If there was a theme to Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s 2012 campaign to the U.S. Senate it was the idea that she is a pragmatic leader who would help cut through obstruction in Washington D.C. to get things done. On her still-active campaign website Heitkamp said there are “too many extreme politicians in Washington” who hold the country “hostage to advance their narrow political agenda.”
But all that happened back when Democrats controlled the Senate. The Heidi Heitkamp who is a member of the Senate’s minority party feels much differently about the filibuster. Earlier this year Heitkamp helped her fellow liberals filibuster the Department of Homeland Security budget a half dozen times.
Tonight Heitkamp voted with her fellow Democrats to filibuster the Defense Appropriations Bill.
We can debate about the merits of the bill – Republicans want to do an end-run around sequestration caps on military spending, Democrats want to do an end-run around those caps on pretty much every other type of spending – but for North Dakotans it is remarkable to observe how differently Heitkamp is governing compared to have she campaigned in 2012.
Especially when you consider that Heitkamp’s filibuster in this instance is in support of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s plot to gum up the entire appropriations process for Republicans.
Again, Heitkamp said there are “too many extreme politicians in Washington” who hold the country “hostage to advance their narrow political agenda.”
Now here she is, in Washington D.C., taking hostages.
By the way, the Senate hasn’t passed a regular appropriations bill since 2009. The House, meanwhile, has passed 6 of 12 yearly appropriations bills so far in 2015. These bills have to pass by September 30, the end of the federal fiscal year, to avoid a government shutdown.