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Leaked Email: DeMint's Blocking Your Bailout

July 23, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has some concerns with the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout that’s being pushed through Congress, and he’s planning to do what he can to stop it. As has been reported recently, DeMint wants to add an amendment to the bill that would ban the companies from lobbying Congress so as to prevent them from currying favor with politicians on the taxpayers’ dime. Today, Democratic leaders in the Senate sent an email to their business contacts that Rob Bluey at RedState is calling “a direct appeal to K Street lobbyists for help” in staving off DeMint.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to seek a unanimous consent from every senator to pass the bailout bill, which also contains a plethora of housing measures, quickly and without any amendments. He wants to preserve the bill’s delicate balance that, remarkably, prompted President Bush to back off his initial veto threat and to move onto other issues, like gas prices, as soon as he can. DeMint is planing to object to the unanimous consent agreement, setting up a lengthy procedural tango that could delay passage of the bill for several days (or, if he has enough allies, several weeks). And remember, there are a lot of other issues Reid wants to bring to the Senate before their month-long recess begins on August 9th.

Below is the full email sent today to Reid’s business contacts. Bluey at RedState calls it “the latest indication that Democrats are closely aligned with Fannie and Freddie — and apparently willing to go to great lengths to protect them.”

>From: Wetjen, Mark (Reid)
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 1:25 PM
Subject: Update on housing

>If the House passes the housing bill and the Senate receives it today, Sen. Reid is prepared to move to proceed to the measure today, which will be the House message to H.R. 3121 (containing one amendment). While a motion to proceed to a House message is non-debatable, technically the motion still requires a majority vote, unless consent is given to proceed without a vote.
>If cloture is necessary – the Republican filibuster record suggests it will be – Sen. Reid could file cloture on a motion to concur with the House amendment today. In that event, the cloture vote would ripen on Friday. If cloture is invoked, the 30-hour clock begins to run from that point in time.
>We are informed that Sen. DeMint would like to seek an amendment to the House amendment. While we have not seen Sen. DeMint’s amendment, it’s fair to say that such an amendment could complicate debate and delay passage of the housing bill.

What do you think – is Bluey reading too much behind the lines here, or is Reid rallying allies on K Street to fight off DeMint? Any beltway insiders out there who can vouch for message like this being standard and innocuous operating procedure?

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