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Coburn Now Using Arcane Procedure to Stall Unemployment Bill

June 17, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate is already weeks behind schedule on passing the unemployment insurance and tax extenders bill and it’s not clear that any of the pending compromises will bring them to the 60 votes they need. To make things worse, Sen. Tom Coburn [R, OK] is now using an infamous dilatory procedure known as a “clay pigeon” to force votes on dozens of amendments. Roll Call ($) reports:

Sen. Tom Coburn used parliamentary tactics Thursday to try to trip up Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) plans to pass a tax and unemployment extension bill this week.

The Oklahoma Republican, using a procedure known as a clay pigeon, split his pending amendment to fully pay for the extenders bill into 20 separate pieces, which means that in theory the chamber could be forced to vote 20 times on various aspects of his proposal.

Coburn has used similar tactics in the past, but he and Reid have usually been able to negotiate an agreement to pare down the number of amendments the chamber ultimately votes on.

Besides slowing things down, this clay pigeon move has the potential to introduce poison pills to the bill that could threaten what support it does have.

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