Skip to main content

Senator Sessions, the Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, speaks at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol.
Keep talking, Sessions. It's helping your opponents.
As Joan McCarter wrote yesterday, when Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions declared Jack Lew "must never be secretary of the treasury" it served as a reminder of the urgency of filibuster reform. The issue wasn't simply that Sessions was coming out against Lew, it's that Sessions was making the case that Lew must be blocked at all costs, and under current Senate rules, it would only take 40 Republicans to do exactly that.

Today, in an interview with Slate's Dave Weigel, Oregon Sen. Jeff Markley, who has led the fight to reform the filibuster, used Sessions as exhibit number one to illustrate the urgency of reform:

“It really does highlight how the intentional paralysis of the Senate, through the use of a filibuster as a party tool, has gotten out of hand,” says Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, one of the authors of the reform plan. “Here are qualified people, the president has just won re-election, and [Republicans] are making it as difficult as possible to get them confirmed.”
Republicans don't see it that way, however. Instead, they see Cabinet appointments as merely another opportunity for a hostage crisis:
With an expanded Democratic majority in the Senate, Obama could very well see all of his nominees confirmed. But the GOP will extract a price — Republicans are poised to hold up nominees to make their political points on issues ranging from the debt to EPA regulations to the Second Amendment.

“When the president chooses to pick a fight or to go through a bruising nomination, that’s got a real downside for the president,” Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) warned Tuesday. “What happens is everything backs up, and there’s enough of that problem already today.”

Sorry, Sen. Johanns. You lost the election. As Markos wrote on Wednesday, if you want to pick the Cabinet, you need to win the election first. Yes, the Senate must confirm those selections, but Democrats won the Senate. There's absolutely no reason on earth Republicans should have unfettered veto power over President Obama's cabinet nor the ability to extract concessions for letting him do the job the public hired him to do.

The good news is there's something the Senate can do about that: reform the filibuster. And when they officially convene for business, that's exactly what they should do.

Join with CREDO and Daily Kos by signing our petition rejecting the McCain/Levin proposal, and supporting real reform.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.


Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site