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Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Senate's "Dr. No"

The Senate has some truly quixotic rules. One of them is that any Senator can put a hold on any piece of legislation. Sen. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma, who ironically is a doctor doesn't like any legislation that doesn't help corporations or rich people. He's using that rule to prove it over and over.

Soon after the devastating earthquake in Haiti the U.S. passed legislation donating $1.25 billion to aid Haiti. None of the money has been spent yet because Coburn objects to $1 million of the amount being spent to administer the funding. He has also put a hold on compensation awarded by the courts to black farmers for discrimination by the Agriculture Department in the 1950's and 60's. Ironically he is being supported by Michelle Bachmann who's family farm received $250,000 in subsidies from the same department.

An award to American Indians for mismanagement of trust funds by the Department of the Interior is also receiving the same treatment despite the Department receiving a lambasting from the courts. A much needed Food Safety bill is receiving the same treatment from "Dr. No".

Today, Coburn received a "worst person in the world" award from Keith Olberman for his action on the Haitian relief bill. This will no doubt only spur him to do the same more often.

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