For months, nigh upon years, Republicans have been clamoring for the Democrats to end their non-constitutional filibuster of several of President Bush’s judicial nominations and to allow up-or-down votes to fill the federal bench vacancies.
Democrats have claimed that they are fully within their rights to block the President’s nominees ad infinitum and have indicated that there is no guarantee of an up-or-down vote for any nomination.
Interestingly, Sen. Kennedy, one of the major opponents of the President Bush’s judicial nominations, seems to believe that up-or-down votes should be reserved for Democrats’ priorities. Yesterday, during opening remarks on the Welfare Reauthorization Bill (H.R. 4), Sen. Kennedy attempted to offer a minimum wage hike amendment but was rebuffed. He, of course, went apoplectic.
Here are some of Kennedy’s obviously duplicitous remarks. Of course Kennedy will get away with it in the liberal press, but not here.
“This is about fairness. This issue is about fairness. That is why we welcome the opportunity to offer this amendment. It should not be a partisan issue. We should not be denied the opportunity to have the vote. . . .”
“[W]e are beginning to see what we have seen at other times; that is, on the other side there is objection [to considering the minimum wage amendment]. We listened to them talk about how they wanted to have workers work in this country, and now, evidently, there is objection. And I do not consider this to be by my friend, the chairman of the Finance Committee [Sen. Charles Grassley (R.-Iowa)], but there is clearly an objection by the Republican leadership to get a consideration. I ask unanimous consent that before we have final passage, we have a vote, up and down, on this amendment.”
“This [welfare reauthorization] bill is about work. And here we are asking for a minimum wage. To do what? To work. What is possibly the reason or the justification to object to us even considering increasing the minimum wage? What we have here is objection to even considering an increase in the minimum wage. . . .”
“Why does the majority even refuse us the opportunity to vote? That is what I am asking. Call the ace an ace. What is the objection to having accountability, to find out if you are for it or against it?”
“What can possibly be the objection to calling the roll when we have increased it 11 times under Republican and Democratic administrations in the past?”
“It is about making sure that people who work hard–men and women of dignity–are going to be able to receive a livable wage. And we are denied–at least at the outset–the opportunity to even have this amendment considered.”
“[T]his amendment ought to be voice-voted this afternoon. That is what it should be: It should be voice-voted. Republicans, in the history of the minimum wage, have voted for increases in it, and now we have instructions–evidently, instructions–not to permit even a short time limit on increasing the minimum wage: No, you can’t vote on that issue. We are not going to let you. We control the Senate.”
“Now [Sen. Grassley] will not even let us do something about getting people out of poverty. . . . Talk about arbitrariness and the abuse of power. This is it. This body ought to be able to vote on questions affecting working families. We ought to be able to vote on the minimum wage. We ought to be able to vote on overtime. We ought to be able to vote on unemployment compensation. What in the world is wrong with the other side to try and prohibit this institution from taking positions on these issues and to vote up or down? What were we sent here for?”
“I think we are on notice now. Are we supposed to assume the majority is only going to permit amendments which they approve? Is that going to be the new rule of the U.S. Senate? After 230 years, we are only going to permit votes which we, the Republicans, approve? That is what we are saying. Is that the institution the American people thought they had in the U.S. Senate? Is that what they thought we were doing here? Come on. Come on. That is not the Senate I was elected to or that I believe in and that the American people do.”
“I listen to the speeches about children. There are children out there, sons and daughters of minimum wage workers, whose lives would be significantly and dramatically advanced. . . . But no, no, no, we are the Republicans, and we are not going to let you vote. We are not going to let you vote in the Senate. That is what you are saying.”