I spoke with the Senator a bit ago on my program. Note: the vote taken today is different from cloture on Saturday (now scheduled for Friday), which would ultimately give Reid the 51, not 60, he needs to fund Obamacare. There’s a bit of conflation there.
*An excerpt of Blunt’s earlier statement, their bold emphasis, my italics:
|“In the House and Senate, I’ve repeatedly voted to defund, repeal, and delay President Obama’s health care law. I believe there is growing evidence that it will not work.“This week, I’ll continue that fight by supporting the House-passed continuing resolution, which defunds ObamaCare and keeps the government open without increasing federal spending. I will vote to begin debate on this bill and move to final passage on the House-passed CR. I will also vote against any attempts by the Majority Leader to restore funding for ObamaCare.“My colleagues on the other side of the aisle face an important decision this week: They can stand with the overwhelming majority of Americans who have rejected ObamaCare, or they can stand with Leader Reid and President Obama. I hope Senate Democrats will work with Republicans to defund this flawed law and replace it with common-sense health care solutions.” While serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Blunt voted against the passage of ObamaCare and led Republican efforts to develop common-sense alternatives. Since being elected to the U.S. Senate, Blunt has taken at least 29 votes to defund, repeal, and delay the president’s health care overhaul – including votes on the floor and in the Appropriations Committee.|
Again, the vote to proceed debate isn’t the vote to end it. Saturday’s vote is different, the vote that would give Reid 51 rather than 60 votes needed to fund, thus, why I Tweeted that Blunt is siding with Democrats and a few Republicans.
Once the Senate commences consideration of the House passed CR, then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will abuse his power as Majority Leader and block all amendments to the bill with the exception of his amendments. His amendment will be to strike the provision that defunds ObamaCare meaning that Reid will offer an Amendment to restore funding for ObamaCare.
Reid will be filling the amendment tree, a hyper technical parliamentary tactic that allows the leader to block all amendments to legislation. The Senate is known as a body with extended debate and unlimited amendments. Reid will both block all amendments then he will file a cloture petition to shut down debate immediately upon offering the amendment.
What will Republican Leaders to in the Senate to fight this abuse of power? Nothing.
After this happens, because of the complicated procedure, Reid will need 6 Republicans to vote to shut down debate on the bill to get a vote on the Reid amendment. Now some Republicans will try to fool Tea Party minded voters and they will argue that the vote to shut down debate is a vote to support a final vote on defunding ObamaCare.
They will be lying.
If 6 Republican Senators squish and vote for cloture on the bill, then a vote will happen on Reid’s motion to strike later in the process.
We all know it takes 60 votes to do anything in the Senate. Remember the Manchin-Toomey gun control amendment to the Reid gun control bill? The reason the bill failed is because liberals could not cobble together 60 votes to get Manchin-Toomey across the finish line. Every amendment and bill need 60 votes to pass, yet Reid has figured out a way to set up a vote that only needs 51 votes.
If Senators vote for cloture on this funding bill, they are voting with all the Democrats to fund ObamaCare.
*UPDATED: Dan Holler with Heritage lays out what a yes on cloture means:
It gives Reid power of the floor, a simple majority, and the ability to strip out the defund provision and amend how he sees fit while blocking other amendments. Do not allow those who will not fight lie to you out of fighting for yourself.