If there’s any lingering doubt that Republicans are, as Bobby Jindal noted, the “stupid party,” Mike Lee, the junior Senator from Utah just got up to take a pratfall. The Senate is known as “the greatest deliberative body in the world,” but these days they have to deal with the antics of folks like Mike. He’s dusted off some arcane and complicated procedural maneuver, which allows a simple majority vote on amendments offered after the Senate has previously voted on cloture during a session. And with that — 90% of American’s eyes glaze over and we start wondering which episode of The Simpsons is on at the moment.
According to Senator Lee’s press release: “… thanks to the sequencing of the votes we just locked in, Republicans will have the opportunity resurrect (sic) that Obamacare amendment later on in the process.” And by “later on,” he means after the “repeal Obamacare” amendment has already been blocked once. And by “amend,” he means tacking on healthcare reform language to Mitch McConnell’s three-year highway funding bill.
Let’s just stop for a moment and think about this logically — because Mike isn’t. Mike thinks this is “an opportunity to make good on our promise to repeal Obamacare,” instead of sticking a three-year funding bandaid on America’s crumbling infrastructure. I don’t like Majority Leader O’Connell — at all — but at least he’s trying to do something. In order for this nuclear option to work, Lee needs to re-offer the Obamacare repeal as a special amendment. But wait — there’s more.
In Senator Lee’s own words, he’s “allowed to offer germane amendments to the highway bill, each of which would only require a simple-majority to pass.” Senator Lee and I have different definitions for the word “germane.” But have no fear, staunch conservatives, Mike’s got a plan. If the chair decides that healthcare has nothing whatsoever to do with transportation funding (which it doesn’t), “Senate Rule 22 allows any senator to appeal that ruling to the full Senate. At that point, a simple-majority of Senators would have the power to add the Obamacare repeal amendment to the highway bill.”
This means the president would then have to veto a bill which includes a poison pill which kills his signature piece of legislation — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Naturally, he would. At which point, your idiot brother-in-law and every other knuckle-dragging conservative in the country will start braying about how it’s Obama’s fault that the roads aren’t getting fixed.
“I look forward to voting to repeal Obamacare with all 54 of my Republican colleagues.” Of course you do, Mike — because nothing says st-st-stupid more than trying to untangle the pretzel logic of the stunts you pull in the Senate. No wonder nobody wants to “be like Mike” anymore. Hell, I just got through writing this in what I consider plain English, and even I’m confused. How do you think you can explain this to folks in Utah who actually have to work for a living is beyond me. It’s nothing more than another monumental waste of time and taxpayer dollars, Senator. I’ll do what I can to keep explaining that to your constituency, Mike.