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GOP senators can stop Obamacare — if they have the will

Posted by Richard on December 14, 2009

The current leadership of the Republican Party leaves a lot to be desired in terms of commitment to the party's alleged limited-government principles, ability to articulate those principles, and willingness to fight hard for those principles. As Obama applies the screws to wavering Democratic senators, and the terrifying specter of government-controlled health care looms closer, the failure of Republican senators to mount any effective opposition is simply unconscionable.

It's not like they're helpless to stop the Obamacare juggernaut. Erick Erickson makes it clear that they have a multitude of tools for stopping this thing dead (emphasis added): 

The Founding Fathers created a Republic, but 60 Senators are poised to take it away. With the pending disaster of the passage in the Senate of a bill nationalizing one sixth of the U.S. economy and our entire healthcare system at a cost of over $2.5 trillion, we are faced with a crucial question: are the Republican senators using every means at their disposal to stop this looming, tyrannical abuse of power? Unfortunately, the answer appears to be “no.”

The Senate, unlike the House of Representatives, has parliamentary rules and procedures that give the minority the ability to stall legislation. In fact, unlike the House, the minority have the ability to virtually paralyze the Senate. Doing so is not something we would want or expect for every bad bill that comes through Congress, but the proposed healthcare legislation is probably the worst piece of legislation ever considered by the United States Congress. It is the most intrusive, most damaging, most costly, most dangerous bill to the economic and personal freedom and liberty of individual Americans that Congress has ever considered. If there is any bill that deserves being stopped by shutting down the Senate, it is this one.

There are a whole series of parliamentary maneuvers that could be used by Republican senators to stop this bill. There is a hard backstop to the current process (Christmas). The Republicans’ goal should be to prevent Reid from passing the bill before that time. If he goes past Christmas and is forced to adjourn or recess, the momentum will shift in favor of those opposing the bill.

How could this be done?

To start with, they should stop constantly agreeing to “unanimous consent” requests from the Democrats. Senate Republicans, to date, have allowed Democrats, by unanimous consent, to process 10 amendments. The amendments that have been accepted – Democrat amendments – did not make the over 2000-page atrocity any better. The Republican strategy of trying to pass their own “message” amendments carries no message unless you consider “no strategy to kill the bill” a message. There are no amendments that could possibly make this bill a palatable piece of legislation – and any amendments the Republicans get passed that supposedly make the bill “better” may just make it easier for the Democrats to get final passage. If the Republicans want the news media to cover what they are doing to educate the American people even further about the atrociousness of this bill, they have to create drama on the floor of the Senate. And the only way to do that is through an all-out fight with no holds barred. They need to look like Braveheart, fighting to the end to save freedom. Because, in fact, it is our very freedom and liberty that is at stake.

Erickson has nearly a dozen examples of ways to delay, derail, and obstruct this abomination of a bill — if only the Republicans have the will to fight. Read the whole thing. If you have a Republican senator, send him or her a copy (or at least a link)!

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