GOP blocks Senate committee meetings

March 24, 2010 at 6:12 PM

WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) -- U.S. Senate Republicans blocked committee hearings for a second day Wednesday to protest moving a package of healthcare law fixes by special budget rules.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., asked for consent to conduct a hearing Wednesday afternoon, but Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., objected, The Hill reported.

Republicans also blocked an afternoon meeting of the Homeland Security Committee Contracting Oversight Subcommittee led by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

"What a ridiculous notion that we've got to come beg the minority party so we can have a hearing on the police contracting in Afghanistan," McCaskill said.

Republicans have been picking and choosing which hearings could be conducted, the Washington publication said, such as a Homeland Security Committee hearing on the nomination of Robert Harding to lead the Transportation Security Administration.

The tactic drew sharp criticism from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who called the effort obstructionist as the chamber prepared for a "vote-a-thon" for several dozen GOP-sponsored amendments to the package of fixes to the healthcare law.

The parliamentary procedure, called reconciliation, requires only a simple majority to pass legislation and blocks filibuster attempts.

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