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View Diary: The bit of reality behind the Myth of 60 (202 comments)

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  •  This really is a big part of the post, though. (0+ / 0-)

    The math says three seats. But Republicans say they'll filibuster any organizing resolution that enshrines the math.

    So that's the negotiating position. Yes, you're "entitled" to a three seat majority. But take a two seat majority instead, or we'll block the organizing resolutions. And if you don't have an organizing resolution in place, it could make confirming Obama's cabinet very complicated and slow.

    •  adding one seat will give us +3 on some (0+ / 0-)

      committees.  It is a good point on "what happens to 8.97 seats" -- it's hard to know where they will round things.

      Looking at the history of the Senate, I can't remember which one, but one of the early Clinton-year congresses was 58/42 in the Senate.

      I would guess that we will end up with committee ratios at or very close to that 58/42 congress, taking into account that some committees have grown slightly since then.

      When we were in the minority, we bargained for seats the same way.  It happens.  Nobody likes to lose.  

      Just because Reid isn't "turning the screws" yet doesn't make him a bad guy.

      •  The 103rd was 57/43, briefly. (0+ / 0-)
        •  that's the one I was thinking of. (0+ / 0-)

          And I imagine that will be the basis for the ratio negotiations.

          •  I'm sure that'll be the Dem starting point. (0+ / 0-)

            But that won't make it the Republican one.

            They have as leverage our need to get the committees in place to handle cabinet and other nominations, plus a pressing legislative schedule.

            I'm sure they had that in the 103rd, too. But then again, they didn't have quite the same lineup of Republican dicks.

            Here were the results of 1993's organization:

            Ag: D+2
            Approps: D+3
            Armed Svcs: D+1
            Banking: D+3
            Budget: D+3
            Commerce: D+1
            Energy: D+1
            Enviro: D+3
            Finance: D+2
            For. Rel: D+2
            Gov. Affairs: D+3
            Judiciary: D+2
            Labor: D+3
            Rules: D+2
            Sm. Business: D+2
            Veterans: D+2
            Indian Aff: D+2 (with R co-chair)
            Intel: D+1 (with R co-chair)

            •  it's interesting how it shook out in 1993. (0+ / 0-)

              I would expect something similiar this go-round.

              And I would not give to much credence to McConnell's very obviously empty threats.  He's going to coral Collins, Snowe, Specter, Graham & Coleman to filibuster an organizing vote on Day 1?


              Other than Roll Call reporting on this stupidity, it's a myth.  It won't happen.

              Looks to me like the D+3 committees are the ones that were expanded in 1993, is that correct?

              •  I don't know how empty it is. (0+ / 0-)

                He might not ever have to get to a filibuster. McConnell's refusal to work seriously on committee agreements to this point has already set important work back behind schedule. The longer he holds out, the more desperate for a deal Democrats become. If January 6th rolls around and there are still no agreements on ratios, much less actual names and assignments, he will have accomplished much of his purpose. And holding out just a little bit more doesn't even require the cooperation of Collins, Snowe, Specter or any of the others.

    •  I haven't really heard that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Obviously, there will be a lot of posturing pre-organizing resolution but the fact of the matter is the Senate generally stays pretty close to existing precedents.  I think it will be very hard for McConnell to hold his entire caucus to oppose ratios that are clearly supported by previous precedent.  People like Snowe, Collins, and, to a lesser extent, Specter or Voinovich won't want to be perceived as excessively partisan so will likely signal they will support a ratio based on percentage.  It's actually in their best interests, they don't want to throw precedent overboard or they risk House 2/3 - 1/3 ratios whenever one party has enough votes to push it through.

      In the end, I suspect any negotiations will likely be about preserving staff funding rather than Committee ratios.

      •  You haven't heard it? (0+ / 0-)

        It's right in the Roll Call story. Now you've heard it.

        •  Not from any Members (0+ / 0-)

          I meant I haven't heard it except in an unsourced assertion by some Roll Call reporter.  Fact is, filibustering an organizing resolution is an extraordinary step.  Without precedent on their side, it's not an easy case to make to moderate Members.

          •  If Repubs filibuster organizing resolution ... (0+ / 0-)

            that would be the time for the Democrats to assert majority rule.

          •  It's not that extraordinary. (0+ / 0-)

            We basically did it in January 2003. And as a matter of fact, Lieberman played a central role in that drama, refusing to relinquish the gavel of the Homeland Security committee and allow confirmation hearings for Tom Ridge to go forward until a deal was hammered out.

            So not only is it not unprecedented, but Lieberman has used the failure to pass a superseding resolution to hold onto the gavel in the past, which is of some tangential interest here.

            •  We didn't in 2003 (0+ / 0-)

              We threatened to filibuster if we didn't get ratios that reflected the composition of the Senate.  We're talking about the exact opposite here, Rs would have to filibuster if they didn't get ratios more favorable than the composition of the Senate.  Certainly, there's nothing stopping them from being unreasonable; I'm just saying it's not at all clear they're going to do it.  I suspect that when McConnell canvases his caucus several moderate Rs will balk at the prospect of breaking precedent.

              I suspect it breaks down as sort of a short term vs. long term analysis for Republican Members.  In the short term, it would be nice to have better ratios.  In the long term it would be better to have established precedent to avoid abuse and a better working relationship.  Many Members of the Republican caucus have showed their willingness to sacrifice the long term interests of the party for short term gain, but not all.  With a margin this small, McConnell has to hold essentially everyone and some of the old guard, like Snowe or Specter might not be willing to go there. Of course, I could easily be wrong.  

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