NAPS: S. 1789 Update: Doubt cast on future of the bill
Within minutes of the start of Senate consideration of postal legislation, the horrors of the Senate’s dysfunctional rules swallowed up debate on the postal measure this afternoon.
After nearly three-quarters of the Senate voted this morning to move ahead to consider postal legislation, one Senator — Rand Paul (R-KY) — threw uncertainty over the fate of the bill. Paul insisted upon his right to offer an amendment to the postal bill that reduces American foreign aid to Egypt, an amendment permitted under the wide-open amendment rules in the Senate.
The Democratic majority had intended to secure Republican waiver of the rule and limit amendments to only relevant ones. The disagreement (by one Senator alone) scuttled the majority’s plan. That could mean that the Senate stays gridlocked in procedural wrangling on unrelated amendments, and potentially unable to reach cloture (60 votes) cutting off debate. That would prevent postal legislation from coming to the floor.
Negotiations at the leadership level are proceeding on a potential set of amendments (by both Democrats and Republicans) that the Senate could consider. This could include a straight-up vote on going to five-day delivery that Sen. McCain indicated this afternoon he wants to offer.