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Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:09 AM

The Senate filibuster could end today using a rare timing.

For six years, Democrats in the Senate have chafed at an unprecedented abuse of the filibuster by Republicans, who have used the practice to hold up nominees high and low and require a supermajority for virtually every bill. But now that they finally have an opportunity to end much of this delay and abuse, Democrats are instead considering only a few half-measures.

When the Senate returns on Tuesday, it will still technically be in the first legislative day of the session, which means only a simple majority is necessary to change the rules for the rest of the session.

With the support of 51 senators, the rules could be changed to require a “talking filibuster,” forcing those objecting to a bill to stand and explain their reasons, at length. The current practice of routinely requiring a 60-vote majority for a bill through a silent objection would end, breaking the logjam that has made the chamber a well of inefficiency and frustration.

Several younger senators, led by Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tom Udall of New Mexico, say that if pressed, a majority of the Senate would support their plan for the talking filibuster. But older senators aren’t so sure, and have reportedly persuaded Harry Reid, the majority leader, to back off the idea. With the experience of having been in the minority themselves, these Democrats are fearful of losing a powerful tool should Republicans ever return to power in the chamber.

That would squander a moment for change. Supermajorities were never intended to be a routine legislative barrier; they should be reserved for the most momentous bills, and the best way to make that happen is to require that objectors work hard for their filibuster, assembling a like-minded coalition and being forthright about their concerns rather than hiding in the shadows or holding up a bill with an e-mailed note.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/opinion/a-chance-for-the-senate-to-fix-the-filibuster.html?smid=re-share

44 replies, 3685 views

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Reply The Senate filibuster could end today using a rare timing. (Original post)
Ichingcarpenter Jan 2013 OP
realFedUp Jan 2013 #1
Ichingcarpenter Jan 2013 #3
realFedUp Jan 2013 #7
Scuba Jan 2013 #2
Cosmocat Jan 2013 #13
cartach Jan 2013 #31
RandiFan1290 Jan 2013 #4
drm604 Jan 2013 #5
klook Jan 2013 #12
PoliticAverse Jan 2013 #6
JCMach1 Jan 2013 #8
bigtree Jan 2013 #9
PoliticAverse Jan 2013 #16
riqster Jan 2013 #21
Pryderi Jan 2013 #28
MannyGoldstein Jan 2013 #10
RandiFan1290 Jan 2013 #11
n2doc Jan 2013 #14
another_liberal Jan 2013 #15
DryRain Jan 2013 #18
another_liberal Jan 2013 #30
PoliticAverse Jan 2013 #20
another_liberal Jan 2013 #29
PoliticAverse Jan 2013 #33
another_liberal Jan 2013 #36
woodsprite Jan 2013 #17
DryRain Jan 2013 #19
Bucky Jan 2013 #22
another_liberal Jan 2013 #32
Inuca Jan 2013 #34
silvershadow Jan 2013 #23
Comrade_McKenzie Jan 2013 #24
SCVDem Jan 2013 #25
ReRe Jan 2013 #26
RevStPatrick Jan 2013 #27
UnrepentantLiberal Jan 2013 #35
Cleita Jan 2013 #39
a2liberal Jan 2013 #41
Dragonfli Jan 2013 #43
awoke_in_2003 Jan 2013 #44
bonniebgood Jan 2013 #37
Kablooie Jan 2013 #38
Javaman Jan 2013 #40
bucolic_frolic Jan 2013 #42

Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:12 AM

1. Let's Get 'Er Done

Use the momentum and undo the GOP crap we've lived with for the last decade.

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Response to realFedUp (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:15 AM

3. Harry Reid needs to take the ball and run

today is the day

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:20 AM

7. Give 'em hell Harry!

I know you can do it.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:15 AM

2. If they fail to fix the filibuster because some Dems are afraid ...

... of what the R's will do should they get back in power, they are incredibly naive.

The R's aren't going to play nice, no matter what the D's do now. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:10 AM

13. Right

if the next go around, the Rs get a 51 to 49 majority, is there any doubt that at 12:01 am, Mitch McConnell won't have them taking this vote?

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Response to Scuba (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:23 AM

31. It's up to the Dems to set the tone now for the future.

If they don't on this one important move you can expect them to back down on future ones and their credibility will go down the drain.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:16 AM

4. I predict business as usual

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:18 AM

5. Regarding the concerns about what happens should the Republicans gain a majority.

Given the current Republican mindset, if they gain the majority they'll make this rule change anyway, regardless of whether or not we make it now.

By not making the change now, we'll handicap ourselves while leaving them open to make the change should they gain power, and being handicapped now makes it more likely that they will gain power.

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Response to drm604 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:09 AM

12. Excellent point.

Why the hell can't they see this? Maybe a few hundred thousand more phone calls this morning will change their minds.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:18 AM

6. "Democrats are instead considering only a few half-measures." - Is Reid going to repeat his error

and squander this opportunity ?

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:24 AM

8. Seems like he might... for no good reason...

don't think for a second the Republicans wouldn't change it if the shoe were on the other foot.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:24 AM

9. it's just a handful of Democrats preventing this; the leader not among them

He's bound by the votes he can count.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:23 AM

16. Like the case of Boehner in the House if you can't get sufficient votes for a bill you support

from your own party it calls into question your leadership ability.

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:30 AM

21. Not really

In the current paradigm, it points more to the electorate's choices of right-leaning Senators.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:00 AM

28. Do we know who they are? n/t

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:56 AM

10. There will be a rules change that will do little

"We tried, but those mean Republicans still couldn't be stopped..."

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:59 AM

11. They are just too good!!

Nothing can stop them!

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:11 AM

14. I'll believe it when it happens

too many times, too many times. do or shut up, Reid.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:18 AM

15. I am also fearful . . .

I am also fearful of a full removal of the filibuster. As the article noted, we may need it again some day.

A change to "Talking filibuster" only, sounds like a great idea. That would limit its use but leave it as a last ditch option.

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Response to another_liberal (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:24 AM

18. But there's NO PROPOSAL to fully remove it.

 

Indeed the current proposal is to restore it to what it used to be, more or less.

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Response to DryRain (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:19 AM

30. Quite right.

There is little support for getting rid of the option entirely.

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Response to another_liberal (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:25 AM

20. 'No filibuster' isn't being discussed. The most radical proposal is to return to the talking one. nt

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #20)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:17 AM

29. Hardly radical . . .

"No filibuster" has been discussed at length over the last few months, but that option will not be brought up for a vote. In my opinion, that is a good thing.

The so called "talking filibuster," on the other hand, is hardly radical, it is actually the only means of filibuster the Senate recognized for most of our history.

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Response to another_liberal (Reply #29)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:25 AM

33. Which senators are pushing no filibuster ?

The Merkley proposal apparently surported by 48 senators returns the talking filibuster.

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #33)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:30 AM

36. Which Senators . . .

Last edited Tue Jan 22, 2013, 12:25 PM - Edit history (2)

I do not recall which individual Senators wanted a complete repeal, though I have read articles which noted the possibility was lately being kicked around by members of the Democratic majority in the Senate. Luckily, more moderate heads prevailed.

Sorry, but I do not have a link.

"You can look it up."

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:23 AM

17. They also need to stop anonymous holds. n/t

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Response to woodsprite (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:25 AM

19. I think that's a part of the current proposal.

 

If I am not mistaken, and even Reid has spoken in favor of getting rid of that.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:32 AM

22. They've already announced they'll filibuster the SecDef nomination.

Obama's gonna look like a chump if Reid lets that happen. They already said we're gonna abuse it again. Having the filibuster in the Senate is like giving your junkie brother who's crashing on your couch the rent money and asking him to please drop it all off at the landlord's this month.

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Response to Bucky (Reply #22)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:24 AM

32. Republican wisdom . . .

Republican wisdom decrees that when one is losing popularity due to one's obstructionism, the way to turn things around is to find more ways one can be yet more obstructionist.

We'll see how that works out for them.

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Response to Bucky (Reply #22)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:25 AM

34. No, I don't think they announced that n/t

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:37 AM

23. I will be on the horn when phone lines open this morning. This MUST get done. nt

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:46 AM

24. I will lose all respect for Sen. Reid if he doesn't take this opportunity.

 

House and Senate rules are so convoluted and twisted.

It needs to be a streamlined process.

Introduce. Debate. Vote.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:47 AM

25. The Filibuster

A cowardly way to avoid talking about something, or a rarely used weapon of last resort.

Cowardly bastards won't even discuss bills they used to support.

Their obstruction must be punished by removing the silver bullet from their gun.

The bullet of course is the fillibuster.

Now GET TO WORK!

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:48 AM

26. What's up with Harry Reid, anyway?

He did not seem well yesterday. I was afraid he wasn't going to make it on the walk out to the balcony yesterday at the Inauguration. He didn't smile once. He didn't even finish a toast to PO at the luncheon. He looked like he would rather be anywhere but there.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:54 AM

27. But the Republicans have NOT ONCE USED THE FILIBUSTER!!!

 

They've only THREATENED to filibuster.
If they want to filibuster, make them stand up and read the phone book every time.
I don't think anything in the rules needs to really change.
Just make them STAND THE FUCK UP AND ACTUALLY FILIBUSTER!

More ridiculousness...

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:28 AM

35. The real reason Democrats don't want this

 

is with the way it is now they can avoid passing progressive legislation that will anger their corporate sponsors and blame it on the Republican Party. This is all a game put on for voters who know they have no choice but to vote for the lesser of two evils.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #35)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:45 AM

39. +10

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #35)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:58 AM

41. +1000

No desire to lose the convenient "the mean Republicans made us do it" excuse for serving corporate masters...

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #35)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:45 AM

43. Agreed, this is Reid doing his Washington Generals act, now watch

him drop the ball today in his usual scripted fashion, as hilarity ensues, the republicans will pull his pants down, a blue dog will "accidentally" trip him up further, and all will laugh as Meadowlark Turtle scores an impressive three pointer.

Sometimes the show is better than the three stooges.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #35)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 12:34 PM

44. Bingo. nt

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:33 AM

37. I get so damn tired of hearing the defeatist attitude by democrats

"when we are in the minority again we will need the filibuster". Which is to say, even though the repug
are in the dessert, we will still lose next time.
They had the damn filibuster during eight years of bush and how many times did they use it?
To my memory ONE. Weak ass, paid off asses democrats cant even
email a filibuster. Scared of Rush and fox noise.
I will believe it when i see it.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:42 AM

38. If they don't change it, it will signal tha the Dems are still timid and weak.

And the GOP will go for their throats.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:57 AM

40. Let's see if they actually deliver.

I'm the skeptical cynic.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:09 AM

42. Incremental change is best

Yes, I would fear the fillybuster would be unavailable when
Democrats are in the minority. Not that they have the guts to
use it.

But silent filibustering is not working. Even if they required at least
3 Senators of the other side to present their case for 2 hours each
it would be an improvement.

I'm also concerned about all the riders to bills, these secret corporate
benefits that are slipped in at the last moments. Pandering to the cash
campaign contributions.

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