Senate Republicans Block The Voices Of A Majority Of Americans, Blame Democrats

September 22, 2010 11:44 am ET — Fae Jencks

After effectively blocking a vote on the DREAM Act and repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, Senate Republicans took to the floor to ludicrously blame the Democratic leadership for "closing off the voices of the American people." Watch:   

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS):

And the governed, as everybody knows today, is extremely upset, and it's because their voice is not heard. Why is their voice not heard? Well, in the 110th Congress in the House of Representatives, only 1% of the bills were brought to the floor with open amendment rules. 99% of the bills that reached the Senate from the House had little or no input from the minority.

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH):

As a practical matter, this attempt to foreclose debate on core issues of public policy, such as a defense issue, such as spending by shutting the floor down through filling the tree is really undermining not only the Senate and its role but the whole constitutional process and the right of the people to be heard.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN):

That these voices that we hear across America are heard on the floor of the United States Senate and the defense authorization bill, which is being debated today, is a perfect example of why I say the Senate is deteriorating to a shadow of its former self by closing off the voices of American people by denying their elected senators an opportunity to — to have a full debate on the issues facing them.

Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT):

Wait a minute, cloture on the Defense Authorization bill becomes the key vote on an immigration issue? That's the situation that we have come to as we — we get this kind of procedure. And it — very clearly, as the senator from Tennessee has made — made clear says the voices of the people on the legislation in which they have an interest are not being heard because of this procedural activity. And that's why I've joined in this colloquy to raise my voice in protest to the way this is being done.

The hypocrisy of these senators is stunning. While they claim that Democrats are squelching the voices of the American people, the Republican minority — quite literally — prevented these very voices from being heard by blocking amendments that hold widespread public support.

According to a Rasmussen poll released today, a full 78% of Americans believe that service in the military should lead to a chance of citizenship for children of illegal immigrants and 52% believe completing two years of college earns children that right, provisions that the DREAM Act would make reality. Support for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is similarly widespread. According to a May CNN poll, 78% of Americans reported that they favor allowing gay men and women to serve openly.

When it comes to listening to the voices of the American people, it seems clear that on these issues, the Republicans are tone deaf.