DeMint Threatens Legislative Block Days Before Recess

In an act that epitomizes why the Republicans have recently been dubbed the "party of no," incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said Monday that he would place a hold on any and all legislation brought to his office that, by the end of the day Tuesday, had not been approved by both parties. With the Senate preparing to recess on Thursday, this means DeMint is giving Washington less than 24 hours to eke anything through before the November midterm elections.

This newest act of Republican roguery would mean that to advance anything, the Senate would have to "invoke cloture," Politico reports, which is a way to bring about a vote under strict time restraints—often just 30 hours—but, like a filibuster, it is a vote that requires 60 yeas to pass.

DeMint's tactic will make it a nuisance to try and pass anything, but in recent months several important bills have been brought to a cloture vote. In July the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed the Senate in a cloture vote. Last week, however, the Senate failed to pass the defense authorization bill, which included language to enable the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" in a cloture vote.

One important issue coming to a head this week is whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. Whether a decision on that will be affected by —or perhaps was an impetus for—this stunt remains unclear.

DeMint, who is up for reelection in November, is running a race against the Democratic and previously unknown candidate, Alvin Greene—a race DeMint must be confident he will win in order to pull something like this in the final week of congressional action before the election. Polls in fact show him way ahead of his opponent.