When Intel Dan was in eighth grade, he was scheduled as the final student in his English class to give a presentation one day. Except that Intel Dan forgot that he was supposed to give a presentation that day, and he wasn’t quite prepared. So he, along with a few accomplices, tried to run out the clock before his turn came up by asking an absurdly unnecessary number of questions of the presenters who preceded him. They’d even ask the questions in a noticeably slower cadence, so as to waste even more time. Though the stall tactic actually worked (score!), Intel Dan acknowledges that this was a childish and immature way to behave. It’s also pretty much what the Senate GOP is doing to postpone a vote on health-care reform.
It’s being reported that New Hampshire’s Judd Gregg has distributed a letter among his GOP Senate colleagues detailing how they can fully utilize the hallowed chamber’s many arcane procedural rules to stall debate on health-care reform. That’s right — the Republicans want to make sure this process lasts even longer, which we hadn’t thought was possible. Keep in mind that most of these tactics have nothing to do with questioning or altering the actual substance of the bill. Take this, for example:
“A Senator may make a point of order at any point he or she believes that a Senate procedure is being violated, with or without cause,” he writes. “After the presiding officer rules, any Senator who disagrees with such ruling may appeal the ruling of the chair — that appeal is fully debatable. Some points of order, such as those raised on Constitutional grounds, are not ruled on by the presiding officer and the question is put to the Senate, then the point of order itself is fully debatable. The Senate may dispose of a point of order or an appeal by tabling it; however, delay is created by the two roll call votes in connection with each tabling motion (motion to table and motion to reconsider that vote).”
In other words: Object to a rule being violated even if you know that to not be the case, because it will force the Senate to spend time dispensing with your bullshit objection. Your tax dollars at work.