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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, we have been trying for days to get an agreement to have votes on the health care measure, which our friends on the other side have said is so important to the American people and must be acted upon before Christmas. Specifically, the pending Crapo amendment has been there since last Tuesday. It now becomes clear to me the majority simply does not want to have any more votes, presumably pending these discussions that are going on behind closed doors on a bill that almost nobody in the Senate has seen.
Therefore, I send a cloture motion to the desk on the Crapo amendment.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The cloture motion having been presented under rule XXII, the Chair directs the clerk to read the motion.
The legislative clerk read as follows:
We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the pending Crapo motion to commit H.R. 3590, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyers credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain other Federal employees.
Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, Judd Gregg, Lamar Alexander, Johnny Isakson, David Vitter, Sam Brownback, George S. LeMieux, Pat Roberts, Jeff Sessions, Bob Corker, John Barrasso, Jon Kyl, John McCain, Saxby Chambliss, Thad Cochran, Lindsey Graham.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Republican leader is recognized.
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I hope we can bring to fruition a consent agreement to allow us to begin to vote. Yesterday, against considerable opposition on my own side, I basically backed down and offered the consent agreement the majority leader had offered a few days ago, which would have allowed our Democratic friends to have a side-by-side with their own amendment on the issue of drug reimportation and a side-by-side with Senator Crapo's amendment on taxes. The majority objected, essentially, to the consent that they had previously offered a few days before.
I hope we can get back on track. The commitment was made by the majority at the beginning of this debate that we would have plenty of amendments. We had a process where we went from one side to the other, back and forth, smoothly. Either side was able to offer side-by-side amendments if they chose to. I think it is not fair to the American people--not fair to the American people to deny them the opportunity to have votes on what has been called the most important issue of our era, so important it has to be done before Christmas.
In the meantime, they are in some secret meeting, trying to come up with a bill that not only not all Senators have seen, not even Democratic Senators, but the American people have not seen it. We know what the core of the bill is. There are amendments the American people would like to see us debate and vote on and that is why I filed cloture on the Crapo amendment. Hopefully, we will not have to have that cloture vote, we can get back on track, as we were until things began to bog down midweek.
I yield the floor.
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