Exercising a little known Senate rule that halts all hearings after 2:00 each day with unanimous consent, Republicans are effectively attempting to bring all hearings to a halt. Tuesday, Sen. Tom Carper (D) was forced to block proceedings because of Republican intervention.
5. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of the rules, when the Senate is in session, no committee of the Senate or any subcommittee thereof may meet, without special leave, after the conclusion of the first two hours after the meeting of the Senate commenced and in no case after two o’clock postmeridian unless consent therefor has been obtained from the majority leader and the minority leader (or in the event of the absence of either of such leaders, from his designee). The prohibition contained in the preceding sentence shall not apply to the Committee on Appropriations or the Committee on the Budget. The majority leader or his designee shall announce to the Senate whenever consent has been given under this subparagraph and shall state the time and place of such meeting. The right to make such announcement of consent shall have the same priority as the filing of a cloture motion.
I have just been advised by my staff that on the floor of the Senate there has been a move to stop all the proceedings in hearings that are going on in the Senate, and we are compelled to stop at this point in time. And I regret it, but there are rules here when we reach point in time and unless there’s unanimous consent to proceed for — as you may recall — unless there’s unanimous consent in the Senate to be able to proceed, we can only go on for so long and then we have to stop our hearings. And the whistle has blown. Unfortunately, we and all the other committees and subcommittees that are holding hearings have to, at this time, cease. I feel very badly about that. It’s not my doing.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) office put out a statement this afternoon responding to the GOP blocks:
Senator McCain’s promised obstruction comes to reality just a day later. “The Party of No” wouldn’t even agree to let Senate committees meet today. Ironically, as they make false claims about transparency regarding health reform, they’re shutting down a committee hearing today on transparency in government.
Republicans are having a very difficult time grasping the reality that they are the minority and that they have lost the health care reform debate. Even in their insistence that the will of the people has been trampled upon, the truth of the matter is that the will of the people has been recognized. Resorting to petty, childish tactics such as this one serves little purpose but to backlog important proceedings at the expense of taxpayer dollars.