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one lone figure outweighs the rest on an imbalanced scale
By now you've heard that Republicans filibustered the motion to proceed to the student loan bill. And yes, I could have used shorthand there and just said that they had filibustered the student loan bill, without noting that it was actually the motion to proceed. But there's a reason I point that out. Remember the "gentleman's agreement" that emerged from the filibuster reform fight at the beginning of the 112th Congress, back in January 2011? That deal was supposed to mean a cutback in the number of filibusters on motions to proceed. Of course, Republicans will say that the other side of the deal was to cut back on the number of times amendments have been blocked by "filling the amendment tree," and since that number hasn't gone to zero ... well, there you go.

Not that this wasn't predictable. After all, what leverage did Senate Democrats leave themselves for enforcing the agreement, given that they renounced the use of the "constitutional option" as part of the larger deal? And yet, as with so much else, the response seems to have been asymmetrical.

How asymmetrical? Get this: From the time of the invention of the cloture rule, during World War I, until the end of the Reagan administration, there were a total of 385 cloture motions filed. That's a span of about 70 years. But in the five and a half years since Republicans lost control of the Senate after the 2006 elections, there have been 359 cloture motions filed.

In fact, today's cloture vote was on the 83rd cloture motion filed in the 112th Congress. That's the third all-time highest number of cloture motions ever filed, and it's only May. And what two Congresses are the only ones ever to see more cloture motions filed? Well, it's the last two: the 110th and 111th. The two immediately following the Republicans' loss of control of the chamber.

Just something to keep in mind.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Harry Reid sent me (8+ / 0-)

    He told me to tell you that you're just misunderstanding the Republicans intentions. They really are working in good faith, they just need a LITTLE more. You understand, right?

  •  Filibuster reform when will a Dem Sen champion it? (3+ / 0-)

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:32:55 PM PDT

  •  Maybe they'll accidentally OD... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    •  his artwork's a lot stronger than valium (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thomas Kinkade, the “Painter of Light” whose collectible works were beloved by fans and bemoaned by critics, died of an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription tranquilizers, officials confirmed to the Associated Press. A combination of Valium and alcohol was the cause of the painter’s April 6 death, the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office said Tuesday.

      slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

      by annieli on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:52:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  From what I understand (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vidanto, David Satterlee

    the Dems wanted to pay for this by taxing all small business income (3 shareholders or less) as payroll.

    So if I want to invest my hard-earned money into my own business, I have to pay SS etc on my profit, but I wouldn't if I invested in someone else's business.

    That is ridiculous, and exactly the wrong thing to be doing right now to really small businesses.

  •  It's only going to get worse (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vidanto, wasatch, Egalitare, cybersaur

    If Lugar's defeat can be seen as a message that co-operation will not be tolerated.

    Response: If you "got it" you wouldn't be a republican

    by JML9999 on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:39:46 PM PDT

  •  If Romney wins ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wasatch, Egalitare

    and the R's take the Senate, we'll be damn glad we have the filibuster.  Just sayin'.

    Of course, you can count on the R's being more ruthless.  They'll have no qualms about ending the filibuster if they control everything.  

  •  Crime (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Satterlee

    The republican lack of patriotism, there mean spirited willingness to sell our country down the river to block and damage Obama is really something they have not suffered for at all politically but deserve to. I can only hope that
    congress's 13 % approval rating bites them on the ass and
    they try to elect more tea party kooks that lose in November.  I want to do more than hope though, I want to be effective helping the cause where I can a bit.

  •  When I run for Senate, I'm running as a Republican (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because I won't have to do any work!

    Voting Republican is a luxury that very few Americans can afford.

    by Says Who on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:49:04 PM PDT

  •  To fix America's political system, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kaliope, OjaiValleyCali, cybersaur

    We first need to fix the filibuster system. Or rather, remove it entirely.

    16 years old, proud progressive, Phillies phan.

    by vidanto on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:51:56 PM PDT

  •  If the Rethuglikans Don't Get (3+ / 0-)

    what THEY Want, then Nobody Gets Anything.

    And as We All Know, When Nothing Gets Done,
    The Rethuglikans will Blame President Obama.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:52:45 PM PDT

    •  That's what's happening this minute in CO (0+ / 0-)

      The Republicans recessed the House with a deadline tonight of midnight for any/all bills.  If they aren't on the floor before midnight, they miss the session.  Why did the Republicans recess with 20+ bills on the docket?  Because they didn't want to discuss the Senate approved and governor backed Civil Unions bill.

      Not sure of the rules, but the news I read basically said the Republicans were going to filibuster rather than deal with the bill and if everything else went down the tubes with it, so be it.

  •  my seething contempt for the republican (8+ / 0-)

    party is becoming a problem. that party is made up of nothing more than liars, traitors, and thieves. i'm starting to have a hard time, even amongst my friends who still vote republican "because those senators and reps don't really mean what they have been saying", trying to keep my anger in check. i'm tired of listening to these "people" talking about how stupid i am, how they have to take care of my vagina, how that man in the white house is a secret bogeyman of some sort, that liberals are "ruining their country", that hispanics are murdering everyone south of the mason dixon line, that gays are making heterosexuals get divorced, that no taxes & no regulations will get people back to work,  and on, and on, and on. My contempt for this rhetoric is just oozing out of me. i need to stop watching the news or else i'm going to end up punching some old white guy in the face at the grocery store....

    will it ever stop?

    Earth: Mostly harmless ~ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (revised entry)

    by yawnimawke on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:54:03 PM PDT

    •  Know exactly what you mean, yawn. I have (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wasatch, ColoTim, yawnimawke

      several lifelong friends who are bona fide rocket scientists (one with a PhD from MIT) with whom I can barely speak because they thought it was reasonable for Sarah Palin to be a 70+ year-old heartbeat away from being President.  And I'M ill-informed? Puhleeze!!

      “There is much to be said in favor of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.” Oscar Wilde

      by Hanging Up My Tusks on Tue May 08, 2012 at 08:17:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you are "friends" with a Rethug, you are alone (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in that relationship. Go get some new friends. That's what I did.

      In fact, I hand out "handbills" saying stuff like that. Also, that if someone is a Republican, s/he doesn't exist in my life.

    •  I've pretty much stopped talking to a guy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      who is a right-winger who also was a Palin supporter.  His cube is right across from mine and we've known each other for a dozen years, helping each other with numerous things.  I just can't talk with him because the talk seems to make its way around to politics and we're just at opposite ends of the spectrum.  Rather than fight him, I'm just trying to ignore him as much as possible.

    •  Punching old white guys (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Um, some us old white guys have been very good liberals since our hippie days stuffing daisies into gun barrels. Many of your grandparents were there first, led the way and now've got your back. And, you gotta love those FDR new deal guys too, even though they're now pushing daisies from under forgotten markers.

      Gosh, I had so much fun today. The customers at my oil-change place had a TV tuned to FOX News in the waiting room. I spent the better part of fifteen minutes making smart-ass comments to my sweet petunia and she didn't even elbow me in the ribs. I was so proud of her. She is always afraid I'm gonna get punched in the face.

      •  (snicker) you're right. it would be my luck (0+ / 0-)

        that the one old white guy i punch in the face would be a dem. i live in a very republican county so it's like swimming in a sea of sludge every where i go. but the karma gods would probably not be on my side for a random face punch. i know i have to keep it cool, it's just getting harder and harder to do. especially when i hear these guys whining and moaning about how awful i am. i mean, really, now they are complaining that i shouldn't vote because i have a vagina...honestly...FACE PUNCH!!!! ;)

        Earth: Mostly harmless ~ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (revised entry)

        by yawnimawke on Tue May 08, 2012 at 10:26:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  But the good news is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi, squarewheel, lotlizard

    the Democrat's powder is so dry!

    The problem for the Republicans is that they can't get scientists to figure out how to get women to give birth to more old white guys.

    by jazzmaniac on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:56:18 PM PDT

  •  Repubicans would filibuster a filibuster (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    if they could figure out how to do it.

  •  So, what was the cloture number between 1988. . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    . . . .and 2006?

    the fact that you're right is nothing more than interesting

    by Egg on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:58:51 PM PDT

    •  I answered my own question. Link below (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wasatch, ColoTim

      I'll have to cross-check my memory with the actual composition of the Senate (R) and the President (D), but it's clear that once it became a tactic vs. mere outrage.

      Peruse the chart and you can see that motions filed (there has to be a or threatened filibuster before you file the motion) went to 60 in the first year of our first black president ('93-94) and haven't come down since.  I'm supposing the filibuster strategy became, in that year, a standard, not just a tool.

      Ahh,  progress.  

      the fact that you're right is nothing more than interesting

      by Egg on Tue May 08, 2012 at 08:14:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  10% of Population stops the other 90% (6+ / 0-)

    The 20 least populated states have about 10% of the total US population. 40 of the votes in the US Senate to filibuster are held by these states. Filibuster is not a constitutional measure, simply a rule of the Senate. The check to protect small states from the power of big states, was never intended to make government entirely dysfunctional.

    The past, present, and future are equally compelling; none of the three are easily understood.

    by Grey Panther on Tue May 08, 2012 at 08:00:52 PM PDT

  •  Students don't want cheap loans .... (0+ / 0-)

    They want jobs when they graduate

  •  and this particular issue and vote (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    only highlights the reprehensible lengths the GOP goes to to basically destroy democracy.

    McConnell has said both parties agree that they're absolutely not going to allow the interest rates to go up. They just differ on the payfors. And he attacked the Dems for a "show vote", and Obama for not getting together in a room to negotiate a deal.

    But the House has already voted on and passed a rate extension bill, with their own payfors.

    So, when you have one of the strongest veto points there is, control of the House, why can't you allow an up or down vote in the Senate, let it go to the House to be voted down, then take the whole thing to conference and negotiate, like you want to??

    Instead, they can't even allow debate in the Senate.

    This is the worst kind of use of the filibuster—not only to prevent policy you oppose, but also to ignore, even subvert, the democratic legislative process that will actually get you to your preferred endpoint: a negotiated deal.

    David: is there something about the conference process that would work against the GOP here?  Like points of order and limited amendments? I don't know that those should advantage either side, because the two bills contain pretty much what both sides want, and if they come up with new ways to pay for it, either both sides are going to allow it in, or not.

  •  image url - hope it works (0+ / 0-)

    this is what republicans did in Senate May 8th

    Following Bush and his neocon war cabinet Mitt Romney’s foreign policy vision is the same “more enemies, fewer friends” doctrine. Of Romney’s forty identified foreign policy advisers more than 70 percent worked for Bush.

    by anyname on Wed May 09, 2012 at 01:17:10 AM PDT

  •  I still think the biggest mistake Dems made (0+ / 0-)

    after Obama won the presidency was to not kill the filibuster.  If they had, they would have gotten a LOT more done before 2010 and the rethug takeover election wouldn't have gone nearly so badly (imo).  

    Which would have also kept more state legislatures sane or at least semi-balanced and prevented the disastrous redistricting that occurred in far too many states from being as extremely gerrymandered as it became.

    Atheism is a religion like Abstinence is a sexual position. - Bill Maher, 2/3/2012

    by sleipner on Wed May 09, 2012 at 10:04:22 AM PDT

  •  What are we taxpayers paying these people for? (0+ / 0-)

    Seriously!  How messed up (I would use stronger language if I could) is our democratic, supposedly freedom-loving country when the people we elect to represent us in the United States Senate to debate and vote on issues of national importance aren't even allowed to debate and vote on anything unless the minority says it's o.k.?  We really need to seriously consider some kind of serious filibuster reform that can slow down but not entirely derail debates and votes on issues and maybe even passing some kind of law (if it isn't filibustered to death) levying fines on lawmakers whom are found to be abusing the filibuster and all of these other procedural tactics, particularly when it comes to regular Senate business (i.e. nominees, judgeships).  This state of affairs cannot continue to exist IMHO.

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