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Republicans in Congress effectively shut down the federal government in 1995 in an ideological dispute with President Clinton over Medicare and budget deficits. Eight years later, they are shutting down the U.S. Senate in a dispute over jobs for three people.

Beginning Wednesday night, Republicans stopped all business in the Senate -- including consideration of several overdue appropriations bills -- to launch a 30-hour "Justice for Judges Marathon." Their plan is to focus attention on what they deem the Democrats' "unconscionable" obstruction of George W. Bush's judicial nominees. The problem is, Senate Democrats have already confirmed 168 of Bush's nominees and are currently blocking votes on just three others: Priscilla Owen, Charles Pickering and William Pryor.

If Republicans want to have a national debate centered around these three nominees, Democrats and their allies are saying: "Bring 'em on."

"Rome is burning -- the economy is tanking, the so-called 'recovery' has no jobs in it, Iraq is a mess, Osama bin Laden hasn't been caught, and what's their response?" asks Terry O'Neill, the vice president for the National Organization for Women. "To stage this 30-hour marathon so that they can get some misogynist extremists on the federal bench."

I called both of my Senators' offices this morning about this nonsense. I was polite, but angry. I told Fitzgerald's office that this debate was a shameful waste of time and taxpayer money, and the Republicans behind it are disgraceful. I told Durbin's office that, after hearing him on NPR this morning decrying this bullshit session, I was proud to have him representing me in the Senate. I also said, righteous fervor getting the best of me, "You tell him that Amy Carlton in Chicago says, 'Give 'em hell!'" That got a hearty chuckle out of the woman on the phone. "I will!" she said.

Call your Senators, and tell them what you think.

Replies: 1 Confession

If I tell them what I really think, I expect I will get a visit from the FBI, especially considering the recent passport unpleasantness. So in the meantime, I will work on an expurgated version. Perhaps I will give 'em some really hot weather.

elavil @ 11/13/2003 01:07 PM CST


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