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asks for a bill to be read, the reading goes on until he asks that it stop or, by unanimous consent, the bill is withdrawn.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.