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Reply #28: What Democratic Partisanship? Senate Republicans wrote the badly weakened stimulus bill [View All]

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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-12-09 10:57 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. What Democratic Partisanship? Senate Republicans wrote the badly weakened stimulus bill

And we didn't even need the three so-called "moderate" Republicans to get a better stimulus bill passed.

If the Republicans had actually organize a Senate floor filibuster on this legislation the Democrats had the following options.

1. Surrender to the filibuster and withdraw the legislation.

2. Agree to Republican demands and weaken legislation to the point of being ineffective. (They did that on a grand scale)

3. Let the Republicans filibuster until the public tired of Republican obstructionism and 60 Senators finally agree to end debate and proceed with an up and down vote for new legislation.

4. Use the so-called "nuclear option" in which the Senate simply and easily changes Senate rules which would require 51 votes to pass legislation and prohibit Republican filibuster.

So what really is the "nuclear option" which scared the crap out of Senator Reid and other Democratic Senators in 2005?

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In U.S. politics, the nuclear option is an attempt by the presiding officer of the United States Senate to end a filibuster by majority vote, as opposed to 60 senators voting to end a filibuster. Although it is not provided for in the formal rules of the Senate, the procedure is the subject of a 1957 parliamentary opinion and has been used on several occasions since. The term was coined by Senator Trent Lott (Republican of Mississippi) in 2005

The Nuclear Option is used in response to a filibuster or other dilatory tactic. A senator makes a point of order calling for an immediate vote on the measure before the body, outlining what circumstances allow for this. The presiding officer of the Senate, usually the vice president of the United States or the president pro tempore, makes a parliamentary ruling upholding the senator's point of order. The Constitution is cited at this point, since otherwise the presiding officer is bound by precedent. A supporter of the filibuster may challenge the ruling by asking, "Is the decision of the Chair to stand as the judgment of the Senate?" This is referred to as "appealing from the Chair." An opponent of the filibuster will then move to table the appeal. As tabling is non-debatable, a vote is held immediately. A simple majority decides the issue. If the appeal is successfully tabled, then the presiding officer's ruling that the filibuster is unconstitutional is thereby upheld. Thus a simple majority is able to cut off debate, and the Senate moves to a vote on the substantive issue under consideration. The effect of the nuclear option is not limited to the single question under consideration, as it would be in a cloture vote. Rather, the nuclear option effects a change in the operational rules of the Senate, so that the filibuster or dilatory tactic would thereafter be barred by the new precedent.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_option

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