Once upon a time in the U.S. Senate, senators could debate and amend any bill on the floor if memory serves. Also if memory serves (if I was given the right information), it was the Republicans who changed that. If anyone has some verifiable history (cite readily available sources) to share that contradicts this, I would appreciate knowing. Of course, the Party in power has always used parliamentary maneuvering. The Democrats were doing that before the Newt Gingrich era began.
June 17, 2008 – 8:04 p.m.
By Kathleen Hunter, CQ Staff
Senate Democrats are setting up a showdown with a thorn in their side: Oklahoma conservative Tom Coburn.
Majority Leader Harry Reid and other top Democrats have decided to bundle an undetermined number of bills that have at least one thing in common: Coburn has blocked them by exercising a hold.
Packaging the mostly unrelated measures would give Democrats a chance to illustrate one of their election themes: The majority must resort to extreme measures to move bills that would be passed easily if Republican obstructionists would allow votes.
"Bills that are non-controversial, that move the country forward, albeit in a small way, are being blocked, and we're going to have to do something about that," said Charles E. Schumer of New York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
The Democratic strategy, likely to play out during July, will test party loyalties. Republicans will have to decide whether to advance bills they support or stand behind Coburn as he demands the ability to debate and amend bills on the floor.