Y2K Vote Fails 53-45, Kerry Seeks Alternative

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18 May 1999, 10:40 AM CST By Robert MacMillan, Newsbytes. WASHINGTON, DC, U.S.A.,

Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, today told Newsbytes that the Clinton administration is the direct cause of the Senate's continuing failure to proceed to a vote on the Year 2000 litigation bill, while Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., told Newsbytes that he may introduce a competing bill by the end of Tuesday.

The Senate voted 53-45 on the cloture vote to move to S. 96, Sen. John McCain's, R-Ariz., Year 2000 litigation bill. Republicans needed 60 votes to gain cloture, failing by a margin of seven. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., voted with the 44 Democrats, while Sens. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., and Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, did not vote. No Democrats voted in favor of cloture.

"I can't tell you how disappointed I am," Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said. "This is a devastating blow."

McCain told Newsbytes that he remains defiantly optimistic that he can corral Democratic support. "(There won't be cloture) until the Democrats agree, but I still believe that the Democrats will come around to move on the bill," he said.

Senators may try to reach another deal to allow a motion to proceed to S. 96 later in the day, though Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., told Newsbytes that if cloture is invoked on S. 96, the Republicans will be able to shut down debate on the Juvenile Justice bill before Democrats can offer any more of their 25 remaining amendments.

As a result, Democratic Senators seeking to keep the Juvenile Justice bill from moving forward - either because they want to stall Republican amendments or because they want to offer their own - are likely to do whatever they can to other bills to continue to keep the debate open.

Kerry's alternative Year 2000 litigation legislation is still in the draft process at this time, the Senator said. He added that he had run the hypothetical bill by some industry representatives who found a number of problems in it. As of this morning, he proceeded from the cloture vote to a meeting with technology representatives to work on different versions of a bill.

Offered along with Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., who continues to insist he favors passing some sort of Year 2000 lawsuit legislation, Kerry said that the bill would be more favorable to Democratic interests that so far have prohibited McCain's measure from coming up for a vote.

Democrats, led by Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, D-S.C., continue to object to provisions in the bill that they say protect big businesses from the necessity of owning up to Year 2000-related problems in software or other high-tech equipment they produce.

Bennett said that many Democrats would support the bill, but simply are carrying water for the Clinton administration, which is trying to front Vice President Al Gore as a Democratic presidential candidate running against a do-nothing Congress.

If the administration can delay action on the Year 2000, Juvenile Justice, bankruptcy and emergency supplemental reform legislation, Bennett said, Gore can use Republican reaction to Democratic snarling in his favor.

"Superficially, they'll be right," Bennett said.

The Senate may resume consideration on a further motion to proceed to S. 96 today, but only if the semblance of a bipartisan deal begins to take shape.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said that Daschle is willing to consider moving back onto the Year 2000 bill after consideration of the Juvenile Justice measure.

Lott has threatened to close down debate on Juvenile Justice by tonight.

Reported by Newsbytes News Network, http://www.newsbytes.com .

10:40 CST Reposted 10:52 CST


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Leave it to the politicians to make a bad situation worse. *Sighhh*

-- regular (zzz@z.z), May 18, 1999




-- chuck, a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), May 18, 1999.

Nope - the American Trial Lawyers Association has bought the White House. They, the ATLA, oppose the restictions in the bill on lawyers fees (1000.00 per hour), and the cap on punitive damages - since the trial lawyers get a cut of the damages awarded.

And Clinton remains putty in their hands, the Democratics follow Clinton, and the media suck off of both their waste.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), May 18, 1999.

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