Senate Democrats

Grand Obstruction Party Blocks Bipartisan, Non-Controversial Bills

Bush Republicans have engaged in unprecedented obstruction. They have used every delaying tactic available to them, including filibusters and secret holds. But Bush Republican efforts to block floor consideration of even bipartisan and non-controversial bills clearly reveals their strategy: block everything.  

Below is a list of the non-controversial, bipartisan bills blocked by Bush Republicans this morning.

ALS Registry Act. S. 1382, which would authorize $75 million for fiscal 2008 to create a registry with the Centers for Disease Control to collect and analyze data on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The bill was passed out of committee and has 67 bipartisan co-sponsors.

Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Act of 2007. S. 1233, as amended, the proposed “Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Act of 2007” – The Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s annual health authorization bill.  Among other provisions, it would allow 1.3 million middle-income veterans (so-called Category 8 veterans) to enroll for VA health care (the Administration prohibited these veterans from enrolling in 2003) and increase VA’s beneficiary travel reimbursement rate – from 11 cents per mile to 28.5 cents per mile, the first rate increase in nearly three decades, one that would be especially helpful to veterans living in rural areas. Of the bill’s 11 Senate co-sponsors, seven are Republicans.

Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007. HR 923, the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007 would authorize $10 million annually for the period of FY 2008 through FY 2017 for the Justice Department to hire special investigators to solve civil-rights murder cases that occurred before 1970. According to the FBI, there are about 100 unsolved homicide cases from that period. The bill passed the House overwhelmingly on a vote of 422-2. Of the bill’s 16 Senate co-sponsors, five are Republicans.

Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act. S. 1183, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act:  This bill is designed to hasten discovery of better treatments and cures for paralysis.  Currently, paralysis research is performed across multiple disciplines with no effective means of coordination and collaboration. Time, effort and valuable research dollars are used inefficiently because of this problem. Families affected by paralysis are often unaware of critical research results, information about clinical trials, and best practices.  The bill will help facilitate programs to improve the long-term health status of persons with paralysis and other disabilities by improving access to services, providing information and support to caregivers and their families, the development of assistive technology, employment assistance, and health promotion. The bill passed out of committee by voice vote.

Realtime Writers Act. S. 675, the Realtime Writers Act: The 1996 Telecomm law required that all English language television broadcasts be captioned by 2006, yet numerous stations around the country are not in compliance with the law.  As a result, 20 million deaf and hard of hearing Americans are left without access not just to entertainment programming, but also to news, weather and other emergency information.  The reason for the high rate of non-compliance is that the Federal Communications Commission has received hundreds of petitions from stations claiming that the shortage of captioners places an undue burden on them, and asking therefore to be relieved of their obligation to caption.  To address this shortage, S. 675 would create a competitive grant program to train close captioners and help ensure that deaf and hard of hearing Americans are provided equal access to television programming, as Congress intended in 1996. The bill passed out of committee with no debate, and with four Republican co-sponsors. The bill has passed the Senate by unanimous consent 3 times previously.