Patterico's Pontifications

12/16/2009

Dems Break Senate Rules Over Health Care

Filed under: Government,Health Care — DRJ @ 6:02 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

This afternoon, Democratic leaders in the Senate reportedly broke Senate rules by allowing the withdrawal of Senator Bernie Sanders’ 767 page single-payer amendment to the health care bill and stopping its reading without the unanimous consent of all Senators.

In an effort to slow down the health care bill, Republican Senators had refused to waive reading of the amendment, an undertaking that would take an estimated 12-13 hours. (After 3 hours of reading, the Clerk had read 139 pages of the amendment.) Minority Leader Mitch McConnell responded (the complete text is at the link):

“The plain language of the Senate precedent, the manual that governs Senate procedure, is that unanimous consent of all members was required before the Senator from Vermont could withdraw his amendment while it was being read.

Earlier today, the majority somehow convinced the parliamentarian to break with the long standing precedent and practice of the Senate in the reading of the bill.”

The ends justify the means, right?

— DRJ

71 Responses to “Dems Break Senate Rules Over Health Care”

  1. Rules only count if one needs to enforce them on the other side.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  2. i don’t see how anyone could have predicted something like this occurring….

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  3. Unanimous consent is only required when 51 senators feel like requiring it… otherwise, majority wants, majority gets.

    steve sturm (3811cf)

  4. Elections have consequences, folks. I’m talking to every person reading this who “sat out” the election to “teach the Republicans” a lesson.

    Nice job.

    Eric Blair (ddbceb)

  5. can’t blame me Eric: i voted for Palin.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  6. Dems don’t waste time. People bitch.

    imdw (4aad78)

  7. In this particular case, I think the rule is wrong; if the amendment is being withdrawn, why bother reading it?

    I mean, I understand the point that the reading of the amendment can only be dispensed with by unanimous consent. Fine. But it’s absurd to say that the process is better if the amendment is read before it is withdrawn — once the decision has been made to withdraw, the reading is irrelevant.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  8. I also think that things like this are rapidly going to make the Senate unworkable; if both sides latch on to refusing to consent to the waiving of the reading of amendments, the Senate is going to be paralyzed.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  9. I think the Senate became unworkable when they held up the appointment of some very good men from court appointments for pure political pandering.

    “Politics” as the art of achieving what is possible can be a noble task. “Politics” as a warped “game” where “our guys” are trying to out maneuver “your guys”, and seeking for the nation’s best has long been lost as the primary goal, is a damnable pursuit.

    MD in Philly (d4668b)

  10. aphrael: The Senate is supposed to be the deliberative body. Therefore it has rules designed to slow the passage of legislation not to speed passage. Requiring the reading of submitted admendments in full, even if the sponsor decides to withdraw the admendment, is one way to slow a bill’s passage. Requiring the
    consent of all the Senators before the reading can be stopped is another way. The Senate was designed to be the “unworkable” legislative body to counter-act the “enthusiasms of the House.

    Longwalker (996c34)

  11. Longwalker – yes and no. The goal is to require deliberation, not to provide a mechanism for delay that isn’t accompannied by deliberation.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  12. “…if both sides latch on to refusing to consent to the waiving of the reading of amendments, the Senate is going to be paralyzed.”

    That might be more a feature than a bug.

    Is there any other way to make them read a law before voting on it? It does not seem to happen anymore. They vote on laws they don’t read or that are not written yet. If this is their idea of progress I think we are better served by gridlock.

    Machinist (9780ec)

  13. How do we stop the tyranny of the majority now that we have little or no Constitutional restraint on any of the three branches of government?

    We don’t even have a responsible press.

    Machinist (9780ec)

  14. When government declares that law is no longer valid, it shouldn’t be surprised when the people follow. Countless tax cheats running the White House signified the Left’s termination of the rule of law.

    Revolutions have historically been fought over much, much less.

    HatlessHessian (cca288)

  15. “… the Senate is going to be paralyzed.”
    Comment by aphrael — 12/16/2009 @ 7:57 pm

    Skeptic, meet saucer.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e12e24)

  16. AD – Rtr/OS: huh? I’m not really quite sure what you’re saying there.

    ——–

    HatlessHessian: I doubt very much that you can find a single case of a revolution being fought over the decision to flout a procedural rule in a legislative body. You exaggerate. :)

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  17. aphrael:

    The goal is to require deliberation, not to provide a mechanism for delay that isn’t accompannied by deliberation.

    This is a good example of the difference between liberals and conservatives. Liberals want a specific result — in this case, a deliberative Senate. Conservatives want a framework that encourages a specific result — in this case, rules that make deliberations easier or more likely. It’s similar to the tension between substance and process we see in law.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  18. Fix rules when problems come up, and follow them until you have a chance, or in the long run, you have a confused mess where whoever is in charge is arbitrarily gaming the system.

    Also, the very fact that too much legislation is being passed to be read shows the implicit value of a rule allowing legislation to be read in its entirety. Even though this was withdrawn, it’s saying a lot that it would have taken so long to read that it was an actual problem for the process. These people aren’t reading what they are voting up or down, or even proposing and withdrawing.

    Dustin (44f8cb)

  19. aphrael…
    One of the Founders (I forget which one) famously described the Senate as like a saucer where you spill a little of the hot coffee (the passions of the House) out into to allow it to cool.

    You can look it up.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e12e24)

  20. Senate Rules…
    Personally, I would like them to return to the rule on Extended Debate that prevailed prior to the Johnson/Humphrey Administration:
    2/3’rds of all Senators required to end debate, and if you call for extended debate, you better be prepared to take, and hold, the floor.
    None of this phony-balony, oh-please-don’t-throw-me-in-the-briar-patch BS!

    Interestingly, it only takes 51-votes to change Senate Rules.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e12e24)

  21. George Washington said that.

    Dustin (44f8cb)

  22. AD, that rule seems more fair.

    If someone has a big point to make, they have a way to do it. If someone is really out of line, there’s a hard standard to reach to stop them, but it’s there.

    Seems more fair to both sides.

    All I’m asking for is that legislation be read by everyone voting on it. I would hope my Senate doesn’t require a freaking rule for something this basic, though. That hope is naive.

    Dustin (44f8cb)

  23. Yes, the 2/3’rds rule served us well for 190-years, more or less.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e12e24)

  24. 3 hours for 139 pages before it was taken down in violation of Senate rules? (Cannot interrupt the reading to give the floor to someone else.) When it’s all said and done, the Senate bill will be 2100+ pages, and Republicans are saying “Read the bill” on that one. Quick math says 45 hours of the poor woman having to read aloud the mish-mash legalese of the Senate bill before any debate begins on any cloture vote. Unless, of course, the Democrats once again violate Senate rules by interrupting the reading to withdraw the bill. 😛

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  25. And, you know what? If I were a US Senator (will never happen), I would never dispense with the reading of any bill, even one I wrote. A government with a Jake Brake is much better than a government going down Grapevine with no brakes. (That’s trucker talk and an infamous “hill” (for truckers) in California.)

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  26. “Unless, of course, the Democrats once again”

    And of course, they will find a way to justify this if they need to. Or they will use the time to get the votes they want. It’s just 45 hours. I never got why a filibuster or other delay tactic was the end of the world for majorities.

    Dustin (44f8cb)

  27. I never got why a filibuster or other delay tactic was the end of the world for majorities.

    Filibusters and delay tactics have a couple beneficial ends-possibilities: The other side gives up and lets it die OR things drag on long enough that “short-term-memory” voters have poisonous legislation in mind when voting time arrives.

    Democrats have been known to use all sorts of parliamentary means to block Republican Congresses. They do it all the time. Including all the Democrat efforts to block civil rights legislation.

    While the Democrats have been successful in this tactic to block many Republican nominations for judicial appointments (Dingy Harry kept the Senate open every day in 2007 (I think) and 2008 (for certain) to prevent a closed-congress series of judicial appointments Democrats were blocking.) and to block Republican bills while Democrats were in the minority, sometimes they failed and the general public won. And Republicans in the Senate have been far less willing to do the same (must make friends with the media).

    This time, Republican Senators are looking at the national climate and seeing the nation doesn’t want this take-over. If the Republicans can push this into 2010, an election year, Democrats have a HUGE problem: the voter-who-doesn’t-remember-past-last-week. And the longer the debate goes, the more people line up against the whole thing.

    And this is good for America, and for Republicans.

    **I’ve stated this multiple times elsewhere but I’ll state it here now, because it’s slightly relevant:

    I’m a Christian first.
    I’m a Conservative second.
    I’m a Republican third (but only because there is no viable Conservative party).

    And I’m part of a very large, and growing, group of people who are holding Congressional Republicans’ feet to the fire. (TEA Party, anyone?)

    Hey, #Newt ! Can you hear me now? #tcot #ochra (for you twitter folks)

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  28. It’s time for the Republicans to walk out, go back home, and appear on television denouncing this.

    Or at least have some kind of mass demonstration on Capital Hill.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  29. People, remember – these are the rules of the Senate. The Senate must have rules. Everyone knew the rules going into this.

    If they wanted to change the rules they were free to do so within the framework provided to them.

    They chose instead to simply ignore the rules.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  30. “This is a good example of the difference between liberals and conservatives. Liberals want a specific result — in this case, a deliberative Senate. Conservatives want a framework that encourages a specific result — in this case, rules that make deliberations easier or more likely. It’s similar to the tension between substance and process we see in law.”

    The result of this rule is that one asshole senator can create a disincentive to offering or allowing amendments. That seems counter to the goal of deliberation.

    “The ends justify the means, right?”

    The means themselves are justified. This is a dumb rule and only one of many that should go.

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    imdw (de68b8)

  31. imd-dummy, Why don’t you just spit out the truth, you lefties hate democracy and rules. You just want to be petit tyrants and are angry you aren’t allowed to be.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  32. 25, John, if you had said Jacobs Braking system, the unknowing could google it.

    Jakes are wonderful as long as you aren’t in a residential area with gutted mufflers.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  33. “imd-dummy, Why don’t you just spit out the truth, you lefties hate democracy and rules. You just want to be petit tyrants and are angry you aren’t allowed to be.”

    Democracy would be just fine. Up and down vote. 51 votes passes a bill.

    imdw (25f8a9)

  34. Imdw – The Dems have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. They can change the rules, should they wish.

    JD (533be4)

  35. “Imdw – The Dems have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. They can change the rules, should they wish.”

    This is why I complain that more rules aren’t being changed….rather than complain about this one time thing.

    imdw (017d51)

  36. No, you are just being mendoucheous. They do not have the spine to actually change the rules, preferable to subvert the existing rules for their purposes.

    JD (c7b6c7)

  37. Longwalker – yes and no. The goal is to require deliberation, not to provide a mechanism for delay that isn’t accompannied by deliberation.

    Comment by aphrael

    Try to remember that the basic subject of this conversation is a 2,000 page bill that NO ONE HAS READ ! They are voting on a bill to change a sixth of the economy and not even Dick Durbin knows what is in it !

    Try to get your head around that.

    Some other guys burned down the Riechstag to accomplish the same purpose one year. We are heading into an era that is fundamentally fascist in this country. The definition of fascism is state capitalism or the corporate state. Sort of like GM.

    This is incredibly dangerous, not just for healthcare, but for the future of this country. I think some people are figuring this out if we can hold up the vote long enough.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  38. #4, Eric, I don’t mean to unload on you, but your comment leads me to the following vanity statement:

    If the GOP wants my vote they can offer me a candidate worthy of support. Specifically, that means the candidate’s views and positions are sufficiently aligned with mine that I’m satisfied my interests will be represented. Otherwise, it’s no deal, I’ll sit it out. In the same way my vote isn’t for sale, neither will I be coerced into the lesser evil. I’ve been down that road enough times to know it leads away from my destination.

    If the GOP candidate’s only distinguishing qualification is that he has an R after his name instead of a D, then it’s a big fat NO! My unambiguous message to the GOP is no more RINOs, no more Harriet Miers, no more Dede Scozzafava, no more John McCain, Bob Dole, Olympic Snow, Susan Collins, etc.

    No more earmarks, no more entitlements, no more pork barrel politics. Not more than 2 days ago the GOP swine joined Democrats in earmarking pork projects. I thought they were on the right track opposing healthcare, working for limited government. I thought they had learned their lesson, but they’re still the same greedy bunch of swine, the same earmarkers, the same bastards.

    Today’s GOP doesn’t deserve to hold office, and if they do manage to get elected, they will have done it without me.

    In the last election I voted for Sarah Palin so I didn’t have to hold my nose, wallow in hypocrisy and self-loathing, and vote McCain. However, to make my point, although I revere Ronald Reagan, I wouldn’t vote for him today if he was pushing comprehensive immigration reform, or a trigger for the public option.

    After 45 years of being involved in politics, that’s where I’m at, I’ve been a Democrat and a Republican, now I’m an Independent. It’s my vote and I’ll cast it only when and for the candidate who represents my interests.

    ropelight (800568)

  39. The reason why they don’t change the rules is that:

    1) Not all of their members would approve.

    2) They reserve the right to use those same rules against their opponents, because their opponents respect the rules.

    Ultimately, the question is whether power trumps principle. Rules are principle, often invoked in all reverence by these same Democrats. But if they stand in the way of power they are discarded.

    The Democratic leadership’s only principle left standing is that of power.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  40. if both sides latch on to refusing to consent to the waiving of the reading of amendments, the Senate is going to be paralyzed.

    Comment by aphrael — 12/16/2009 @ 7:57 pm

    The Senate is already unworkable. Since this administration was seated, how many 1,000 + page bills have we seen? And who has even read any of them before the bills were voted on?

    I think that we need a rule that states one bill, one action. Every bill should be in plain English, and limited to a single issue. Amendments must be on topic. Every bill should be read in their entirety on the floor before it can be voted on. Every Senator must sit through the reading of the entire bill before their vote can be recorded. Remove cell phones, pagers, computers, news papers, novels, girly magazines, etc. from the Senate floor. (In other words, remove distractions.)

    Maybe then we would actually see laws that made sense instead of this incomprehensible gibberish that we see now.

    Jay Curtis (8f6541)

  41. imd-dummy you don’t deny you are a wannabe petit tyrant.

    Basicly this is all BS by the Democrats and their koolaid drinkers. When they were the obstructionist minority, any abuse of any rule was fair game, now that the game is against them, they say, “To hell with the rules.”

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  42. The means themselves are justified. This is a dumb rule and only one of many that should go.

    They didn’t get rid of the rule retard.

    Gerald A (138c50)

  43. This is a good example of the difference between liberals and conservatives. Liberals want a specific result — in this case, a deliberative Senate. Conservatives want a framework that encourages a specific result — in this case, rules that make deliberations easier or more likely. It’s similar to the tension between substance and process we see in law.

    The snarky side of me feels compelled to point out that when it comes to criminal procedure, it is often conservatives who want a specific result and liberals who want a specific process. :)

    But staying on topic, a framework which encourages a specific result – rules that make deliberation more likely – can be contravened by people who are deliberately choosing to use the framework for the purpose of something other than that result. I don’t like it when the technicalities of a framework designed to make deliberation likely is used to pursue something other than deliberation; while I acknowledge that it’s clever, and it’s consistent with the rules, it’s placing a higher value on form than substance.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  44. Try to remember that the basic subject of this conversation is a 2,000 page bill that NO ONE HAS READ ! They are voting on a bill to change a sixth of the economy and not even Dick Durbin knows what is in it !

    So require a reading of the bill, rather than complaining that an amendment was withdrawn before the clerk had finished reading the amendment. That would make the point about the bill’s size quite clear; opponents of the bill could then talk about how long it took to read it. And it would be spending time on something which matters, rather than on an amendment which will never be voted on.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  45. Every bill should be in plain English, and limited to a single issue.

    Do you really want to hand to the courts the power to determine whether or not a bill is in plain English or limited to a single issue? It seems to me that a rule of this nature would in practice be a great transfer of power from the legislature to the courts — something I would expect conservatives to be opposed to.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  46. They didn’t get rid of the rule retard.

    (a) they should have.

    (b) not being aware that they didn’t hardly makes one a ‘retard’. Lack of knowledge does not equal lack of capacity.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  47. aphrael – The idea of single-issue legislation is very interesting. It would eliminate the poison-pill kind of political BS that goes on now, by both sides, and will eliminate a large portion of BS campaign ad fodder, where each side claims Candidate A voted for something or against something, which is usually just a smaller clause to some behemoth of legislative gibberish.

    JD (c7b6c7)

  48. So require a reading of the bill, rather than complaining that an amendment was withdrawn before the clerk had finished reading the amendment.

    Do you mean “read aloud”?

    Because if so, I’m pretty sure that would kill at least three readers.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  49. “No, you are just being mendoucheous. They do not have the spine to actually change the rules, preferable to subvert the existing rules for their purposes”

    I know they don’t have the spine. That’s why I bemoan them for not doing it!

    “So require a reading of the bill, rather than complaining that an amendment was withdrawn before the clerk had finished reading the amendment.”

    Why not just post it online. Because that doesn’t waste time?

    imdw (7ae49a)

  50. Rules. Schmules.

    JD (c7b6c7)

  51. Scott – of course. If the complaint is that the bill is so long that nobody has read it, refuse to consent to waiving the reading (aloud) of the bill on the floor. Don’t fight over whether or not someone can withdraw an amendment.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  52. Hey, I’m all for that, aph. Though if it is a good idea to read the bill aloud, then it follows that they should read the amendments aloud as well.

    I admit that this was a stunt to stall things, but it was a stunt within the rules.

    And you know my opinion of staying within the rules. :)

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  53. Do you really want to hand to the courts the power to determine whether or not a bill is in plain English or limited to a single issue? It seems to me that a rule of this nature would in practice be a great transfer of power from the legislature to the courts — something I would expect conservatives to be opposed to.

    Comment by aphrael — 12/17/2009 @ 9:48 am

    The plain English rule is already law under the Fifth Amendment. If a law does not give fair notice of its requirements, it violates due process. (It’s even more stringent if it impinges First Amendment rights.)

    Illinois has a single issue rule in its constitution. It’s worked out ok so far.

    nk (df76d4)

  54. If a law does not give fair notice of its requirements, it violates due process

    But that’s been read pretty narrowly, and the state of California regularly adopts laws which I have a hard time understanding.

    More to the point, if the plain English rule were already law, then we wouldn’t need to adopt a plain English rule. :)

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  55. and the state of California regularly adopts laws which I have a hard time understanding.

    Only because you are not oxygen-deprived or suffering serious head trauma. :)

    More to the point, if the plain English rule were already law, then we wouldn’t need to adopt a plain English rule.

    He’s got you there, nk. :)

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  56. “…California regularly adopts laws which I have a hard time understanding…”

    Ah, the value of a public education//snark.

    But, I think you have lost sight of the point that the suspension of the reading was a violation of the “unanimous consent” provisions of Senate Rules, as was the pulling of the amendment.
    The Chair violated Senate Rules in not asking for Unanimous Consent to the taking down of the amendment by Sen.Sanders. Just as the interuption in the reading should have only been allowed by U-C, for that is what Senate Rules call for.
    Under Robert’s Rules (which I believe the two houses of Congress observe) it would have been very simple for the Chair to ask if there were any objections to the request. And, absent any, he would grant same. But, if just one voice arises in opposition, the request is denied, and the business on the floor continues.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2917cb)

  57. “The plain English rule is already law under the Fifth Amendment. If a law does not give fair notice of its requirements, it violates due process. (It’s even more stringent if it impinges First Amendment rights.)”

    I understood the discussion to mean something more robust than the 5th amendment.

    imdw (e2f2a9)

  58. The point that most are missing is that this rule has a purpose.

    The purpose of the ‘must read all the way through unless unanimous consent’ rule is so that the majority party does not let goofballs like Bernie Sanders put forth a meaningless 736 page amendment that was never going to be allowed into the bill just so he said he could. The Dems could have prevented that amendment from reaching the floor because they knew it would never be in the bill but they did it as a sop to Bernie (one presumes.)

    Since they did that, the Republicans were happy to use it to waste everyone’s time and to demonstrate the kind of things that were going into the bill, even though no one has seen the REAL bill because what’s theoretically on the floor ‘open for debate’ has only vague relation to what comes out of Harry Reid’s office at some point.

    The rule is there to motivate people to prevent Bernie Sanders from wasting time.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  59. “The purpose of the ‘must read all the way through unless unanimous consent’ rule is so that the majority party does not let goofballs like Bernie Sanders put forth a meaningless 736 page amendment that was never going to be allowed into the bill just so he said he could. The Dems could have prevented that amendment from reaching the floor because they knew it would never be in the bill but they did it as a sop to Bernie (one presumes.)”

    This is why I said this rule has the effect that one asshole senator can create disincentives for amendments, therefore hurting the deliberative nature of the senate.

    imdw (00bfab)

  60. Durbin pointed to rule XV, section 2, in the Standing Rules of the Senate: “Any motion, amendment, or resolution may be withdrawn or modified by the mover at any time before a decision, amendment or ordering of the yeas and nays, except a motion to reconsider, which shall not be withdrawn without leave.” Anyone know why the GOP thinks this is inapplicable?

    Andrew (59b742)

  61. Because, any disruption of “Regular Order” has to be by Unanimous Consent.

    “…this rule has the effect that one asshole senator can create disincentives for amendments…”

    Then why didn’t the majority “counsel” the Junior Senator from Vermont that his proposed amendment was unwise, and would tend to bring the Senate into further disrepute?

    AD - RtR/OS! (2917cb)

  62. Dummerer than a sack of Andrews remains apt.

    JD (c7b6c7)

  63. JD,

    I believe this is a different Andrew — the one that made PoliPudit worth reading. He’s a lawyer (and veteran?) and a pretty bright guy.

    nk (df76d4)

  64. “Then why didn’t the majority “counsel” the Junior Senator from Vermont that his proposed amendment was unwise, and would tend to bring the Senate into further disrepute?”

    Because the democrats are spineless morons.

    imdw (c06324)

  65. Did I mix up PoliPundit with RedState?

    nk (df76d4)

  66. I don’t go to Polipundit much, but used to blog at confirmthem.com.

    Andrew (59b742)

  67. Andrew,

    McConnell explains it more here. I gather his argument is that a member can withdraw an amendment but once the Clerk has started reading it, the reading cannot be stopped without unanimous consent:

    “McConnell took to the floor and read from the Senate rules, arguing that consent is required from all members to dispense with the reading of the amendment, a typically routine request.”

    I think it’s a technical argument but that’s what rules are.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  68. I remember you, now, Andrew. Good to see you around.

    nk (df76d4)

  69. Thanks DRJ and nk. I purposely avoided getting internet access at home, so I wouldn’t be tempted to spend too much time surfing the web. I’ve had quasi-internet-addiction problems in the past. Alas, a hotspot popped up next door, so now I get free internet at home!

    Anyway, I guess we just don’t have the facts about the 1992 incident to know whether the GOP is correct or the Dems are correct about this business of withdrawing an amendment while it’s being read.

    Andrew (59b742)

  70. I don’t know what that 1992 amendment was but I wish I did. It sounds interesting.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  71. FYI:

    (Senate–September 24, 1992)

    The Senate continued with the consideration of the bill.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington is recognized.

    AMENDMENT NO. 3173

    (Purpose: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to deny the benefits of certain export subsidies in the case of exports of certain unprocessed timber, and to establish rural development programs for certain rural communities and small businesses that have been adversely affected by a declining timber supply and changes in the timber industry in the Pacific Northwest)

    Mr. ADAMS. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk and ask for its immediate consideration.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.

    The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

    The Senator from Washington [Mr. Adams] proposes an amendment numbered 3173.

    Mr. ADAMS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

    Mr. PACKWOOD. Mr. President, I object.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard. The clerk will read the amendment.

    The assistant legislative clerk continued reading the amendment.

    Mr. ADAMS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that further reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

    Mr. PACKWOOD. I object.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

    Mr, ADAMS. Mr. President, parliamentary inquiry? I have a parliamentary inquiry of the Chair. Is it in order, during the reading of the amendment, without it being dispensed with, for the floor leader and the opponent of the amendment to have a discussion?

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The regular order, as the Chair is advised by the Parliamentarian, is that the amendment is to be read because objection has been heard to the unanimous-consent request.

    The clerk will read the amendment.

    The assistant legislative clerk continued reading the amendment.

    Mr. ADAMS. Mr. President, I ask permission to withdraw the amendment.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has a right to withdraw the amendment.

    Mr. ADAMS. I withdraw the amendment.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The amendment is withdrawn.

    The amendment (No. 3173) was withdrawn.

    Andrew (59b742)


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