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Lessons from Saturday’s vote

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Matt Hawes
Campaign For Liberty

Sunday, Nov 22nd, 2009

Saturday’s night Senate vote is only the beginning of a long, complicated road Harry Reid’s legislation has to travel.

The vote on cloture passed 60-39, with Republican George Voinovich not present for the vote. There’s a couple points I want to make in light of today’s events:

#1- It demonstrates the need to turn up the pressure on those senators who publicly state they’re on the fence. The argument that you’re “going to vote to start debate on a bill but you still may not vote for it in the end because you’re not happy with it” is a cop-out – plain and simple.

You hold a much more considerable position of power when you prevent the bill from even being brought to the floor than you do when you allow it to be considered. If you claim to be unhappy with provisions in the bill, then you should work with leadership behind the scenes to change the bill so you can support it in good conscience.

Some senators have made headlines stating how they’re going to take a bold stand by bucking the party if the party delivers something they can’t agree with. Tonight demonstrates how easily those type of people cave in. Make no mistake, when you’re contacting your senator, if they voted for cloture, their vote should be treated as a vote in support of this plan. Don’t let them give you a bunch of bull in response about how they will block the final vote if they don’t agree with it; I’m pretty sure their excuse next time will be, “Well, I’ll just try to make sure these problems are fixed in committee, but this bill is too important to be stopped here.” Call them on it.

To reiterate, if they want to truly take a bold stand, then they will follow through on all their threats and oppose this bill until what they disagree with is fixed. The public debate has already started. We’ve been debating this bill for the last week. No matter what’s in the bill, you should have the courage to vote to bring it to the floor only if you actually believe in the legislation’s contents.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

But that requires taking a truly principled stand. That requires courage.

Help C4L turn up the attention on these swing votes by donating to our television ad campaign. We’re already running ads in Nebraska urging Senator Ben Nelson’s constituents to call him, and we want to expand to Arkansas and beyond.

#2 – Don’t let this bother you too much while enjoying time with your family this week. As previously mentioned, this is the beginning of a long, long process in the Senate. There’s still a lot of time to fight, and I have a feeling that this vote tonight will only build frustrations.

Another vote will have to be taken to even end debate and move for a final vote. Senators are coming home for the holidays soon. I think we should be there to deliver some Season’s Greetings.

This article was posted: Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 8:35 am

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