Trapped!

Trapped!

D-Day has a suggestion on how to remove one less Republican ego from the stimulus bill equation:

[T]he Senate can help themselves by immediately confirming Judd Gregg for Commerce Secretary. Gregg is now recusing himself from all recovery package votes, which is the same as a no vote under the circumstances. Confirming him would reduce the number of Senators to 98, which would mean only 59 votes would be needed for passage. It reduces the moderates needed to eat the shit sandwich by one. If Bonnie Newman then came to the Senate to be seated, she could be blocked unless Al Franken is seated in a compromise action, which would get us 59 Democratic Senators and again keep the number of moderate squishes needed to one. I have no idea why Harry Reid isn’t doing this. If he’s afraid of Republican bleating he could schedule the Gregg vote immediately before the final vote on recovery and shock doctrine them.

It’s a great idea.  Unfortunately, Minnesota law says that until all legal contests are settled there can be no certification of Franken by the Secretary of State. And even though the claim that the Senate has no precedent for seating someone without one is bogus, that’s the principle that Dick Durbin and Harry Reid were clinging to when they didn’t want to seat Roland Burris.  In fact, Reid encouraged Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White not to sign Burris’s certification so he could expressly use it as a reason not to seat Burris.

Cornyn instantly concurred, and said that "There will be no way that people on our side of the aisle will agree to seat any Senator provisionally unless a certificate of election has been signed" — and threatened to filibuster any attempt to seat Franken. 

Now Cornyn would have done that anyway, but Reid lost his ability fight him on it by ceding Cornyn’s central premise.  If he were to try and seat Franken now without certification, not only would he get himself a GOP filibuster for his efforts, the sideshow would be used to derail or stall the stimulus bill itself.

It was a good idea. If somebody had been able to ascertain that Newman would support the bill before appointing her to the seat (I’m assuming if Gregg has the right to demand a Republican replacement, Lynch is entitled to inquire about their political views), we might not be stuck in this bizarre World According To Susan Collins.

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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