Senatorial Privilege

Tom Coburn Blocks Funding To Prevent Veteran Suicides, Now 22 Per Day, As He Leaves The US Senate

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is about to leave the US Senate after ten years, and six previous years in the US House of Representatives.

Coburn has been one of the absolutely worst members of Congress, known as MR. NO, constantly blocking action on numerous pieces of legislation by using “senatorial privilege” to use a personal block to prevent legislation he does not like. He has abused his position in the Senate, and will NOT be missed by anyone who believes in rational, decent behavior, which Coburn seems incapable of!

Coburn has opposed abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and gay rights, and has supported gun rights and the death penalty. He has also been against deficit spending and pork barrel projects to the extreme. He has also worked against environmentalists on a regular basis, in that joining his Oklahoma colleague, Senator James Inhofe, making Oklahoma the state with the combination of the two worst Senators of any state in the Union!

Coburn is a medical doctor, an obstetrician, who, however, has opposed Obama Care. His commitment to life is clearly, a mixed one, as he has now caused outrage in opposing a bill to promote veterans suicide prevention, which is at 22 veterans per day, complaining it would not work, and that its $22 million cost is too much. This is beyond belief, as $22 million is a literal drop in the bucket of the federal government budget, and is supported by a vast margin of the US Senate and House, as the least that can be done to stem the suicide epidemic facing former military personnel.

The whole concept of “Senatorial privilege” to use a personal block to stop a bill should be ended, as no member of Congress all by himself or herself, should be able to stop what a vast majority of the Congress wishes to do!

How can this Senator sleep at night, and we can all hope that he will drop his opposition to this bill before Congress adjourns, as there is no justification for his preventing what the vast majority of Congress supports! He can vote NO of course, but should not be able to block the legislation all on his own!

Significant Food Safety Legislation Passed By Senate!

In a very important move, the US Senate today passed significant Food Safety legislation by a vote of 73-25, a rare case of support by both parties! 🙂

The most extensive reform in this field since the 1930s, the legislation would allow the Food and Drug Administration to have new powers to force recalls, to increase inspections, oversee farming production, and hold companies accountable for their practices!

Action could be taken to prevent people from getting sick, rather than reacting after the fact of food poisoning!

Also, food imports would be monitored by the FDA, something not possible before!

While the House bill passed last year is stronger, the thought is that they will accept the Senate bill to insure that greater regulation can take place, even if it is not a perfect piece of legislation!

56 Democrats were joined by 15 Republicans and two Independents to pass the bill! The earlier Senatorial privilege delaying the bill that was initiated by Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma was, thankfully, overcome! 🙂

The one disappointment is that 25 Republicans voted No, including John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Thune, among others! What kind of way to justify a No vote can only be imagined! 🙁

Tom Coburn Wants To Hold Up Food Safety Bill: Is This NOT Insanity? :(

Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has a reputation for being one of the most loony members of the US Senate!

He is only adding to this reputation by his threat to use Senatorial privilege to prevent the passage of a food safety bill, as too expensive and giving too much control to the Food and Drug Administration!

This bill has already been held up for a year, and that means there are more chances of tainted food in the future if this is not passed!

As it is now, the FDA cannot inspect many food facilities for a decade or more, and there is great danger to the public from the lack of inspections and regulation!

How anyone could see the blockage of legislation to promote food safety, health safety, as acceptable is beyond understanding for anyone who is sane! 🙁

This whole issue of senatorial privilege needs to be addressed in the future, as it is totally destructive of government doing what it MUST do–promote public safety, which should be defined as more than just defense of the nation! 🙁

Senator Jim Bunning: A Disgraceful, Despicable Action To Block Unemployment Compensation And COBRA Extension! :(

Republican Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky already has a reputation in the chamber, even among his fellow Republicans, of being a “problem”, an embarrassment, and as one of the absolutely worst senators in the history of the United States!

He has used foul language, been totally uncooperative even with the Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, a fellow Kentuckian, and people have wondered about his mental alertness and sanity.

The fact that he finally chose not to run for reelection is a blessing for his party, but now even in his last months, he has chosen to use “senatorial privilege” to block an extension of unemployment beliefs and COBRA health care for the most desperate among us, the long term unemployed. He is another one of those senators who loves to quote religious themes, and yet he is willing to promote a direct assault on those in our society who are the most unfortunate!

The basis of him, all alone, stopping extension, is that the cost of the extension must be paid for, which certainly makes sense, but the fact that he voted to support two wars that have destroyed our budgetary balance, plus voted for both Bush tax cuts to the rich, makes him a total hypocrite now, when the most downcast in our society are in need!

Jim Bunning may have been a great baseball player with the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies in the 1950s and 1960s, who ended up in the Hall of Fame, the only baseball player to have done that and been in the Senate. But in his nastiness and mean spiritedness now demonstrated, yet again, he is certainly no Hall of Famer in politics! 🙁

The Senate And Senatorial Privilege Gone Amuck!

Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, has just used the power of senatorial privilege to put a hold on Obama nominees for various positions, and also on legislation for financial regulation, because he is angry that the new Obama budget proposal will cause loss of programs that benefit his home state.

Shelby is not the first senator to do this, but the practice that allows individuals senators to put a “hold” on nominees or legislation is an outrage that must be reformed. It creates stalemate and deadlock in the Senate, and along with the threat of filibusters to bottle up action and prevent what the majority wants, sometimes as many as 59 wish, is simply making the Senate look like a dinosaur which fails to represent the will of the American people!

Wnile the Senate was designed to apply the “brakes” to the sometimes rushed actions of the House of Representatives, it has become a body which has lost a lot of its luster as the greatest legislative body in the world! The nation deserves to expect more from the Senate and its members! Everyone has the right to their views, but not as individuals or as a minority to stifle democracy and the will of the majority!