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GOP Extends Senate Talkathon

November 14, 2003|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Saying 30 straight hours wasn't enough, Republicans vowed to keep the Senate open overnight again Thursday in an attempt to pry conservative jurists loose from Democratic filibusters.

President Bush, lending his voice to the effort, accused Democrats of "shameful" inaction on his judicial nominees.

The talkathon was supposed to end at midnight Thursday. But Republicans added nine hours to take them through 9 a.m. today, when they set filibuster votes on three nominees.

Some of the freshmen Republicans, like Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina and Norm Coleman of Minnesota, said they hadn't had much chance to speak in the talkathon and asked for the extension. "I never dreamed that in a 30-hour debate, you'd have to fight to get two minutes," Graham said.

He also threatened to sue to change Senate rules if the GOP couldn't break the filibusters, which most senators agreed wouldn't happen. "I don't see a way out," he said. "Nobody's going to change their votes."

Republicans insisted there was no precedent for refusing to allow votes on Bush's judicial choices. Democrats said the GOP-led Senate was championing judges who do not represent American mainstream views.

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