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Washington, DC - Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb) offered an amendment yesterday to the Senate Budget Resolution to prohibit the use reconciliation in the Senate for legislation involving a cap and trade energy tax system.
Some Senators had hoped to use the procedural tactic of reconciliation to avoid a full debate on cap-and-trade legislation by inserting language in the budget bill to circumvent traditional debate procedures. Congress is supposed to be about debate, and limiting debate rules on critical votes runs contrary to the spirit of the institution.
The Johanns amendment will ensure an open debate and unrestricted amendment process on forthcoming cap-and-trade legislation. FreedomWorks applauds the 67 Senators who voted to strike down the use of reconciliation on such an important issue.
The vote also set precedent for future controversial bills, such as health care reform, that also deserve a full and vigorous Senate debate.
Many who voted for the Johanns amendment also opposed the use of the “nuclear option” when considering judicial nominations in recent years for similar reasons. Sen. Reid (D-Nev.) said, “There is no way that I would be part of using the nuclear option.” Cap-and-trade and health care, like judicial nominations, are too important to be pushed through in such a manner.
In a letter to the Senate following the vote, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe commented:
“This vote tells us you are going to do your part to uphold the Senate’s reputation as the greatest deliberative body in the world—a place where all opinions will be heard and where the longstanding rules that give voice to the millions of Americans represented by the minority party will be respected.”
“By voting for the Johanns amendment, you sent a strong signal to grassroots America that major legislation like cap-and-trade and health care reform must clear the traditional 60 vote threshold before becoming law. This is important both for ensuring a meaningful debate and for our democracy.”