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Fri Jan 11, 2013, 11:49 AM

How To Destroy the Filibuster



Republicans say they’ll block Chuck Hagel and Jack Lew. Democrats are using that threat to change the filibuster.

By David Weigel
Posted Thursday, Jan 10, 2013, at 11:18 PM ET

On Wednesday morning, most business reporters confirmed Barack Obama’s next choice to lead the Treasury Department: White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew. Within hours, the same reporters got a statement from Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Budget Committee and a man who’ll have some say over whether Lew gets the job.

“Jack Lew must never be secretary of the Treasury,” Sessions said. During Lew’s short time as White House budget director (a role he held in Bill Clinton’s administration, too), he’d testified that the president’s numbers would start reducing the deficit. That was a “false assertion,” Sessions said, and “we need a secretary of the Treasury that the American people, the Congress, and the world will know is up to the task of getting America on the path to prosperity.” He would oppose Barack Obama’s nominee because the nominee had a dangerous amount in common with Barack Obama.

Sessions’ outrage was manna to an unexpected group of people: Democrats. For months, a group of freshman Democratic senators have been trying to nail down 51 votes to reform the filibuster. On Jan. 22, when the Senate votes on this congressional session’s rulebook, they’ll need to keep that group together. Every time a Republican threatens an Obama nominee, their job gets easier.

“It really does highlight how the intentional paralysis of the Senate, through the use of a filibuster as a party tool, has gotten out of hand,” says ...

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http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2013/01/filibuster_reform_republican_attacks_on_barack_obama_s_nominees_is_making.html?wpisrc=newsletter_rubric

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 11:58 AM

1. Funny, when was the last time we actually had a budget pass

instead of all these stopgap spending measures?

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 12:10 PM

2. If the filibuster isn't serverely restricted (get up and talk at least!!) we'll have ...

... two more years of gridlock.

But if that happens, the R's will lose, lose, lose in 2014.

Two-edged sword.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 12:52 PM

3. The current filibuster rules badly need change.

Let's go back to the original practice of actually having to get up and speak to prevent a vote. Until then, what is to prevent the president from appointing an acting Sec of Treasury or SOS and skipping the whole confirmation process entirely?

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Response to mysuzuki2 (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:39 PM

5. He can't...unless the Senate recesses

They've gotten pretty good at keeping the Senate "in session" at all times to avoid that situation.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:11 PM

4. The Dems had the chance to change the rules on the first day of the new Congress and Reid opted to

wait until the end of the month to try and vote on changing the rules. We'll see how that works for him. If filibuster reform doesn't get passed the Dems will have no one to blame but themselves since they had the simple majority needed to get the rules changed on the first day.

If nothing gets accomplished during this session 2013-2014, I will blame the Dems since they've known for a while what they are up against, and they have chosen to maintain the status quo in the Senate under the premise that they may someday be in the minority. Well the way to assure a return to minority status is to do NOTHING while the nation continues to putt putt along and middle class wages remain stagnant while the 1% continues to grab a disproportionate share of the nation's wealth, college grads still can't find jobs, Wall St. continues to gamble in the derivatives market and speculate in the commodity's market driving up food prices, until everything crashes and burns, again.

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Response to politicaljunkie41910 (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:41 PM

6. No they didn't...

...because they didn't have the votes. They need 51 and there are some oldtimers (Levin, Baucus, Pryor, etc) who want another "handshake" agreement.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 04:27 PM

7. What I mean is they had the opportunity to do so, whether Reid was successful in pursuading the

55 Democratic members of the Senate is another question. However, I don't think that even Reid was 100% sold on changing the filibuster rules in the days leading up to the start of the session. He seemed to be waffling on it himself. If he was firmly behind it, he could have told the public to call your Senator and let your voices be heard; let them know that they need to vote for a change to the filibuster rule. Instead he kept saying that he was reviewing the rules to see what they can do. Next thing we hear, he's pushing it off until the end of the month.

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Response to politicaljunkie41910 (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 07:18 PM

8. Let me put it to you this way...I've spoken to him personally about this.

He's pissed that McConnell screwed him over with the "Gentleman's Agreement" from two years ago. But he's also aware that getting things done requires more than Alan Grayson-type bluster.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 07:52 PM

9. Since you're such good friends with Senator Useless from Nevada

How about asking him how much he relishes holding the job of Senate Minority Leader?

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Response to Creideiki (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 11:45 PM

10. Explain to us all how your approach would have achieved a different result...

We'll wait

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