At least that’s what TPM reports:
Dems rounded up the votes they needed to break Coburn’s filibuster earlier this week, and spent much of the morning and early afternoon negotiating with him to prevent him from delaying passage of the legislation by several days.
Coburn’s price: a reduction of the price tag from $6.2 billion to $4.2 billion.
It is December 22nd: even Tom Coburn can’t delay a bill in the Senate all by himself, past January 4th — the last legal day of the session IIRC.
What happened? Most likely, Coburn agreed to be the stalking horse for the rest of the Republican Caucus, which was prepared to join him and perhaps sustain a filibuster. The question was whether the GOP could have resisted media scrutiny and generated enough false talking points to run out the clock. Finally, it decided that the answer was no — but the Democrats were worried that the answer might be yes.
Slicing the bill’s price tag meant that it extends over five years instead of ten. Does that matter? I would think so: a chronic illness doesn’t stop after five years because the federal funding runs out.
It’s possible, of course, that slicing the bill price made it better. But given Coburn’s transparently mendacious excuses in the past about it — there were no hearings (false) or that it was illegitimate to consider it in a lame duck session (false and fraudulent, since the GOP had prevented it from being considered earlier), it’s hard to take an argument like this seriously.
In any event, Coburn was able to water down the bill. Hopefully, this does not harm any of the first responders who risked themselves for his freedom. But just remember this the next time Republicans tell you how much they care about national security.