As a matter of comity, the Minority in the Senate traditionally defers to the Majority in the setting of the agenda. If Bill Frist pulls the nuclear trigger, Democrats will show deference no longer.
Invoking a little-known Senate procedure called Rule XIV, last week Democrats put nine bills on the Senate calendar that seek to help America fulfill its promise.
If Republican's break the rules Democrats will use the rule to bring to the Senate floor an agenda that meets the needs of average Americans, such as lowering gas prices, reducing the cost of health care and helping veterans.
"Across the country, people are worried about things that matter to their families - the health of their loved ones, their child's performance in schools, and those sky high gas prices," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. "But what is the number one priority for Senate Republicans? Doing away with the last check on one-party rule in Washington to allow President Bush, Senator Frist and Tom Delay to stack the courts with radical judges. If Republicans proceed to pull the trigger on the nuclear option, Democrats will respond by employing existing Senate rules to push forward our agenda for America."
Democrats have introduced bills that address America's real challenges. (Details attached)
1. Women's Health Care (S. 844). "The Prevention First Act of 2005" will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions by increasing funding for family planning and ending health insurance discrimination against women.
2. Veterans' Benefits (S. 845). "The Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2005" will assist disabled veterans who, under current law, must choose to either receive their retirement pay or disability compensation.
3. Fiscal Responsibility (S. 851). Democrats will move to restore fiscal discipline to government spending and extend the pay-as-you-go requirement.
4. Relief at the Pump (S. 847). Democrats plan to halt the diversion of oil from the markets to the strategic petroleum reserve. By releasing oil from the reserve through a swap program, the plan will bring down prices at the pump.
5. Education (S. 848). Democrats have a bill that will: strengthen head start and child care programs, improve elementary and secondary education, provide a roadmap for first generation and low-income college students, provide college tuition relief for students and their families, address the need for math, science and special education teachers, and make college affordable for all students.
6. Jobs (S. 846). Democrats will work in support of
legislation that guarantees overtime pay for workers and sets a fair minimum wage.
7. Energy Markets (S. 870). Democrats work to prevent Enron-style market manipulation of electricity.
8. Corporate Taxation (S. 872). Democrats make sure companies pay their fair share of taxes to the U.S. government instead of keeping profits overseas.
9. Standing with our troops (S. 11). Democrats believe that putting America's security first means standing up for our troops and their families
"Abusing power is not what the American people sent us to Washington to do. We need to address real priorities instead -- fight for relief at the gas pump, stronger schools and lower health care costs for America's families," said Senator Reid.
This is GREAT.
My opinion is that they should do this whether the filibuster thing takes place or not. But Reid is probably correct in using it as a tool to put pressure on the Senate.
Narrative, narrative, narrative. Force the Republicans to vote AGAINST this stuff. Then use that vote - and Terri Schiavo, AND "Just Us Sunday" AND Tom Delay - to tell the story of what sort of power hungry corporate whores the Republicans really are.