Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ron Johnson, Obstructionist

This is sorta out of the blue:
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) ground the Senate to a halt on Tuesday, threatening to block "business as usual" until Democrats submit a budget.

Johnson began his broadside by objecting to a quorum call, blocking the Senate from proceeding with a vote. Quorum calls, like many basic Senate procedures, are approved by unanimous consent and Johnson threatened in a floor speech to wreak havoc on these uncontroversial motions.

"Business as usual is bankrupting America," he said in a floor speech. "It must stop."

Elaborating on his scheme, Johnson warned that "unless we receive some assurance from the Democrat leadership that we will actually start addressing our budget out in the open, in the bright light of day, I will begin to object. I will begin to withhold my consent."


Johnson will have to remain on the floor to make good on his threat and it's not yet clear whether he has more lawmakers helping him out. He was reportedly spotted talking with Rand Paul and Jim DeMint on the Senate floor after his announcement, two Tea Party lawmakers known for tying the Senate in knots with filibusters and other procedural roadblocks.


Majority Leader Harry Reid could offer up popular bills and dare him to block them or try to call his bluff by forcing a cloture vote, a cumbersome and lengthy procedure. But as per Johnson's threat, "business as usual" is an impossibility unless he can be convinced to stand down.

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