Karma, she is a Bitch.

Johnnyreb on January 11, 2014 at 5:23 PM

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canopfor on January 11, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Peeing on Harrys’ grave is on my bucket list.

tim c on January 11, 2014 at 5:31 PM

I don’t have high hopes for the GOP if they get control of the Senate, but I hope they gain if for no other reason than to send that POS Reid back to the minority.

Bitter Clinger on January 11, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Reid… I loathe that guy — his shameless political games & hypocrisy are only outdone by Dear Leader himself. Why does Nevada keep renewing him?

KS Rex on January 11, 2014 at 4:15 PM

But since his fellow Democrat senators voted for him, Reid is the benchmark for his party. Dishonesty, unashamed lying, and politics ahead of country, ought to embarrass the Democrats but it doesn’t.

Now if only the stupid party could capitalize on this.

Special Forces Grunt on January 11, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Reid has been reminded by his Dem colleagues that what goes around comes around and he appears to be listening.

They too are getting tired of him constantly changing Senate rules and procedures because one day soon they will be the Minority Party and the shoe will be on the other foot then.

Karma.

Johnnyreb on January 11, 2014 at 5:43 PM

…Harry Reid…needs to pass away !

KOOLAID2 on January 11, 2014 at 5:48 PM

So the rules are: he can fill the “amendment tree” but then unfill it on a whim. What rules? There are no rules.

Fenris on January 11, 2014 at 4:07 PM

We need a botanist here. Harry’s tree is obviously black walnut (nasty husk that stains everything it touches).

teejk on January 11, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Too bad (Reid’s) not yet irrelevant.

Unfettered amnesty by the GOPe will ensure Dingy Harry’s relevancy for decades to come.

Myron Falwell on January 11, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Too bad he’s not yet irrelevant broken down into a molecular stew of complex carbon based organic compounds.

FIFY.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 11, 2014 at 6:28 PM

Harry Reid stabbed them in the back by blocking any GOP amendments to the bill through a favorite Reid technique called “filling the amendment tree.”

After all these years of being kicked in the nutz by Harry, I hope and pray (and I know it’s a long shot) that when the tables turn and the Republicans have the Senate that we have a majority leader with the stones, brains, and nastiness to completely crush every single Demorat piece of legislation and amendment for decades.

Never again take the “high road” with these soulless pricks, they are a-moral vermin and must be beaten down and kept down.

Tim Zank on January 11, 2014 at 6:35 PM

Why would anyone believe a thing this man says?

Whoever does should be tarred and feathered and run out of polite society.

kim roy on January 11, 2014 at 7:43 PM

It might be that the media is making Reid’s dishonesty on tactics a little too easy to understand, too, or that some Democrats (and Republicans) really want to put their constituents ahead of 2014 midterm games

It would be nice to think so.

AesopFan on January 11, 2014 at 10:00 PM

I wish Reid and all democrats Karma.

HiJack on January 12, 2014 at 3:28 AM

Peeing on Harrys’ grave is on my bucket list.

tim c on January 11, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Wonderful idea.

Kevin71 on January 12, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Remember, the secrets out now. Everything the left does is for political reasons. Right now they are aiming for this Nov. Reid is trying to keep as many of his storm troopers in the fold while still moving the socialist agenda forward. I’m waiting for the vets to form their on version of a tea party. They’ve now found out the truth about their cinc. Their buddies lost lives and they lost limbs just to further a political agenda, only to have their benefits cut.

Kissmygrits on January 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM