Update on Two Battles
GOA scores partial victory on Rules
Solicits horror stories from its members
Events have been moving so fast and furiously (no pun intended) that we have not had an opportunity to give you an update on the rules fight — or to solicit your help in connection with a pivotal ongoing battle.
The Senate has reached its decision on what to do about its rules. And the outcome is neither a complete victory nor a complete loss.
On the good side: The Senate DID NOT pull the “nuclear trigger.” It did not do what we feared most — and that was to decide that 51 senators could, by brute force, do whatever they wanted, irrespective of the rules.
As for the bad: The most serious change is a two-year “special order” — which will expire in two years at the end of the 113th Congress. (How convenient. The Democrats put a time limit on this onerous rule in case they are no longer in the majority after the next elections.) That “special order” allows Harry Reid to proceed to the text of legislation without a filibuster of the “motion to proceed” — but only if he pays the penalty of allowing Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to offer the first amendment.
In addition, the Senate “deal” would allow a bill to be sent to House/Senate conference with virtually no ability to resist. That’s important because a House/Senate conference report is generally un-amendable — and must be dealt with on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.
What this means, as a practical matter, is that we cannot afford for ONE WORD of gun control to pass the Senate — NOT ONE WORD. In the past, pro-gun Senators could have filibustered a gun bill and prevented it from going to conference (when it was suspected that conferees would take a relatively harmless bill and make it worse). But under the new rules, there is nothing we can do to keep a so-called “innocuous” gun bill from going to conference where legislators can then write the Feinstein amendment or a national gun registry into the bill.
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As you know, we believe that — while we can take nothing for granted