Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act

Floor Speech

By:  Thomas Coburn
Date: June 13, 2012
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COBURN. I wonder if I might ask the leader a question through the Chair. It would seem to me the process we are planning now is that the leader is deciding what amendments we will vote on and what we will not. I wonder if he would be open to the consideration of us sending up 40 amendments over the next 4 days and coming to an agreement on this, because what we are playing now is a game of low priority amendments versus high priority amendments in the name of saying we are doing something rather than having an open amendment process, which is the tradition of the Senate. My question to him is would he be amenable to have a discussion on a much larger number of amendments so we don't continue to get out of order? This is the first time I remember seeing this list, and this is a very low priority amendment for many.


Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I take the leader at his word. I will go back to my caucus and explain that I object to this group of bills, but I would also note we did get two amendments out of the way. The one amendment on sugar that had the potential to pass wasn't the one we chose.

So I come back to the point, never in the history of the Senate, with the rate at which we see now, did we give up our rights to allow the majority leader to decide what amendments will be voted on or offered. In fact, for the last 3 days, we could have had a great open process of having the floor open for amendments and moved 8 or 10 amendments a day. I understand the conflict. I understand what he is trying to do, and I understand the political ramifications of that.

I will go and seek the counsel and guidance of my caucus and return and give the leader's message.

With that, I object.


Mr. COBURN. If the majority leader would yield, I think the leader could eliminate motions to proceed very easily by saying that every bill that comes to the floor will have an open and honest debate determined by what colleagues and Members would like to debate, but we have not seen that. That is not just the Democratic control of the Senate; we have seen some with the Republican control of the Senate as well.

We are not going to solve that problem now. I will take counsel with my caucus, and I will get back to the leader.


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