Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 24, 2014

GOP Kills THUD Bill, Despite Push by Collins

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., succeeded in mustering the votes to kill a spending bill Thursday, drawing sharp rebukes from Democrats.

Democratic leaders praised the ill-fated efforts of Transportation-HUD ranking member Susan Collins of Maine to oppose the GOP leadership-led filibuster effort.

Collins was the lone Republican to vote for the legislation she helped craft, and with a near-unanimous filibuster, McConnell showed at least temporary strength to keep his conference together and in rare alignment with House Republicans, who are arguing for sequestration-level appropriations caps.

Collins spent much of the vote lobbying colleagues futilely before the roll was called. She sat silently in a chair next to McConnell as he urged their colleagues to vote “no” and watched as Republicans, one-by-one, rejected her work. She walked off the floor before the vote was called.

The final tally was 54-43, short of the 60 votes needed to limit debate, with only Collins crossing the aisle.

“Sen. Collins, if nothing else, was shown no respect,” Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said after the vote.

At one point, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., teased Collins that she was “watching us walk up in shame.” He, like the rest of his colleagues, then proceeded to vote against the bill. The lobbying from both sides before the vote was so chaotic that at one point, Reid loudly pleaded with members to “sit down and shut up.”

“Susan Collins stood up there in a real profile in courage,” said Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill.

Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., blasted what she called “strong-arm tactics” to block the Transportation-HUD bill by the Republican leadership.

Mikulski renewed the call for Republicans to consent to a budget conference to get a compromise top line spending number, noting that it is the budget resolution that’s supposed to guide the appropriators.

“This shows exactly why Washington is not working, why we have not lowered our unemployment rate, why we’re not improving our public safety on highways and on bridges, and are failing to meet our compelling human need in housing for the elderly and the disabled and the disadvantaged,” Mikulski said.

McConnell said the takeaway should be that GOP senators are not prepared to undo the commitment for spending cuts made in enacting the 2011 budget law known as the Budget Control Act.

“It is no question that had cloture been invoked on this particular appropriation bill, which was even more than the president had asked for, your storyline tomorrow would have been Congress, on a bipartisan basis, walks away from the Budget Control Act,” McConnell said.

Absent a broader budget deal, however, the Senate Transportation-HUD bill would be subject to a sequester.

Asked about what he thought the vote would portend for getting the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster attempt on a continuing resolution to keep the government funded past September, Reid signaled he wasn’t sure.

“We have a cadre of Republicans that come on to the floor every day here in the Senate who are boasting about wanting to close the government, saying what difference does it make,” Reid said, in a clear reference to recent comments by Texas Republican Ted Cruz.

Cruz compared a partial shutdown of the government caused by a lapse in appropriations to a long weekend.

  • Sally

    I was thinking today about the GOP’s total bashing of teachers, who have college degrees (often more than one,) who spend their careers teaching the best they know how for little pay (and now, few benefits either, thanks to the GOP,) while these morons with law degrees make three times as much, have their retirement secure, and work what…three months a year? The rest of the time they are off courting lobbyists and raising money to stay in Congress, and if they are Republican are only there to block meaningful bills to help Americans. Mitch is a disgrace, and I hope KY sends him packing.

    • Midwestmike

      I know a LOT of teachers with “Master’s” degrees that I wouldn’t let train my dog. If you’re a current teacher YOU are the problem, not the solution. By the way genius, this bill had nothing to do with “education”
      which, IMHO, is Grossly overfunded.

      • CashMcCall

        I get pretty sick of listening to teachers bellyache about how they are short changed. Yet SAT scores keep dropping since the late 1960s. They took the easy road in life and expect a lavish retirement. I am sick of cops and teachers.

    • albertG

      Ever heard of the NEA? … aks the “National ‘edukashun’ Association”.. Them and your local teacher unions (all college graduates) have done a swell job of sending American education down the toilet. – and that’s a democrat group and the majority of them vote and give to democratic causes.
      How in the h3ll does the GOP have anything to do with teacher salaries? That should be a local issue and voted/paid for by local schools and their states.
      I’m no fan of congress either, but your friends at the NEA are simply money laundering agents for the democratic party… that’s a fact and they don’t have the best interests of students in mind.. they have become a thug organization.

  • Nicholas DeLuca

    I think this is filibuster 414. Shameful. The fiscal year ends September 30. The Congress is going on holiday until September 9. Only four Appropriation bills have been acted on. And McConnell and his Merry Men filibuster an Appropriation Bill. Is there no beginning to their sanity ?

    • beckdella

      shameful you say????? I say finally! too bad they don’t do more of this sticking together when it comes to immigration and obamacare!

      • Nicholas DeLuca

        Well, I guess we disagree. I think more can be accomplished for the Common Good through cooperation and comity than through confrontation and obstruction..

        • Filthy Liar

          Republicans don’t believe in the common good, at least as a thing government can deliver. They seek to thwart any attempts to govern because they are children.

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