In December, senators finally took up a National Defense Authorization Act, but couldn't offer amendments. Reid apparently feared an Iran sanctions amendment would easily pass with bipartisan support. By blocking that effort, Reid also prevented Senate debate on the U.S. role in the Syrian crisis, Afghanistan and the fight against terrorism. Those are serious omissions verging on neglect of duty.
Republicans are not the only ones affected. The Times noted Sens. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., had major amendments derailed by Reid's tactics. Gillibrand's amendment regarded sexual assault cases in the military; Klobuchar's sought repeal of an Obamacare tax on medical devices.
Democrats often portray the House as being controlled by tea party “fringe” Republicans. But based on the actual results — last year's government shutdown notwithstanding — it looks as if those supposedly extremist lawmakers are much better at actual governing and consensus-building than the Democratic leadership of the Senate.
And Republicans are making sure the public knows it.