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Oprah Pushes Legislation from Joe Biden

September 16, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Continuing her foray into politics, Oprah Winfrey on Monday gave a major endorsement of legislation from Joe Biden (D-DE) that would beef up law enforcement efforts to combat child exploitation:

The bill, the PROTECT Our Children Act, passed the House by a vote of 415-2 last November, but it is being blocked in the Senate by Tom Coburn (R-OK) because it would authorize new spending.

Keeping true to a promise (pdf) he made at the beginning of the 110th Congress, Coburn has blocked dozens of bills, most of them non-controversial, that don’t match up to his fiscal standards.

The PROTECT Our Children Act has been included in an omnibus measure along with 35 other bills being blocked by Coburn. The omnibus, officially known as the Advancing America’s Priorities Act was rejected by the Senate in July, but Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Majority Leader, is planning to try once again to get it passed before Congress adjourns for the year.

When the vote happens, we’ll see how Oprah’s clout in politics compares to her influence in the world of literature. For the bill to pass, at least 8 of the 40 senators who voted “nay” last time will have to be convinced to change theirs votes to “ayes.” If it works out, I hope Oprah starts a “Congress Club.”

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