Mike Johanns opposes filibuster rules change

2011-01-06T16:15:00Z 2011-01-06T19:32:04Z Mike Johanns opposes filibuster rules changeBy DON WALTON / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com
January 06, 2011 4:15 pm  • 

Sen. Mike Johanns said Thursday he opposes Democratic efforts to place some procedural limits on the use of Senate filibusters that block or delay legislation.

But, he said, he would support a rules change eliminating secret individual senatorial "holds" that sometimes block consideration of legislative bills or presidential nominations.

A proposal that would retain the 60-vote requirement to end debate and move to a final vote on legislation, but remove the three-fifths threshold from Senate motions to proceed to consider a bill, makes no sense, the Republican senator said during a telephone conference call from Washington.

Neither, he said, does a proposal requiring filibustering senators to maintain their filibuster through constant oratory on the floor of the Senate.

"Requiring someone from Nebraska to go to the floor and speak until they pass out (is) no way to legislate in a thoughtful way," Johanns said.

Looking ahead to the new Congress, Johanns said he will reintroduce his bill to repeal a new business tax reporting mandate in the health care reform law and said he expects to be actively engaged in helping shape the 2012 farm bill.

The health care provision requires businesses to report purchases of more than $600 for tax purposes. It was designed to help raise revenue to pay for the health care legislation.

Johanns said the anticipated new revenue could be replaced by money in "unexpended (federal) accounts."

Repeal of the tax reporting provision would "show a renewed commitment to job creation in 2011," Johanns said. 

"Telling our business owners and ag producers that we're committed to removing obstacles to their growth would start off the new Congress on the right foot," he said.

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and former U.S. secretary of agriculture, Johanns said, he is positioned to be an active participant in shaping new farm legislation.

"I can contribute to that effort," he said.  "It's a good piece of my work ahead." 

Reach Don Walton at 402-473-7248 or at dwalton@journalstar.com.

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