Republicans opposed to health care reform have long said that their “objective is to slow this down” in order to “defeat” reform. Earlier this month, 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 such as offering “an unlimited number of amendments — germane or non-germane — on any subject.”
Over the past few weeks of Senate debate, Republicans have put their plan into action, using procedural stunts like Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) demand that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) 767 page single payer amendment be read in full on the Senate floor. On Fox News today, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who took delight in Coburn’s effort, claimed that Republicans weren’t just being “obstructionist,” but were working in “good faith” to make “progress” on the legislation:
HOST: Alright, so we read that quote from your spokesperson about how you’re basically being obstructionist and it sounds like you think that’s a badge of honor at this point. But let’s face it. Are you just postponing the inevitable and do the American people really just want you to obstruct it or are they looking for progress here?
DEMINT: We’ve tried to work in good faith with the Democrats for the last few weeks, debating a bill on the floor, proposing amendments. But its turned out that this bill is just a decoy and that the whole strategy’s bait and switch. They’ve been working on a bill behind closed doors that we haven’t seen. That no Democrat other than Harry Reid has seen. And what I mean by obstructing is at least slow it down in time, give us a time to even look at it or read it. But they’re gonna file this bill at the same time they file a motion to cut off debate. Before we even have debate. So the definition of obstruction is really maybe slow it down for a day or two, so we can at least see a little bit of what’s in the bill.
DeMint went on to claim Republicans “have not been in the way so far” and “haven’t held up anything.” Watch it:
DeMint is being willfully misleading when he says that Republicans are acting in “good faith” with their procedural tactics. In fact, he tweeted on Wednesday that the GOP will “do everything we can to stop this government takeover of health care.”
Just last week, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), the Republican whip, told Hugh Hewitt that “none” of the Republican “amendments are designed to make the bill better.” In an interview on WorldNetDaily’s radio show yesterday, Sen Bob Bennett (R-UT) admitted, “We’re not offering amendments in order to fix it.” DeMint claimed he was only trying to “slow it down for a day or two,” but Bennett explained what the real strategy is:
BENNETT: Well, we’re opposed to the bill. That’s the first thing that people need to understand. We’re opposed to the bill and we don’t think it can be fixed. We’re not offering amendments in order to fix it. We’re offering amendments in order force the Democrats to confront some of the bad parts of the bill and force them on the record. To say, oh gee, I’ve opposed this amendment that would have and then you fill in the blank because every amendment we propose is, we propose exposes one of the problems in the bill. Sure, we want to make sure that it does not get voted on in 2009 because the chances that it gets defeated if it gets voted on in 2010 are better. There’s nothing really complicated about that. I think even a journalist in the mainstream media ought to be able to figure that one out.
Perhaps DeMint is confused about what the term “good faith” means.