Something has surely gotten into Richard Burr up there in Washington.
The likable former microwave oven salesman who played football at Wake Forest and moved from his House seat to the Senate seat vacated by John Edwards has for the most part been a pretty reasonable fellow. He's a reliably conservative voter with some interesting ideas from time to time, and usually he's willing to listen to opposing views and have a civil discussion on public issues.
But Burr is running for re-election this year, and it looks like he's come down with a dose of Potomac Fever that has clouded his usual judgment. As McClatchy Newspapers Washington correspondent Barbara Barrett reported Thursday, Burr has joined an angry Republican Party reaction to passage of a health care reform bill by refusing to allow a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to be held Wednesday. Burr, a member of the committee, invoked a Senate rule that prohibits committees from meeting two hours after the Senate has convened unless there's unanimous consent. That consent is usually a formality in a chamber once known for cordiality even among adversaries.
With his N.C. colleague Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, presiding over the Senate, Burr said, "I would have to object" on behalf of his party to holding the 2:30 p.m. hearing - despite the fact that generals had traveled halfway around the world to testify before the panel about Pentagon needs. Even Burr's colleague Sen. John McCain, a Navy veteran and former POW, wanted to go on with the hearing.
Curiously, Burr prefaced his remarks by saying he had no personal objection to the hearing going on. That's ridiculous. It was his objection that halted the hearing.
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