Senator Laments 60-Vote Threshold On Immigration Amendments, Forgets His Party Requires It On Everything Else

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) went on a hypocritical tirade on the Senate floor on Wednesday over Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) requirement that all amendments to the immigration reform bill garner 60 votes in order to pass.

Though usually Grassley is happy enough to be among the Senators that prevents a bill’s passage because it has only a simple majority on the Senate floor, he expressed his displeasure with Reid’s rule by calling it “obstructing” the bill. “The bill is rigged to pass,” he added:

GRASSLEY: It’s amazing to me that the majority has touted this immigration bill process as one that’s open and regular order, but right out of the box, right now, just on the third day, they want to subject our amendments to a filibuster, like a 60 vote threshold. So I have to ask: who’s obstructing now? There’s no reason, particularly in this first week, at the beginning of process, to be blocking our amendments with a 60-vote margin that’s required when you suppose a filibuster. Let’s start out with regular order. Otherwise it looks like the fix is in and the bill is rigged to pass basically as it is. […]This is a very provocative act.

REID: Provocative act? If my friend is so interested in regular order, why have we waited three months to go to conference on a budget, on a budget? That’s regular order. Now suddenly when it works to their advantage, I guess, they want to do away with the McConnell rule. What is the McConnell rule? 60 votes on everything.

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Reid is right that Grassley and his party are the ones actually responsible for historic obstruction. Just recently, Grassley was one of the lead actors filibustering the confirmation of Caitlin Halligan’s appointment to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He was also among those senators mulling a filibuster on the Violence Against Women Act. But when it comes to immigration, his opposition to the bill wins out over his track record against majority rule: Grassley is one of the most vocal opponents of immigration reform.