Yesterday, Politico’s Chris Frates obtained a copy of a memo authored by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) outlining exactly how Senate Republicans can kill health reform using various parliamentary tactics. Some of the tactics include: demanding a new legislative day, forcing “hard” quorum calls, and compelling GOP Senators to offer an “unlimited number of amendments — germane or non-germane — on any subject” to the health bill. Gregg’s colleagues attempted a similar obstruction strategy to kill health reform in committee, offering dozens of frivolous amendments to bog down the debate.
But in 2006, Gregg sang a very different tune about appropriate Senate procedure. At the time, Gregg wanted to form an Entitlement Commission to recommend cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Facing opposition, Gregg blasted Democrats for what he perceived as “obstruction for the purpose of obtaining power”:
Obstruction has become the only thing which the other side of the aisle appears to be able to do, obstruction for the purpose of obstruction for the purpose of obtaining power around here.
Given Gregg’s previous comments deploring Senate obstruction, his current obstruction memo reveals how disingenuous he is willing to be in order to stop health reform. Rather than argue the merits of the legislation, Gregg is resorting to parliamentary gimmicks to kill the bill. As ThinkProgress has documented, obstruction has been the prime strategy for Republicans hoping to stop reform.