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Senate Leaders Obstruct Compromise Backed by Head of Emmett Till Justice Campaign and Senator Dodd

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Senate Leaders Obstruct Compromise Backed by Head of Emmett Till Justice Campaign and Senator Dodd
Senate leaders also object to bill to protect children from online porn, exploitation; Senate leaders insist bills must pass only in rejected omnibus package


As many of you know, the Senate Majority Leader tried to force through the Senate a $10 billion omnibus bill that created at least 36 new programs, many which are unneeded and all of which were unpaid for. It also contained some bills that every member of the Senate agreed were very worthy or had noble goals. The Senate rejected consideration of that bill because it did not reflect the priorities that most Americans believe Congress should be addressing at this time. On the bills on which Dr. Coburn supports the underlying intent, he has been working for months and, in some cases, years on ways to pay for the bills with offsets. When Dr. Coburn attempted to call up and pass these bills last night, the Senate Assistant Majority

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today after Senate Democratic leaders objected to civil rights legislation and legislation that would protect children from online porn and predators.

"By obstructing these compromise proposals to investigate unsolved civil rights crimes and protect children without borrowing more money, the Senate Leadership is denying justice to victims of the past, present and future generations. It is also sending a message that Congress defiantly refuses to live within its means and will not even consider paying for new spending by cutting wasteful Washington spending. What we have seen this week is a cynical ploy from Democratic leaders to use victims of crime, diseases and other calamities as props in a partisan political campaign. These tactics have embarrassed and discredited the Senate and helped reinforce its nine percent approval rating," Dr. Coburn said.

"The decision by Senate Democratic leaders to obstruct a compromise supported by Alvin Sykes, the President of the Emmett Till Justice Campaign and Senator Dodd, the sponsor of the bill, is deplorable and indefensible. The Emmett Till compromise would simply require Senate Democratic leaders to acknowledge that Congress should live within its means, like every American family. The compromise would require the Department of Justice to prioritize existing funds in order to fund this effort. This step was necessary because Senate Democratic leaders had no intention to fund this program this year, even as they accused me of obstruction and harboring other base motives," Dr. Coburn said.

"There is no reason for Democratic leaders to insist that these bills pass only in the context of their so-called ‘Tomnibus' bill that was soundly rejected and viewed as an exercise in demagoguery and mindless partisanship. Democratic leaders can now explain why they have drawn a moral equivalence between victims of civil rights crimes and online predators, on one side, and botanical gardens and War of 1812 commemorations on the other side. Senators were elected to set priorities and no normal person would say these causes deserve equal attention," Dr. Coburn said, adding that Democratic leaders have also linked the fate of the Emmett Till bill to a series of disease-specific earmarks that have been discredited by the head of the National Institutes of Health.

"Senate Democratic leaders also objected last night to legislation designed to protect children from online pornography and exploitation. Their only basis for objecting was their insistence that this legislation can only pass in a package that also includes legislation regulating the interstate commerce of non-human primates," Dr. Coburn said.

"I make no apologies for insisting that all new programs are paid for by reducing spending elsewhere. The American people elected us to make hard choices and live within our means," Dr. Coburn said.

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