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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Griper Blade: Fracturing the Coalition

John Boehner cries It was a move worthy of Harry Reid. Assuming that an extension of key provisions of the PATRIOT Act would pass easily, House Speaker John Boehner put the bill on the fast track, suspending the rules to push it through so they could get right to work on such "job-saving" measures as defunding healthcare reform and shutting down Planned Parenthood. In doing so, Boehner had to raise the bar -- instead of needing a simple majority to pass, the bill needed a two-thirds majority to pass without amendments or debate. Turns out the Speaker's whip count was off a tad and the measure failed by seven votes.

Don't get too excited though. It'll be reintroduced the slow way and it'll pass. Then again, that's what everyone said about it this time. With the bill open to amendments and debate, it may be that opponents can either weaken the bill or insert a poison-pill amendment to give other members an incentive to vote against it. The clock is ticking. If the extension isn't passed, the provisions -- "roving" surveillance, so ability to snoop through personal records (including library records), and the ability to spy on people not affiliated with terrorists groups -- end on February 28.

Good news, to be sure. But the importance of this decidedly temporary defeat isn't the only thing that's being overstated here. Many are crediting the Tea Party with the defeat. The problem with this analysis: many 'baggers voted for the extension and, if you look at the number of those who dissented from their party, it doesn't actually add up...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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