Skip to comments.Democrats preparing for Jean Carnahan (D-Mo.) Defeat The battle has just begun...
Posted on 09/19/2002 8:28:11 PM PDT by jdontom
Democrats Preparing to Block Reorganization if Carnahan Falls
By Mark Preston
Senate Democrats are prepared to bring legislative activity to a screeching halt in a lame-duck session if Sen. Jean Carnahan (D-Mo.) is defeated in November, an outcome that would temporarily give Republicans control of the chamber before the 108th Congress is sworn in. Democrats have already mapped out a strategy to defend against a quick takeover by the GOP during a lame duck if former Rep. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) defeats Carnahan in the midterm elections, several sources said.
"By God, if Republicans think we are going to roll over while they try to jam through the harshest elements of the White House's right-wing agenda, they got another thing coming," said a senior Democratic aide speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Another top Democratic staffer added that the floor would be tied up in knots "unless the legislation is something we wanted, or agreed-upon items such as an appropriations bill."
According to most readings of Missouri law, should Talent defeat Carnahan, he would be eligible to be sworn in to replace her immediately because she was temporarily appointed to the seat until an individual was elected to fill it. The most recent independent poll, taken in early September, showed the race in a dead heat.
Republicans said they would move for Talent's immediate swearing-in if he wins and the Senate is still in session mopping up the unfinished business of the 107th Congress. His victory would give Republicans 50 votes and the majority, while Democrats could have no more than 49 votes.
Even if Independent Sen. Jim Jeffords (Vt.), who caucuses with Democrats, officially joined the party, Vice President Cheney - in his role as President of the Senate - would cast the tie-breaking vote for Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) to be Majority Leader.
"That is the way the rules work," said a senior Senate GOP aide. "It's not that we dislike her."
But Republicans would not have full operating control of the chamber under such a scenario. Democrats plan to prevent the GOP from passing a new organizing resolution to give Republicans control of the committees if they seize power in a lame duck.
"You wouldn't do an organizing resolution for a month," said Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.). "We didn't do that in January  when I was the Majority Leader for 14 days, so you wouldn't do it for a few days either. But she is not going to lose, so that is not a question we are concerned about."
While Lott would be recognized as the Majority Leader on the floor, his committee chairmen would consist of liberal Democrats such as Sens. Edward Kennedy (Mass.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.) and Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), who would still retain their one-seat majorities on the panels.
A Senate Republican leadership aide said such preparation shows that Democrats fear the worst in the Missouri race.
"The Democrats are so scared they are going to lose the majority they are beginning to plan for the loss of Senator Carnahan," the aide said. "It looks like they are getting ready for minority status."
A Democratic Senator, who asked not to be named, charged that Republicans are trying to raise money in the final weeks before the election by continuing to talk about the possibility of a lame-duck coup.
"First, she is going to win, and secondly we are not going to have a lame duck," the Senator said. "It sounds like something somebody is trying to do for a fundraising letter."
Still, some Republican Senators suggested the potential for a majority switch in a lame-duck session is leading to increasing support for a long-term continuing resolution if Congress fails to complete its work before it leaves for the midterm elections.
"What it all says is, you don't have a lame duck," said Senate Republican Policy Chairman Larry Craig (Idaho). "You have a lame duck to do things, and if they won't let anything happen, nothing gets done. So you don't have a lame duck."
"It would be very easy of them to obstruct," added Senate Minority Whip Don Nickles (R-Okla.), who favors a CR through February. "We have about 10 races across the country that are too close to call, so it is hard to see how you can get anything substantive done in that period of time."
A Senate Democratic aide agreed with the Republican leaders that a majority shift would be a "recipe for disaster."
"One thing is clear under such a scenario, we would never get anything done in the Senate," the staffer said.
Still, Republicans are taking the necessary steps to ensure that they wield the gavel should Talent win and the Senate returns to work after the elections.
"I have asked the question that under current law, if Jim Talent is elected in Missouri and certified, is the current Senator then able to be on the floor legally voting in a session following the certification?" Craig said of possibilities he has asked the Senate counsel to explore.
"Before we go out of session, I'll know clearly what should happen," Lott said.
Its high time for the Republicans to get some backbone. I though if Jim Talent won we had the Majority, look for Trent Lott to conceed the fight in favor of the war of terror...
Now, all we have to do is get a new majority leader because I seriously doubt if Lott has learned anything about how to act as majority leader.
Be assured Lott will concede anything and everything he possibly can. How much longer are the Senate Pubs gonna put up with that blow-dried weeny as their leader? All he knows about leading is how to lead the race to see who can cave to the Dems first.
Really! You mean like not passing wasteful spending bills or gouging the citizens with rip off tax increases. Sounds ok to me!
OH yeah? Little tommy still has some things to learn about the new and improved Bush #II.
After all, the DNC (headed by William Judas BenedictArnold Clinton's toady, Terry McAwful) is more properly known as the democrat NationalSocialist Committee.
And then that doddering simp "Vacant Lott" will promptly cede control to the dims, as he did in 2000. This clown is not only a discrace to the Republicans, he is a discrace to all upright-walking creatures with air-cooled gonads.
I heard Michael Medved say today that every Kennedy relation that was running this time lost.
IOW, the Fraud has already been bought and paid for. St. Louis and Kansas City 'rats had better do their job. Bring out yer dead!
To make a contribution to Jim Talent, former Congressman from St. Louis, running against current Senator Jean Carnahan (who was appointed when her dead husband narrowly "won" in 2000 election over John Ashcroft), click on the Link below or mail a check to the address below.
Jim Talent for Senate
9433 Olive Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63132
I don't know specifically what people wanted him to do. From 1994-2000, he had a Democrat President and at most 47-48 reliably conservative GOP members in his caucus. The GOP does not rely on central party fundraising as do Democrats, so there are few sledgehammers with which a GOP Senate Majority leader can force his will on the Chafees, Jeffords, Specters, Snowes, Collins and Roths who make up the GOP Senatorial caucus.
It didn't matter WHO was Senate Majority leader durng that period, they would have needed 60 votes to override a Clinton veto or to end a stealth Senate Dem filibuster on a politically popular bill that would have been impossible for Clinton to veto. Those were real, profound shackles on his power.
Nothing is going to change should Talent beat Carnahan, except that NOW there will be a President to SIGN a 54-46 bill that has conservative principles. But, no truly conservative bill will get through to Bush, because the GOP - even if EVERY Senate race goes their way - will have no more than 54 Senate members next session and that is short of invoking cloture to end assured Democrat fillibusters.
That's the way the Senate works. The Dems are in lockstep because they all depend on Terry McAulliffe to feed them the union, lawyer and pro-government PAC money that goes through the DNC. Arlen Specter and Lincoln Chafee can raise copious money on their own ... GOP constituents HAVE money to donate, unlike the aged, poor and stupid that make up the Democrat constituency.
Lott is a conservative. If he had 60 conservative votes, the world would be a very different place. He did a good job forestalling Clinton's schemes. He took his Constitutionally-mandated Senate review and confirmation duties seriously regarding Clinton's judicial and executive appointments, however. I don't bust on him for that. Leahy and Daschele are engaging in gross misconduct.
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