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

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  •  I don't know that they intend to resize them. (0+ / 0-)

    But they have. Many times.

    The last time there were more than 56 Democratic Senators (1993), the Agriculture Committee had 18 Senators. Now it has 23. Armed Services had 21, now it has 25. Banking had 19, now it has 21. Budget had 21, now 23. Commerce had 19, now 23. Energy went from 19 to 23 also.

    There's more, but you get the idea.

    •  yes. 1993. That was 15 years ago. (0+ / 0-)

      I am not convinced we have yet heard any convincing arguements for (or against) changes in size.

      It is possible and I agree it does happen from time to time, but as I understand it, changing the total headcount makes both the Chairman and the committee staff have a lot more work to do, something I suspect no one is looking for.  It also means typically more committee staff and resources required, something that costs money which no one can afford with the miniscule legislative budgets.

      My opinion is that they would not/will not change a committee size without a particulary compelling reason to do and right now that reason appears to be completely lacking.  

      Maybe Senator Leahy is thinking "what I need is a bigger committee.  I think Judiciary should be 24 members! And I want a taller chair AND a bigger gavel too!" <GRIN>

      but I doubt it seriously.

      But I think the key thing is how many of the GOP's most senior members will now be packing up and going home.  HS loses Domenici, Warner, Stevens & Sununu! That's a huge change.

      •  Yes it was 15 years ago. (0+ / 0-)

        It's also the last time the Democrats controlled the Senate with a ratio arguing for anything other than a 1 seat majority. The Senate Dems of the 110th had literally no choice in the matter of how committee seats would be allocated, so there was no mathematical need to change the size of any of the committees. All of them could -- though I don't know if they did -- stay exactly the same size, but with a one-seat advantage to Dems.

        Not hard to figure at all.

        But where a two-seat majority is impossible without changing the size of the committee, as on, say, Homeland Security (currently 9-8), what do you do? It's easy to say you go to 10-7, but that's only if the Republicans will allow you the three-seat majority. If they're intent on capping it at two seats and are successful in winning that negotiation, the size of the committee obviously would have to change.

        So it would. Because the committees change sizes. It happens.

        •  let's see. I don't think the GOP has enough (0+ / 0-)

          clout right now to win a fight that says basically "increase committee size so Tom Coburn can stay on Judiciary" -- I just don't see how they can make that arguement or win that fight.

          Committee size changes happen -- definately, but I'm not sure there is much chance of arguing in favor of that (increases, anyway -- Appropriations probably OUGHT to be smaller) --

          I think they do what they usually do -- precedent says that the ratio should match the party breakdown of the new congress and I suspect we shall see just that.

          But it's all academic until they actually DO that stuff.

          So let's give them a chance and talk about it once it has been decided.

          FYI:,
          BEST PART OF THE NEW SENATE:
          Tom Coburn loses his seat on Judiciary pretty much no matter what :) Gotta love that.

          •  Why not talk about it now? (0+ / 0-)

            That's what this is all about. Letting people know what could happen before it happens.

            What's wrong with talking about things that are "academic?" That's how you get better and smarter at what you do.

            You don't think the GOP has the clout. But they do. So we'll see. If they won't agree to allow three-seat majorities and they have the numbers to make you pay for holding out for what the math suggests, why wouldn't they make you pay?

            The only answer is that they don't want to be "seen as partisan." I think we both know that doesn't worry them a whole lot. Especially if the alternative story line is that the new Congress and President are both stalled in their first weeks in office, etc., etc.

            •  I'm just objecting to: (0+ / 0-)
              1. we don't know what Reid or McConnell have agreed to yet, so maybe let's not slam them just yet.
              1. the whole "we need 60 votes" meme is bogus and contrived and the more WE perpetuate it, the more the dumb media gets away with it.
              1.  I would like to see some evidence of proposed new committee sizes before deciding if they make sense. I'm just not convinced it's relevant if someone isn't proposing it.  They have happened.  The last time was 1993. We'll see what they do but right now, why would they?
              1. "Why wouldn't they make you pay?"  I don't disagree that the GOP is likely to do dumb shit.  They got, 'ya know, a track record full of dumb shit.

              I just don't think that they can VIABLY pull of a filibuster on the organizing resolution.  I have serious doubts about their ability to filibuster anything -- but we will see -- time will tell.

              My guess is that is a very empty threat and further, everyone KNOWS it's an empty threat.

              Let's see what they do.  With the old bulls like Stevens, Domenici & Warner gone, the GOP caucus is a very different animal this go-round.

              •  OK. (0+ / 0-)
                1. I'm not slamming.
                1. All of what I've written about the 60 vote threshold has been in the context of it being the "Myth of 60."
                1. You won't see that evidence until you read about it as a done deal in the papers. If you want to know what could happen before it happens, this is the only opportunity you'll have to discuss it.
                1. There you go.
                •  yeah, the "60" thing is really overblown (0+ / 0-)

                  and Roll Call is obviously doing their part.

                  I keep forgetting people actually read that tripe.

                  •  This is one instance where I'd buy it. (0+ / 0-)

                    There are very few other instances in which it's worth looking at partisan head counts as a direct prediction of cloture voting behavior.

                    And even then, it's not necessarily true.

                    But it's far more likely to be predictive than is calling a 60-seat majority "filibuster-proof."

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