Democrats Out to Thwart Senate's 'Dr. No'

Big bill combines measures all blocked by prickly Coburn
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2008 8:03 AM CDT
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., left, stumps for Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at a campaign event in Spartanburg, S.C., Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008.    (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – While the Senate has long been in the business of passing catchall “omnibus” legislation, now Democrats are trying out the Tomnibus, a bill loaded with measures that have all been blocked by one man: Tom Coburn, alias Dr. No. The Oklahoma Republican wields Senate procedure like a deathray—he is single-handedly holding up almost 80 bills, demanding more debate.

The Senate relies on unanimous consent to move most bills along. Coburn thwarts that consent, demanding spending cuts before new spending is approved. Democrats hope the bipartisan measures in the Tomnibus will embarrass him or convince Republicans to rein him in, but Dr. No isn’t easily cowed. “I am not a go-along, get-along guy,” says Coburn. “I take my oath seriously.”