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Grayson: Require 55 votes to invoke cloture, not 60.

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t0dd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 09:14 PM
Original message
Grayson: Require 55 votes to invoke cloture, not 60.
Alan Grayson launched a website over the weekend for people to sign a petition to Harry Reid to change the rules of the Senate. The new rule would require only 55 votes to invoke cloture instead of 60.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE: http://stopsenatestalling.com

Why should launching wars and cutting taxes for the rich require only 50 votes while saving lives requires 60?

Join me in calling for an end to this unfair system. Tell Majority Leader Reid to modify the rules of the Senate to require only 55 votes to invoke cloture instead of 60. Fill out the form below to sign the petition today!

Dear Majority Leader Reid:

Our party was elected in 2008 with a mandate from the country for major change, from saving the economy to fixing health care. Since then, the House of Representatives has worked hard to pass this ambitious agenda, only to see it stalled by no-mongering Republicans in the Senate. Just the list of bills passed by the House and now waiting in the Senate runs to three pages, single-spaced.

The Senate argues this is a result of their different procedures. The House requires a majority vote to pass legislation, while the Senate supposedly requires a supermajority of 60. But this rule of legislative procedure apparently only applies to Democratic initiatives that help ordinary people. Throughout the administration of President George W. Bush, the Senate passed much of its key legislation by majority vote:

* The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 passed 54-44
* The Energy Policy Act of 2003 passed 57-40
* The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 passed 51-49
* The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 passed 54-44
* The FY2006 budget resolution and Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 passed 52-47
* The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act passed 55-45
* The FY2007 budget resolution passed 51-49

Today, under the administration of President Barack Obama, the House has passed bills preventing climate destruction and reforming our broken health care system, while the Senate searches for 60 votes in the face of Republican obstruction. Every day the Senate delays, more people die from lack of health care.

The filibuster should apply to the initiatives of both parties or to neither. Why should launching wars, and cutting taxes for the rich, require only 51 votes while saving lives requires 60?

Since the Democrats regained control of the Senate, Republicans have abused the filibuster rule like never before. Until 1970, no session of Congress had more than ten votes on cloture to end a filibuster. Until 2007, the record was 58. But since Democrats regained control of the Senate, filibusters have skyrocketed. The last session had a new record of 112.

The filibuster does not appear anywhere in the Constitution. If the Founding Fathers had wanted it, they would have included it. Instead, this undemocratic rule allows small-state Senators representing as little as 11 percent of the country to thwart the will of the other 89 percent. In 1975, the Senate reduced the number of votes needed to end a filibuster from 67 to 60. Now, with the Party of No blocking majority rule on virtually everything the country needs, we need to do it again.

We therefore call upon you to end this unfair system by using your power as Majority Leader to modify the rules of the Senate, to require only 55 votes to invoke cloture instead of 60. Only by doing so can we end delay that has held up so much crucial legislation, and enact the agenda that we promised the American people that we would enact.
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 09:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. Why allow cloture at all? 51 votes is 51 votes - why should some asshole be allowed to stand in
Edited on Mon Nov-23-09 09:16 PM by ddeclue
the way like that?
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t0dd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 09:28 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. I agree. His petition does not go far enough. nt
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-24-09 06:47 AM
Response to Reply #4
12. Signed & recommended.
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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 09:18 PM
Response to Original message
2. The last session had 112 filibusters! but not one single real one. (that I know of.)
come on Mr Reid. For goodness sakes, why not just hand it all back over to the republicans if you're going to let them run the senate!
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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 09:20 PM
Response to Original message
3. oh, and Thank-you for this POST. Get it kicked and sign this everyone!
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IRemember Donating Member (118 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 10:15 PM
Response to Original message
5. keep this kicked! k&r nt
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beyurslf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
6. 67 for cloture? I had no idea it was that high. Could you imagine that now?
We never have another law passed in the Senate.
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tritsofme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 10:40 PM
Response to Original message
7. How many of those bills were passed under budget reconciliation?
Edited on Mon Nov-23-09 10:55 PM by tritsofme
Which required only 50+1 for passage? Looks like several of them.

They would have liked to make those tax cuts for the rich permanent, but lacked the votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster.

The fact that many of these tax cuts will now expire is actually an example of why the filibuster is a good thing.
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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 10:43 PM
Response to Original message
8. Bad idea, just require a 'REAL' fillibuster- no more of the virtual BS
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backscatter712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. There is no such thing as a "real filibuster" anymore.
There's no Mr. Smith Goes to Washington scene of Senators reading from the phone book.

Instead, it's one Republican showing up, saying "I suggest the absence of a quorum," and all the Democrats have to be there to show that at least 50 Senators are in the chambers, otherwise, the Senate is adjourned, and the chamber sits empty. Filibustering is easy for the Republicans.

Maybe if the Senate rules were changed so filibusters were harder, so they required a senator to actually be speaking in order to leave debate open, or they fixed the rule that allowed for unlimited debate which the filibuster games to begin with (instead of unlimited debate requiring a supermajority cloture, make it a supermajority to close a debate in the first 72 hours, then after that, make it a simple majority vote), then we can prevent douchebag minorities from hijacking the Senate to thwart the will of the majority.

And before anybody objects and says the filibuster can be used for good, let me ask: Where? Where was the filibuster of the PATRIOT Act? Where was the filibuster of the Iraq War Authorization, or of Alito & Roberts, or of FISA? Filibusters work for the right wing and for the corporate puppetmasters. They're a ridiculously poor tool for defending freedom and democracy.
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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Exactly, Senate needs to change the rule back... now they essentially have a 'virtual'
fillibuster where votes are counted, but there is really no fillibustering going on.

Call me Conservative dammit, but make 'em talk until they drop.
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-24-09 05:54 AM
Response to Original message
11. However many votes to invoke cloture should always be 1 less than Democratic votes.
No reason to be hypocritical.
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backscatter712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-24-09 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. The number of votes to invoke cloture should have been 50%+1 from the beginning.
Edited on Tue Nov-24-09 12:21 PM by backscatter712
The filibuster has always been an antidemocratic abomination, and should have been squelched by the Founding Fathers. One of their mistakes.

All filibusters enable is tyranny of the minority.

You really think they protect democracy? How'd that work when FISA, the PATRIOT ACT, Alito, Roberts, etc. fucking etc. were up for a vote?

The filibuster really is a poor tool for protection of democracy, and a powerful tool for repressing it.

Just. Fucking. Kill it.
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Vinca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-24-09 06:49 AM
Response to Original message
13. Maybe rather than changing the number of votes needed,
there should be a rule about how many times a filibuster can be used in a session. Just a thought. Someday we'll be in the minority again and I hate to think what Republicans would steam roll through.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-24-09 07:44 AM
Response to Original message
14. Better yet, let's define 49 votes as the majority and then we'll never lose
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