Friday, January 28, 2011

Senate Tea Party Caucus: "We Hate Transparency and Efficiency"

The Senate used to have a process where one senator could place an anonymous secret "hold" on any nomination or bill to prevent it from coming to a vote.  It represented all that was wrong with the Senate.  It was undemocratic, anti-transparent, and cowardly.  The Senate voted to end secret holds by a 92-4 vote.  Who were the four opposed?  The Senate Tea Party Caucus, of course, with Utah's own baby-faced tea-party senator, Mike Lee, included.

Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Jim DeMint (all founding members of the TPC), and John Ensign voted against ending secret holds.  They voted against democratic procedures, against transparency in our legislative process, and for cowardliness.

When asked why he voted against the rule change, his anemic answer was, "It may be one of those things where sometimes, you throw up an idea and see if it gains traction.  You know, I respect that strategy, even if I don’t agree with the objective."  Which is no answer at all, he just didn't want to change Senate rules and maybe has some other unstated ulterior motives.

The Senate also voted against ending the filibuster, which is a shame.  It voted to end the delay tactic of having an amendment to a bill read in its entirety and to streamline some of the hundreds of stalled Obama administration nominees.  It was a good start to making the Senate work again, but ending the filibuster should have been priority one.  In the end, I'm not really sure the TPC is up to here, and I'll be interested to see where this leads.

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