Senate Democrats’ rule change puts GOP on the attack

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A procedural change in the U.S. Senate has dropped the legislative chamber into a bit of chaos and has seen angry Republicans accusing Democrats of dismantling the rights of the minority party.

In the midst of a debate last night over a bill to admonish China for its currency practices, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-N.V.), moved to stop debate on a number of unrelated amendments that Republicans were seeking votes on. Politico explains more on what brought Republicans and Democrats to this point.

The move, which forces a vote on a bill that has received bipartisan support, is not so much controversial for this bill, but because it could set a precedent for the majority to roll back some of the other special protections the minority party enjoys in the Senate but not in, for example, the U.S. House of Representatives.

Democrats say that this is just a narrow exception and not a broad rollback of rights for the minority party. Republicans aren’t so sure.

“Effectively, as of the vote last night, there are no minority rights to amend anything,” said Gail Chaddock, Congressional correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor.

Chaddock said this could make an already dysfunctional place even more dysfunctional.


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