WASHINGTON (CN) – Republicans took a bold step Wednesday to kill the health bill now before the Senate by forgoing convention and insisting that a 767-page amendment be read on the floor. “The goal is to defeat the bill,” South Dakota Republican John Thune said when addressing a group of reporters at the Capitol. “We’re prepared to do whatever it takes.”
Thune said that Republicans face diminishing opportunities to amend the bill, and are now working to defeat it.
The reading of the amendment that was proposed by Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, was expected to take the remainder of the day, but if Republicans continue to insist that amendments be read out loud before they are debated, the delay could last much longer and progress of the health bill could be crippled.
Floor staffers had been taking turns every half-hour to read the amendment, which calls for a fully government-run health care system.
Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn objected when Sanders requested on the floor that his amendment be considered as read. Considering the amendment as read is standard on the floor.
A frustrated-looking Sanders walked over to Coburn as the reading began, but the two did not appear to come to an agreement.
The incident followed a request by Coburn that all senators read and understand the entire health bill before voting on the legislation. Montana Democrat Max Baucus replied that he could not certify that all senators would read or understand the bill.
Sanders has since withdrawn his amendment.