Tea Party Caucus votes to keep secret holds

The three founding members of the Senate Tea Party Caucus voted against a rule change Thursday that would end senators' ability to use secret holds.

Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) were three out of the four senators to vote against a resolution outlawing the practice. The other was GOP Sen. John Ensign (Nev.). The rule change, which passed 92-4, was part of a packaged rules proposal brought before the Senate. 

The vote was one of the first examples of cohesion by the small Tea Party Caucus, which convened for the first time earlier Thursday. The senators indicated they are willing to vote against even the most widely-supported measures before the upper chamber.

Secret holds gave senators the ability to anonymously stall legislation or the administration's nominees. 

DeMint objected to a measure brought forth last year by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) that would have eliminated the practice. 

"There are a lot of pressing issues that we face as a country," DeMint said at the time. "But one of them is not secret holds."

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