Skip to main content

A screen capture of Jimmy Stewart's character holding a filibuster in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
The Washington Post's Jonathon Bernstein reviews the state of play in filibuster reform.
It’s hard to tell right now what’s up with Senate reform. On the one hand, reformers received a setback when Majority Leader Harry Reid gave a lukewarm statement of support in Nevada over the weekend. On the other, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) still claims he has the votes for a party-imposed reform plan.

There are plenty of Democrats who support substantive reform … but several, perhaps a half-dozen or more, are very reluctant to do it by party-line vote. At the same time, the stronger front that Democrats can present, the better their chances of getting Republicans to buy in on a compromise package, one that might not go as far as many reformers want but could still make the Senate less dysfunctional.

Harry Reid has been listening to the reluctant senators, and is leaning toward a much more moderate plan than the talking filibuster proposal that Merkley has been spearheading. Reid still has a "talking" filibuster element in his plan, but his wouldn't kick in until cloture had already been invoked on a bill, require a filibustering minority of senators to occupy the floor and speak after the debate has begun. But the Senate would still require 60 senators to approve debate starting, leaving ample opportunity for obstruction. Additionally, Reid wants to shorten the debate period, now 30 hours, after a cloture vote passes.

Reid needs to hear from the pro-reform senators, too. And he is, from Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall, and Elizabeth Warren who are still fighting hard for a true talking filibuster.

Join with them, and sign this petition. They'll take your message to Senate leadership.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:43 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

  •  Why Do The 6 Dems Not Want a Party Line Vote? (20+ / 0-)

    If their positions were reversed, Repugs would definitely change the rules with a party line vote. More theater.

    "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

    by Aspe4 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:48:54 AM PST

    •  Because (6+ / 0-)

      IOKIYAR. The American public gives Republicans a lot more credit than they give Democrats. Some Dems rightly fear being booted out if they're accused of being tyrannical. Republicans have no such fear, of course. ~ @MatthewBorgard

      by zegota on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:50:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Public Likes Aggressive Politicians (8+ / 0-)

        it doens't matter if what they do is wrong, as long as they're strong. Assuming fear of public backlash is the real reason (I don't believe it is), it's hard to believe Dems actually think the public cares about this "inside baseball" debate about Senate procedure. Most voters probably think the filibuster is a sexual position.

        "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

        by Aspe4 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:11:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reid & Obama Lead the Jelly Fish Party (7+ / 0-)

          As a progressive Democrat, I view Reid & Obama as leaders of the other right of center wing of the American Corporate Party. The last Democratic POTUS I saw was LBJ, elected in 1964. The parties of FDR & Lincoln have been deceased for decades. The GOP has a 10-yr. lock on the House now, thanks to gerrymandering, following the 2010 census & GOP tsunami. Toss in a Senate that will remain dysfunctional and a moderate Republican president in the mix. This is my reality. What's yours?

          •  Utter bullsh*t!!! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Not that I expect anything more.

            Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

            by OIL GUY on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:15:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wish it were (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rick Aucoin, zinger99, Aspe4

              The Democrats have a long history of offering pre-compromised proposals and then compromising further to win. Republicans offer radical proposals and then come out with very good results when they have to compromise.

              The PPACA is a great example of such a farce. Sure, it's better than nothing, but it's still a big wet one to the insurance companies and the decision to cut CO-OP funding was just another unnecessary compromise offered by the Democrats who don't really care about those in need.

              Americans can make our country better.

              by freelunch on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:52:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Are Democrats serious about governing? (11+ / 0-)

          What is at stake is the ability to govern.  If Reid and the Senate Democrats want to govern, they will reform the filibuster rules.  If instead, they want to present the American public with more excuses for Senate paralysis, then reform kabuki and posturing on issues they know they won't have to cast a vote on will be the show for at least the next two years.  By their actions we will know which course they prefer.

        •  Reid draws another line in the sand (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          which he is now erasing before steeping over it.


      •  Nobody, outside of the Senate, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        gives a crap about this. Most of them have no clue about Senate rules,. They just don't care.

        Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

        by OIL GUY on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:14:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  they want to vote no (27+ / 0-)

      and the "party line vote" is their most recent excuse.

      Senators like Feinstein love getting nothing done in the Senate. They can vote the popular side with the safe knowledge that it will never pass.

      •  ^^^ DING DING!! We Have a Winner. nt (9+ / 0-)

        "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

        by Aspe4 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:12:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Dems Love to Avoid Real Votes, Using Filibuster (10+ / 0-)

        You are right on, Ferg. Many "Democrats" play progressives in front of TV cameras. As soon as the lights go off, it's time to please the same lobbyists that serve the other side. By never getting cloture, Democrats get to pretend what they would have done, "If only we could have gotten an up or down vote." When presented with actual filibuster reform to allow the senate to function again, the Dems fall all over themselves to prevent real reform...Bunch of fakes.

        •  It's a great excuse (4+ / 0-)

          for putting shitty conservative bills through the Senate instead of more progressive ones that they could pass if the Dem leadership actually pushed for them.

          The filibuster is used as a tool by the Dems just as much as by the Repubs.

          "Justice is a commodity"

          by joanneleon on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:15:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You've nailed it. Please read piece below about (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joanneleon, MPociask

          Reid and McConnell's relationship (and posturing).

          Here's an excerpt from last year's same Kabuki Filibuster Fight:

          Posted:   01/23/2011 01:00:00 AM MST
          Updated:   01/23/2011 01:44:59 AM MST

          WASHINGTON — They are public enemies and private friends, men who refuse to campaign against one another and are masters of the back-room deal. . . .

          "Institutional responsibilities" . . .

          "The public face of the Reid-McConnell relationship is one of unremitting hostility, but in reality it's the responsibility of these two men to prevent the Senate from spinning off into chaos," said Ross Baker, a congressional scholar at Rutgers University who spent months in Reid's office in 2008 as an observer. "They have very, very heavy institutional responsibilities to get things done, and they do it every day."

          McConnell, in an interview, said: "It's important for us to have a good relationship, and we do. I consider Harry a friend, and I think we trust each other, and I think that's important for the institution."

          Reid, who wasn't available for comment for this article, told NPR this month that "I feel comfortable with my relationship with McConnell and the Republican caucus." He also said he was confident "that we can get some good things done."

          Upcoming clashes . . .

          More immediately, a group of Democratic senators led by Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado is pushing for changes to the rules for the filibuster, arguing that its routine use has rendered the chamber dysfunctional.

          Republicans oppose weakening the tactic, the minority's most powerful tool. While Reid has expressed support for altering some Senate procedures, he has said he wouldn't back changing the core of the filibuster — the requirement that 60 votes are needed to overcome it.

          That leaves Reid and McConnell with the task of figuring out adjustments they both can live with and that satisfy majorities of their caucuses. . . .


          “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:49:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Totally (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The rethugs would end the filibuster, no question.

      Come on Harry!

    •  It's a game... (4+ / 0-)

      to limit the scope of the possible. Similar to the never ending pre-concessions...

    •  Democratic Senators are planning to be in Minority (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      They are unwilling to risk reforms that make a huge amount of sense, even though they were never as corrupt in the minority as the GOP has been recently.

      Too many Democratic senators need spines.

      Too many senators of all stripes need to be thrown out of office and replaced with senators who care about Americans, not just K Street.

      Americans can make our country better.

      by freelunch on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:50:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds like Harry's considering (5+ / 0-)

    a bit of spelunking.  But does it say more about him or the Democratic Caucus in general?

    You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

    by Johnny Q on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:50:34 AM PST

  •  There is absolutely no upside to the moderate plan (25+ / 0-)

    so I don't even get why it would be considered.  Either reform it or don't.  A half ass plan isn't worth the fight.

  •  "A modest man with much to be modest about." (7+ / 0-)

    Sorry, Churchill quote hit me when reading that.

    But, yes, Harry does tend to go the modest route.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:53:21 AM PST

  •  if it's not fixed,it's fucked,,once. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tool, Calamity Jean, ljb, howd, qofdisks

    clime parches on. terms: ocean rise, weather re-patterning, storm pathology, drout-famine, acceptance of nature.

    by renzo capetti on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:53:47 AM PST

  •  oh, for fuck's sake (15+ / 0-)

    does he want to be able to get anything done, or not.

    stop futzing around.

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:53:50 AM PST

    •  Nope, Dems Need the Filibuster to Stop Progressive (18+ / 0-)

      legislation. It's a fine balancing act to supposedly be the party of the little guy but really being the party of the 1%. Repugs don't have to strike this balance because being the party of the 1% is something they openly boast about.

      "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

      by Aspe4 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:15:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It provides cover. (13+ / 0-)

      I honestly think that on some level they're fine with it, because then they can just use it as cover for not getting anything substantive done.  

      The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

      by Beelzebud on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:46:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Does Harry Want a Functional Senate? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joanneleon, zinger99, qofdisks, NonnyO

      His actions scream, HELL NO!"

      •  Vested Interest in Frustrating US Voters (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        K Street lobbies couldn't be happier with pissed off voters. The crazier pissed off ones form things like the Tea Party and might as well just spend their time figuring out how to run themselves over with their own car. The progressive pissed off voters, being pissed off through political betrayal, have 3 options: stay home next time, vote for the other side out of spite, or vote for a 3rd party (none of which so far meaningfully compete, or which play the role of spoiler as Ralph Nader did in 2000).

        Meanwhile, the longtime incumbents like Reid and Feinstein usually manage to play the optics and money game well enough that they live and breathe the anti-democratic gridlock in their adoptive city as essential to their career success.

        So, yeah, it gets very clear when it's time to do something like reform the filibuster. None of these long-termers really wants change. To want it would be to have a life change experience like the character in Bullworth.

        •  this argument (0+ / 0-)

          leads immediately to the idea of pouring resources into a third party, instead of just saying that it's inevitable they can never be effective.  Or giving up in despair, because the Democratic party sure ain't gonna change.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:46:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Change (0+ / 0-)

            The premise of DKos is that we can transform the Democratic party from within; essentially, more and better Democrats.

            My persisting question about this plan is how do we know that it's working? We know the results of particular elections, of course, and can measure activist efforts in terms of those results. And Howard Dean's 50 State Strategy has clearly been successful in a good number of ways. In terms of the Senate, though, this filibuster reform fight is revealing that Democratic incumbents are a significant part of the problem with getting real progressive work done in federal governance. The other huge problem is of course the gerrymandered House districts that allow the GOP to keep power even though, overall, Democratic candidates won over a million more votes than the GOP slate. Yes, activists must put energy into winning Democratic elections at the state level; and somehow the activist community needs to inoculate the liberal electorate in terms of the realistic outlook on getting real change. And in this regard the Obama presidency with its bipartisanism is a setback in bringing more of the voting public into an activist frame of mind. You can't go for a goal unless you can see it. Most voters see only what the current election theater presents to them.

            Switching all activist energy to a third party candidate is something Kos himself must have carefully considered doing on the way to the storming-the-gates-from-within strategy. If anyone knows of other discussions that address this topic I'd appreciate the link(s).


            •  I decided against a 3rd party strategy (0+ / 0-)

              in the 90s and again after the Bush election theft in 2000. It seemed worth it to try to do things through the establishment. 12 1/2 years down the pike, it doesn't look like that strategy is bearing fruit. Least, not any fruit I want to eat.

              if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 08:50:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  This will have a huge impact on 2014. (6+ / 0-)

    Let's hope he does the right thing.

    The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

    by Words In Action on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:57:22 AM PST

  •  I thought filibustering the motion to proceed (17+ / 0-)

    was one of the most important things to remove. Reid now wants to keep it in? I don't get it. We still won't even be able to debate bills the minority opposes? Truly disheartening.

  •  I'm going to give Harry a call today. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tool, tardis10, penguins4peace, grrr, Matt Z

    20 innocent children were slaughtered. The gun lobby and NRA bear responsibility and it is time to fight back!

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:00:41 AM PST

  •  When (11+ / 0-)

    can we finally say goodbye to Harry Reid? I wrote a diary almost a year ago asking the party..You know..after we win the election in 2012 and retain the senate & make gains in the house can we finally say goodbye to Harry?

    He does not deserve to be majority leader. He should not have been majority leader in 2008 after the election then and should not be now.

    This type of "half-way" measure is what Harry Reid has been famous for and is far more willing to - not rock the boat - and keep the same old failing rules in place.

    After 2008 he did not listen to filibuster reform. After 2010 he did not listen to filibuster reform.

    What in gods name makes us think he will really offer anything other then a watered-down rule change?

    What? His nice old quote about being all sorry & regretful he didn't listen before?

    As a behaviorist - past behavior is the most promising indication of future behavior and often more often then naught dictates it.

    You know what I regret? Not pushing publish and it still languishes in my drafts.

    Harry shoulda stepped down after his healthcare failure. We need new blood. I will not be ageist and say he is to old but he certainly is not up to this fight.

    President Obama would have been a republican in the 1980's & 1990's. Go figure.

    by Tool on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:02:16 AM PST

    •  375+ (8+ / 0-)

      bills have been blocked. You would think he could get a clue right?

      President Obama would have been a republican in the 1980's & 1990's. Go figure.

      by Tool on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:04:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He does what he's told to do (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tool, Rick Aucoin, zinger99, NonnyO

        He owes his political life to the party, so he does what he's told.

        They have lot of really bad stuff to get done this year.  They'll need the filibuster so they can blame it all on the Republicans, natch.

        I never thought they'd actually do filibuster reform.  The Senate and Harry Reid are so corrupt... Reid is so full of shit I'm surprised he can see straight.

        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:24:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  He only won his seat (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tool, Brown Thrasher, joanneleon, zinger99

      because they ran a total idiot against him.  Even then it was a squeaker.  Give him some competent opposition and he's toast.

      You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

      by Johnny Q on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:29:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Reid has done some pretty good things (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, Tool, Matt Z

      remember those dramatic votes on the health care law in the Senate? with Byrd being wheeled in?

      Obama 2012...going to win it with our support!!!

      by mattinjersey on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:25:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The so-called health care bill... (0+ / 0-)

        ... didn't benefit us.

        It benefited insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical corporations..., which will now be making record-setting profits thanks to greedy and incompetent Congress Critters, and along with the profits, they will be paying out substantial executive bonuses and huge shareholder dividends..., all on our dime because Congress Critters were too stupid to pass a not-for-profit single-payer health insurance program that could have been administered by Medicare (infrastructure already in place and running efficiently).  All they'd have needed to do is hire more people right here in America to handle the paperwork if we could buy into Medicare..., which would have an immediate positive impact on taxes paid to the US treasury, not to mention buying power for groceries, clothing, better cars to get to/from work, etc.

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:14:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  60 for cloture is the whole problem (14+ / 0-)

    If they can't whip 60 votes, a bill won't even be introduced because there is no point. They need to get rid of the 60 vote rule for cloture. If the minority wants to stop a bill from being debated, let them talk. If they want to stop it from being voted on after cloture, let them talk. This painless silent filibuster that doesn't make the GOP own up to their obstruction is why people think the Senate does nothing.

    •  That's actually the part that shouldn't change. (0+ / 0-)

      Last year, PIPA would have been rammed right through if it only needed a simple majority. Thanks to the 60-vote threshold, we still have the Internet.

      That said, we definitely need to get rid of private holds & restore the hold-the-floor requirement. (Continuing my PIPA comparison, I'd have been glad to mail Ron Wyden a whole crate of phonebooks...)

      Remember Savita Halappanavar!

      by Brown Thrasher on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:17:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One good result (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        From a bad rule doesn't make a bad rule good.

        We had the 60-vote threshold, and still got huge chunks of the Bush agenda with a split Senate.  Heck, since Reagan was in office, we've always had at least 45 Democratic Senators.  How much of the right wing agenda was stopped by a 60-vote threshold in that time?

        •  In that case, Blue Dog establishment fecklessness (0+ / 0-)

          ...should be, by your own argument, a bigger concern to you than any arcane rule change — as in primarying out cardboard cutouts like Reid as well as 5th columnists like Baucus.

          The cloture threshold itself is not the problem — I think plenty of us can think of legislation that should simply not be discussed, whether last year's Kill-The-Internet bill onn behalf of the MPAA or some possible future Kill-The-Gays bill sponsored by the Family — but the fact that no Senator has to stand up on the floor & say the words "I Object" makes a grotesque, undemocratic farce out of the legislative process.

          Remember Savita Halappanavar!

          by Brown Thrasher on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:16:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly this! (0+ / 0-)

      After a bill in introduced by the Senate Majority leader, the default rule is UNLIMITED DEBATE.  Now, you'd think maybe they'd have some kind of policy on setting debate limits at the outset - say 1 hour for a minor issue, 10 minutes for naming a post office, whatever.  But no, UNLIMITED.

      Then, after people get tired of the UNLIMITED debate, the only way to stop the talking is to get 60 Senators to vote for cloture (and even then, they still get 30 more hours - almost a whole work week to debate something 3/5 of the Senate has just said they're sick of talking about!).

      And Harry wants to preserve the cloture requirement?

      Stop treating the Senate like a damn aristocratic club, and start treating it like a legislative body that we need functioning.  America literally depends on it.  

  •  Dem Senators like the Senate being broken... (23+ / 0-)

    because then they can blame the evil Republicans when bills get pulled to the right when in reality it's where the corporatist Democrats want it as well.  

    Senate Dems HATED having the 60 seats, because then they had to out themselves as bought and paid for corporatists and pull the House bills hard to the center and I think a lot of internal battles hurt morale and even ended political careers.  Lieberman was the leader and leaves rightly hated, Lincoln was finished anyways, but got blown out of the water after facing a tough primary and draining her resources, Dorgan retired (I think he was pissed off at fellow Dems in part), Nelson and Conrad retired - lost Dem support they would have needed to have any chance.  I also think this was a major reason for Toomey and Kirk winning in blue states - Dems were disillusioned that the Senate seats didn't really matter.  

    So the Senate Dems want to give the GOP power so that the Dem caucus could be united against them, and that the Corporatist Dems don't get any of the focus and ire because it's the need for GOP votes that is causing the bill to move hard to the right.  

    I also think there is more coordination on things between Reid and McConnell.  Reid knows he needs McConnell and the boogeyman to get the blame, and McConnell gladly plays it because it's better for him and he gets some of what he wants.  However given the huge Senate turn over over the last three cycles, there is a lot in the Senate now who are not supportive of the old Senate games - of Reid and McConnell being in cahoots to a certain degree and all this comity BS.  

    Reid wants to protect Johnson, Pryor, Landrieu with this weak filibuster reform (or reform in name only).  Because if it really was reformed and got us more up or down floor votes it would mean Landrieu, Johnson, Pryor, Baucus would have no GOP votes in cover on anything and would either go along with the bills and see them passed, or vote and block Dem measures and lose a lot of Dem support while winning little if any GOP support back home.  

    "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness" -Annie Savoy (Bull Durham)

    by Jacoby Jonze on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:06:52 AM PST

  •  Fraternity (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher

    As I commented before, the Senate is a fraternity  with a tradition of respecting seniority.

    There will not be changes to the rules of the club unless long time members support the changes.

    Elizabeth Warren is obviously not an example of a sr. member.

  •  The squeaky wheel gets the grease. This is (0+ / 0-)

    going on right now, and it's not even written about enough to be listed as one of the hot tags on Daily Kos.

  •  Harry is leading us down the GOP's Rabbit Hole (6+ / 0-)


    Is Reid even cognizant of the extremely low regard Americans hold Congress in, or why?

    Does Reid welcome another 2 years of paralysis, (that voters despise so much) for the Senate?


    Electing people who don't believe in government to Congress, is like installing an atheist as pastor of a church. If they don't believe in the institution or its goals, they won't care if it does a good job for its members.

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:46:53 PM PST

  •  Reid is such a waste (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gamblndan, NonnyO

    If there is ever a chance to cave-in he'll find it, allow it or engineer

    •  It's not Reid. (0+ / 0-)

      Any other Senator who'd be Democratic Majority Leader would be doing the same exact thing.

      Because this is what the guys in charge want.

      The Democrats as a whole have to OWN the dysfunction in the Senate.  They could have fixed it in 2010, they could have fixed it in 2012, and they didnt and they won't.

      MY question is at what point do activists and cheerleaders start realizing that the guy behind the curtain really is pulling the levers and the Wizard of Oz is really just a little con man?

      After Reid and the Democrats rejected filibuster reform in 2010 after two full years of obstruction, who thought they'd ever really fix the Senate's issues?

      *The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10*

      by Rick Aucoin on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 04:03:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  WWND (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What would Nancy (Polosi) do?  Oh wait, she actually has balls.

    •  What? The Nancy Pelosi who... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zinger99, NonnyO

      ... just a couple weeks ago strongly endorsed Chained CPI for Social Security as "strengthening" Social Security?

      That Nancy Pelosi??

      *The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10*

      by Rick Aucoin on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 04:04:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, Nancy does not have balls... (0+ / 0-)

      She's also bought and paid for.

      She said "Impeachment is off the table" so none of the lying war criminals were held accountable for their crimes, not even investigated for them.

      She brought FISA fiasco '08 back from the dead at the last minute one Friday, limited "debate" to one hour, rammed that thing through the House, and someone hand-carried that piece of crap to the Senate that day.  The only reason the Senate didn't get to it then is because most were out of town campaigning and the next Mon/Tue they had to go to someone's funeral, so they couldn't pass it until Wed..., where Obama voted for it with the telecom immunity intact, which is what he originally said he would vote against.

      And those are just the highlights.

      Nancy Pelosi is one person for whom I have Zero respect.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:36:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I really thought we would get rid of it this time. (3+ / 0-)

    Jeezzz I almost don't like to get excited about anything the first of the year it was all about getting rid of it or major reforms just to fizzle out to zero.  

    I get so disappointed and angry over this crap.

  •  I have no idea how many filibuster petitions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've signed at this point. A perfect waste of time, apparently, if Reid is still "tepid". I suggest the management revoke all of those medals that DKos has bestowed on the senate majority leader over the past few years.

    About now, "tepid" (a big bucket of it) describes my opinion of our Mr. Reid.

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:51:47 PM PST

  •  Well he obviously did not read my diary (0+ / 0-)

    that was so well thought out.   It too Harry was about the length of debate but it was about taking the floor and not leaving till we wore the party of no out !!!!
    I was so proud of that diary too and MB even tipped it.
    You could learn a lot Harry if you read some of our Front pagers and diarists and tippers.   You did answer my question to the diary though.  Who has the guts and is willing and you have shown not to have either.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:52:40 PM PST

  •  Letter from Tom Harkin today (5+ / 0-)
    Dear 2laneIA,

    When many people think of the filibuster, they think of the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. In this classic, Senator Smith talks ceaselessly on the Senate floor to stand up for the little guy against the special interests. It's an unusual and dramatic scene.

    Today, that scene has been turned upside down. Senate Republicans routinely use the filibuster to block anything and everything they dislike -- no matter how uncontroversial or critical it is -- to protect special interests at the expense of the little guy.

    Thankfully, the Senate has an opportunity to fix the filibuster next week, and I -- along with Senators Jeff Merkley and Tom Udall -- plan to do it.

    Click here to sign my petition to promote transparency and accountability, and get the Senate working again, by fixing the filibuster.
    Defenders of this kind of obstruction like to point to the traditions of the Senate in support of their cynical actions. But our founding fathers didn't have the ability to filibuster and they explicitly rejected a supermajority requirement as antithetical to democracy.

    The fact is, our founding fathers would be shocked and dismayed that the minority party, through abuse of the filibuster, essentially controls the agenda of the Senate without any burden of accountability.

    And it's getting worse. In the 20 years between 1950 and 1969 there were only 20 filibusters; In the last six years, there have been more than 380!

    We can fix this, but we have to act now. Next week -- on the first legislative day of the new Senate session -- we can fix the filibuster with just a simple majority vote, and my colleagues need to hear from you.

    Click here to tell Senate Democrats that this is our best chance to fix the filibuster and get the Senate working again.

    For me, filibuster reform isn’t about one party gaining an advantage. It is about the Senate operating more fairly, effectively, and democratically.

    My filibuster reform proposal -- which I first introduced in 1995 when Democrats were in the minority -- reduces the number of senators needed to end an extended filibuster and allows a simple majority to pass legislation after ample debate and deliberation.

    Another proposal to fix the filibuster from Senators Merkley and Udall -- which I also support -- would require Senators to actually talk to sustain a filibuster, rather than just threatening to do it.

    Neither proposal represents a radical change to the Senate. What's been a radical change is Republicans' consistent abuse of the filibuster as a tool for obstruction.

    But with obstructionist Republicans dead set against reform, and even some Senate Democrats reluctant to change the rules, we still face an uphill battle. That’s why I need your help right now.
    Click here to sign my petition now and show my Democratic colleagues that the American people want a Senate that works!

    Together, we can restore majority rule in the Senate. Thank you for your help.


    Tom Harkin
    U.S. Senator

  •  This makes total sense (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Now that Republicans have shown they're much more sane, why would we want to strip them of their power to obstruct. Pshah.

    We get what we want - or what we fail to refuse. - Muhammad Yunus

    by nightsweat on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:53:02 PM PST

  •  Anything short of the ... (6+ / 0-)

    ... Merkley-Udall-Warren plan is a waste of time. That watered down swill being peddled will change nothing and will only allow the filthy obstructionists to go on doing it under cover of legitimacy.

    This act of self-immolation led by the sorry-ass Carl Levin is the worst capitulation I've seen from Senate Dems in quite a while ... and that's saying something.

  •  Saw Merkley on Saturday (0+ / 0-)

    And I just can't see any reasonable opposition to his reforms, aside from the fact it will give Republicans a sad.  Honestly, the fili is being abused like nobody's business, it's time to fix it.

    I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

    by Russycle on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:55:55 PM PST

  •  And Harry Reid breaks his promises (6+ / 0-)

    yet one more time.

    Good ole Harry.  I knew I could count on him.  Pardon me while I go and puke.

    •  Why did he take it this far (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder, zinger99

      this time?  I knew he wouldn't do it either.  But why the elaborate game this time around? Did he promise it to the other Senators and then back out?

      He's already backing down on his "we won't cut Social Security" promise too.  It was all an election ploy.

      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:41:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Minority rule lives on. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Evolution IS Intelligent Design!

    by msirt on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:57:48 PM PST

  •  Color me extremely disappointed... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    downtownLALife, NonnyO

    but unfortunately, not surprised. What is Harry Reid thinking? Does he actually think he's going to work out a compromise with republicans that will be adhered to and will actually stop the gridlock purposely caused by republicans? If so, Harry Reid is in for a big surprise!

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    by reflectionsv37 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:00:30 PM PST

    •  oh my.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reflectionsv37, zinger99

      I've got a plan:

      1 keep the filibuster as is.

      2 give up the Presidency

      3 give up the Senate

      4 find a bunch of pissed off progressives (of which I am one) to     take over the house

      then we might get a hell of a lot more not done.


      These traitors are damn near turning the gun control issue into a civil war, and our country into a failed 3rd world state.


      People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think. -George Carlin

      by downtownLALife on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:11:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  this is discouraging (0+ / 0-)

    of course, with harry reid i never really have my hopes up with this. Goddamn it! Lets hope the new dems and real progressives make enough noise on this.

  •  In some ways I get it - Reid doesn't want to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    weaken a tool in the toolbox that the Democrats might need someday (ok not might - will, cyclical nature of things goes).  

    But there so many other options to consider - how about a filibuster whose vote threshold goes down over time, so the Senator who calls it has to garner more support to keep the block up.  

    That would slow things down - but of course they are slow to begin with.  But suppose a Senator filibusters, and it needs 60 votes to be broken for 15 days.  After 15 days the threshold goes to 55 votes and by 30 days a simple majority.  

  •  Oh CRAP! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zinger99, NonnyO

    I kind of expected Reid to fold. Didn't want to upset his buddies in the "club".

    "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

    by gritsngumbo on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:06:59 PM PST

    •  I swear, I'm not getting excited about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      anything again. But, I knew when the vote was delayed that the "fix" was in and McTurtle was going to promise to be a good boy and not obstruct and Ole Harry fell for it again.

      "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

      by gritsngumbo on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:15:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not interested in less dysfunctional. I'm (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, zinger99, NonnyO

    interested in functional.  Another self-imposed cave by Dems who hold all the cards but don't have the stomach to do what's right.  They allow some half-hearted, watered down "compromise" and I don't want to hear a single one of those jellyfishes whine about GOP obstructionism EVER again.

    •  They need to be able to blame (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the Republicans for everything.  It's cover for them.  And they've got a lot of right-wing austerity work on the agenda (being ordered straight from the top) so they have to blame it on somebody else.

      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:43:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of course he is. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, Rick Aucoin, zinger99

    Gotta protect the conservatives in the Democratic caucus from taking tough votes. It was Reid who kept cap-and-trade and EFCA from coming to a vote.

  •  Go big, or go home! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, Gamblndan, zinger99

    Now is the time for serious change. The filibuster must go back to what it was for most of our history - a talking filibuster, not some secretive, pain free way to stall important legislation.

    Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

    by OIL GUY on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:12:41 PM PST

  •  Real issue: restore path of motions to proceed (0+ / 0-)

    Rs have been filibustering anonymously for the past 4 years. Without eliminating that Reid would be allowing another 4 years of faux filibustering and all its abusive obstruction.

  •  So much for the new improved backbone n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, zinger99

    Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

    by Spud1 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:14:19 PM PST

  •  Go back to the way it was in 1944. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When a Senator had to phyisically fillibuster until s/he collapses.

  •  This is like Charlie Brown kicking the football (0+ / 0-)

    with McConnell as Lucy.

    "The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little. " --Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by jg6544 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:27:31 PM PST

  •  We need stronger filibuster reform (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, ek hornbeck

    Harry Reid leads like a wimp. He needs to show some spine and stand up to McConnell and the blue dog hold outs. We need to send Harry a string message.

    Take Action. Call Harry, your senators and the six hold outs.

    Call your senator if you believe in this (click to find the phone number).

    In addition, call these senators — they are the Democrats flirting with “well, I don’t really know” when the last public list of supporters was announced:

    • Baucus     Max     MT     D     (202) 224-2651
    • Boxer     Barbara     CA     D     (202) 224-3553
    • Feinstein     Dianne     CA     D     (202) 224-3841
    • Heitkamp     Heidi     ND     D     (202) 224-2043
    • Hirono     Mazie     HI     D     (202) 224-6361
    • Leahy     Patrick     VT     D     (202) 224-4242
    • Reed     Jack     RI     D     (202) 224-4642

    As of last report, these are the Democratic waverers (and shame on them). Please make the calls, now and daily (if you can) until January 22.

    Sign the Merkley/Udall/Warren Petition
    Reform the Filbuster

    Sign the Petition

    "There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say." W.E.B. Dubois, 1956

    by TheMomCat on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:29:47 PM PST

  •  I am sick to death with these chickenshit Dems ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gamblndan, ferg
    ... but several, perhaps a half-dozen or more, are very reluctant to do it by party-line vote.
    I mean what the fuck good is it if the majority party can't have their way?  You can be the Repubs would not give pause if the situation was reversed.  Oh, but wait, the Dems would never obstruct the Repubs from having their way so the Repubs wouldn't need to change the rules.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:33:00 PM PST

  •  Contrarian take... (0+ / 0-)

    I'm actually okay with a crappy watered down set of reforms being put through on a party-line vote.

    The reason is that the wishy-washy "centrist" caucus will always demand to water things down one way or another. In the absence of being able to simply override them (which we can't as long as they count the Majority Leader among them), something watery-downy is going to happen.

    Based on the trial balloons that've been floated so far, there's either the substantive watering down (no talking filibuster until after cloture, 60 vote margin unchanged) that Reid is floating here, or a procedural watering down (we'll do 'bipartisan' (ugh) reform that and pass it with a supermajority requirement for the rule change).

    Obviously I'd rather have neither kind of watering down, but option B is far worse. Even if we were somehow able to produce enough leverage to get that 'bipartisan' reform to actually be substantively good - which I've seen no sign of happening, the 'bipartisan' Levin proposal is substantively far worse than Reid's - it'd still be worse for the precedent it fails to set.

    Doing even the trivialest, least meaningful reform by simple majority vote would set a precedent that reform can be done that way. And, like the precedent that was set two years ago with the debt limit, once it's been done, it'll be done again. Every new Senate term, whichever party is in the majority will use majority-vote rules changing to nudge the filibuster a little further towards outright nonexistence.

    Until the filibuster is gone entirely and we have actual democracy where the most votes rather than the least votes wins, the problem isn't fixed. "Bad" reform now passed by majority vote sets us on a course for that to happen, and the filibuster to be gone entirely within a 5-10 years.

    "Good" reform that gives us lots of things we want now but keeps up the notion that a simple majority can't and mustn't change the rules will just establish a new status quo with the supermajority requirement for passing legislation intact. That's my nightmare scenario - that we get as much as we possibly could hope for out of this reform push, but set things up in a way that we'll not get any further reform in the foreseeable future.

    The thing about changing the world... Once you do it, the world's all different. (Joss Whedon, BtVS Season 8 "The long way home")

    by sab39 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:33:38 PM PST

  •  Reid's proposal is insulting (0+ / 0-)

    It assumes we're all so stupid that we don't realize it does nothing.  If the minority party can't get 41 votes, they can't do a lazy gentleman's filibuster - just like NOW!  

    Reid must like the fact that he can kill any legislation he pleases by simply announcing that McConnel whispered in his ear.  Doesn't matter if it really happened, Reid just has to say it happened, and the legislation is dead.  

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:57:21 PM PST

  •  So wait... (0+ / 0-)

    Instead of supporting actual fillibuster reform, Reid's plan is that there would still need to be 60 votes to pass a bill or end cloture or whatever.  But if the Dems can't pass a bill with the 60 votes required, THEY should be the ones to have to stand on the floor and talk for hours?  What the hell for?  The whole point of reform in the first place was to stop Republicans endless obstruction of the democratic process.  They've shattered all records for fillibustering without ever having to lift a finger and Reid's plan is to make DEMS talk for hours?

    WTF is wrong with Reid.  He never seems to fail to sabatoge his own party and chop them off at the knees.

  •  They should threaten to resign (0+ / 0-)

    A whole group - 20 of 'em - should just collectively sign a private letter to Reid and say "if you don't do reform, we're all out" because there's no point.  

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

    by jgkojak on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:00:47 PM PST

  •  Here we go again Charlie (0+ / 0-)

    Lucy promises to hold the ball steady and WHOMP!

    How else can they say "Oh it is the big bad meanies on the republican side that made us do it!" With a weak measure, nothing changes, the game goes on, and we are left with a pile of warm manure as our reward.

    American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

    by glitterscale on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:06:32 PM PST

  •  tough talk & campaign (0+ / 0-)

    are over, now its time for the dems to start kissing the gop's assholes again and ignore those that reelected them.

  •  Filibuster Reform or Fuck it all (0+ / 0-)

    While comity and civility are all very well, the truth is if the  McCain/Levin filibuster "reform" passes you can kiss goodby any chance of comity or civility, let alone anything corresponding to a progressive agenda. McCain/Levin relies on the goodwill and sense of fairness of a minority leader who doesn't show either of those qualities. It equals shoving your head in the sand down to your unmentionables. More importantly, the Democratic Senate majority is the only thing standing between President Obama and capitulation to the Republican controlled House.

  •  Harry "Charlie Brown" Reid (0+ / 0-)

    Face it Harry-Charlie Brown-Reid, now matter how many times Mitch-Lucy McConnell promises not to use the pull-the-football-away filibuster, as soon as you run up to kick it, he will pull it away and you will once again land flat on your back.

    Harry, of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Browniest!

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:07:56 PM PST

  •  Harry just ain't (0+ / 0-)

    going to buck the system.

    He talks a good story, but we actually get to see him not perform again. He talked it up 2 years ago, and he talked it up the end of last year. But, when it comes to actually doing something, {{{{crickets}}}}

    Its harder to hit a moving target.

    by KatGirl on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:51:56 PM PST

  •  Dear Harry Reid: (0+ / 0-)

    Bwaaaaak, bwaaaak, Bwaaaak, bak, bak, bak....

    Too chicken to go back to the old talking filibuster...?

    Stop being a chicken$h!t Repuke servant and DO something that takes common sense for a change, rather than being the lackey for the damned Repukes all the time!

    Better yet, grow a vagina, as Betty White said.  What's it gonna take for you to take a stand and not move one iota from that and get what you want?  Why must you ALWAYS, and very predictably, kiss the feet of Republicans...???  Really, I can't express how dismaying it is to be a progressive Democrat while watching the last twelve years of extreme political cowardice on the part of Democrats in DC..., and watch you all take bribes from corporations and banks and Casino Wall Street while still being embarrassed to be an American as you allow torture and keep paying for illegal and unconstitutional wars....

    "Why do people say 'grow some balls'? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna get tough, grow a vagina. Those things take a pounding."
    --Betty White

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:56:58 PM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site