Losing Gracefully in the US Senate

by Lou on September 11, 2006

Reuters reports that aides to Senate Republican leader Bill Frist say he is still trying to find a way to pass a bill to outlaw most forms of Internet gambling, but offered no guarantee that a deal could be struck before lawmakers recess at the end of September.

The report said Frist would like to bring up the bill under unanimous consent. Under this process, leaders from both parties agree to bring a bill to a vote on the Senate floor.

My own opinion is that if Frist is looking for unanimous consent as a condition under which he will bring this bill to the Senate floor, he is essentially doing so to give himself an out. He won’t get unanimous consent, and he knows it. And knowing it allows him to gracefully sidestep this bill while concentrating on other legislation he considers a priority.

It also allows him to bow out gracefully without ruffling the feathers of the bill’s sponsors. By failing to bring the bill to the Senate floor this way, he can take the loss without seeming like it’s a loss at all. Sounds very senatorial to me. What do you think?

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