Milligan: Bill Frist is Losing It

DES MOINES – Today, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is visiting Iowa, perhaps facing questions about his failure to get legislation passed in the U.S. Senate.  Frist has repeatedly lost a number of battles with Republican Senators, failing to pass legislation on the repeal of the estate tax, immigration, the Dubai Ports World Deal, and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) drilling.

“It looks like Bill Frist is losing his clout as Majority Leader.  On issue after issue, Frist has failed to get enough Republican votes to pass legislation.  Perhaps this is a signal that Frist’s legislative priorities are out of touch with American priorities,” said Iowa Democratic Party Executive Director Mike Milligan.

Frist Is Repeatedly Losing Battles With GOP SENATORS

Estate Tax; Forced to Delay Vote.   Frist “delayed a vote on legislation to permanently reduce the estate tax, although he vowed to hold a vote on the bill this year. The effort to permanently reduce the tax comes after the Senate rejected a full repeal during a procedural vote in early June.  So far, Frist has been unable to round up enough votes to overcome a filibuster on the estate-tax reduction bill, which the House passed.” [Congress Daily, 7/1/06]

IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION: Frist “Out-Maneuvered” By Specter and Bipartisan Group of Senators on Immigration Reform. Frist “may have been out-maneuvered by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter and a bipartisan group of senators who are pushing a bill that, along with beefing up border security, would allow millions of illegal residents to apply for citizenship.” [Los Angeles Times, 3/31/06]

DUBAI PORTS WORLD:  Frist Announced He Was Behind Bush on Ports Deal, White House Believed He Would Block Opposition In the Senate; Two Weeks Later Had to Tell Bush He Couldn't Get It Done.  On February 26, Frist said "My comfort level is good [with the port deal], but I have 99 other United States senators who need the opportunity to ask their questions .We're behind the president 100 percent. We believe the decision in all likelihood is absolutely the right one." According to the Daily News, "the administration believes Frist will stop any bills [to block the deal] from coming to a vote." On March 9, however, Frist and Hastert held a White House meeting with Bush to tell him that the port deal would not pass either the Senate or the House, and would need to be withdrawn. [Lexington Herald Leader, 2/27/06; Daily News, 2/28/06; AP, 3/9/06]

ANWAR DRILLING: Frist Could Not Deliver on his Promise to Open the Arctic Nation Wildlife Refuge to Oil Exploration After Republican Senators Defected.  After Frist gloated that he had the votes, “Democrats joined by two Republicans staged a filibuster to block $453 billion in defense appropriations because the measure included authorization to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The defense appropriations bill later passed stripped of the drilling authorization.” [Boston Globe, 12/22/05]

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