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WASHINGTON -- Congress has dealt for decades with catchall bills known as omnibus legislation. Now, for the first time, comes the Tomnibus.

A product of Democratic frustration with the tactics of Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican and physician who has become the Dr. No of the Senate, the Tomnibus is a $10 billion collection of Coburn-blocked measures assembled by the Senate leadership in an effort to break his solitary grip on the legislative process.

Engineered by Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, the bill includes 35 of the most irresistible-sounding measures stuck on the docket, with the Mothers Act and the Protect Our Children Act among them.

There are items to commemorate "The Star-Spangled Banner" and to try to curb pornography, cut drug use and help victims of Lou Gehrig's disease. Officially known as the Advancing America's Priorities Act, the catchall legislation includes a measure to try to improve life for victims of paralysis, a provision that Reid calls the "Superman" bill in tribute to the late Christopher Reeve.

The obvious intent is to apply legislative Kryptonite and embarrass Coburn into dropping his procedural objections to the measures while highlighting his willingness to put roadblocks in front of bills that have support from all corners -- a textbook case of what Democrats view as extreme Republican obstructionism.

Well, as they say, good luck with that.

"I am not a go-along, get-along guy if I think it is the wrong way to go," Coburn said, not stating anything his peers did not already know. "I am OK taking the consternation of my colleagues. I take my oath seriously."

Sexually transmitted disease lectures

Coburn, a 60-year-old family practitioner, blazed a career as a thorn in the side of both parties after arriving in the House as part of the Republican revolutionary class of 1994. He was a top anti-abortion crusader who conducted regular workshops for young staff members on sexually transmitted diseases, complete with graphic slide shows. He continued to deliver babies while he was in the House, but after moving to the Senate in 2004, he found himself in a long-running battle with ethics officials over whether he could moonlight. In the Senate, Coburn has continued down his singular path, driving Democrats and some Republicans to distraction with his prolific use of the "hold" -- the ability of a single senator to object to moving ahead on a measure without a debate. At the moment, he has holds on nearly 80 bills, the most of any senator.

Coburn's approach is problematic when it comes to the mechanics of the Senate because most of the chamber's work gets done by what is known as unanimous consent, an agreement among all parties to let a bill pass without a fight since full debate and votes on even the simplest matter can consume days.

Democrats say that by thwarting unanimous consent with his aggressive application of holds, Coburn is practicing a procedural tyranny of one, blocking popular legislation that has bipartisan Senate support, has easily cleared the House and has received committee review. They say it is time for him to ease up.

"Why in the world does the Republican leadership allow itself to be bullied by the rogue far right of its caucus, which has perfected the art of stopping good bills that help good people?" Reid asked. The No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Richard Durbin of Illinois, said Coburn's approach was well within the rules but far outside the bounds of collegiality. "The Senate really depends on people getting along with one another and agreeing you are not going to abuse the right to stop the train," Durbin said.

Democrats say Coburn is also exaggerating the potential costs of the bills he blocks; most of the proposals would require a second round of approval before any money was shelled out.

Aggravates his own party

But Coburn, as is his wont, begs to differ. He said the Senate was shirking its duty by failing to give closer review to the hundreds of bills that slide through by unanimous consent. And he said Congress should not be clearing the way for billions of dollars in potential new spending -- even on meritorious projects -- without making reductions elsewhere. Fearful of the public debt piling up, he said he wanted the opportunity to at least propose those cuts.

"We ought not be borrowing and expanding the federal government unless we get rid of stuff that is not working," he said.

As an example, Coburn points to one measure Democrats included in the catchall legislation: opening a cold-case unit at the Justice Department to investigate unsolved civil rights cases that occurred before 1970. Its sponsors say Coburn's opposition is delaying the unit while the ranks of witnesses thin because of the passage of time. Coburn said he supported the unit but wanted to pay for it by cutting back on what he sees as excessive Justice Department spending on professional conferences.

Coburn acknowledged that he had aggravated some in his own party by slowing their bills; Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska was outraged by Coburn's attacks on projects in his state. Democrats purposefully included several measures in the catchall bill that were written primarily by Republicans in an effort to entice them into breaking the Coburn holds.

A procedural vote on the bill could occur as early as today.

Reid, in trying to break the legislation free, is not only seeking to embarrass Coburn, but also trying to put pressure on Republicans to either repudiate their colleague or side with him at the expense of their own measures. At the moment, though, many Republicans appear reluctant to join with Reid, leery of helping the majority roll over Coburn when they themselves might want to exercise the hold option later.

Studies up on procedural rules

Coburn has studied up on how to protect his own rights. He consults regularly with an expert on Senate floor procedure and forces Democrats to adhere strictly to the rules, a tactic that Democrats say does little but inconvenience his colleagues to no real gain. For instance, Coburn on Saturday refused to give unanimous consent to waiving a routine vote preceding the main vote on the catchall legislation, forcing what Democrats consider a meaningless roll call before the showdown on overriding his holds.

Some of Coburn's colleagues are strong supporters, saying his insistence on a fuller debate has improved bills and saved money.

"I think Coburn is one of the hardest-working senators and maybe one of the smartest," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. "People who read a bill and have constructive suggestions ought to be respected rather than criticized. What the Democrats want to do is intimidate people to give unanimous consent, and that is not in the tradition of the Senate."

Even some Democrats have a grudging admiration for Coburn's determination, and they distinguish him from other Senate archconservatives whom they see as more interested in gumming up the works. They point out that he has shown an occasional willingness to make concessions, as he did after months of effort with Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., on a genetic nondiscrimination law. And he has worked with Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, a fact that the Democratic presidential candidate has proudly referred to when talking about his ability to reach across the aisle. The two even shared a hug when Obama returned to the floor recently.

But Coburn is admittedly not in the Senate to win a popularity contest.

"It is easy to vote on something that sounds good," Coburn said. "It is hard to stand against it and say there is a bigger principle.""I am not a go-along, get-along guy if I think it is the wrong way to go."

SEN. TOM COBURN, R-Okla.