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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) is photographed as he talks to reporters about the senate's vote on debt ceiling legislation at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, August 2, 2011. Congress buried the specter of a debt default by finally pass
Just hold the vote, Harry.
Filibuster reform in the Senate is still on hold, and still in question, in the final full day for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to negotiate with Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid gave McConnell an ultimatum on Tuesday to reach a mutually agreed upon package of reforms. According to Sen. John McCain, the starting point for those the negotiations is the wholly inadequate McCain/Levin proposal. What Reid and McConnell are talking about is doing away with the filibuster on motions to proceed to debate and speeding up the process on nominations, and possibly guaranteeing amendments to the minority.

Reid's threat to McConnell is that, without agreement, he will go forward with the constitutional option, that is a simple majority vote. Reid says he has the 51 votes necessary. Ezra Klein has some intelligence on what the packages look like, and why the best outcome would be McConnell's refuses the deal.

In that case, Reid is preparing a backup plan that includes both of the items in the Reid-McConnell talks and one more: An innovative reform that changes who bears the burden for cloture votes.

Right now, the majority needs to supply the 60 votes to break a filibuster. The minority only needs one vote on the floor. Under Reid’s backup plan, the burden would be reversed: The minority would have to supply the 41 votes required to keep a filibuster going, while the majority wouldn’t have to do much of anything. That means that if the minority only had 38 votes present in the room, the filibuster would end. It also means the minority could be forced to muster all their people to vote at times of the majority leader’s choosing: say, 3 a.m. on a Saturday. It would make filibustering a much more unpleasant experience.

The choice for reform that actually will work seems pretty damned clear: the constitutional option including shifting the burden for cloture to the minority. The talking filibuster is off the table now, Reid has rejected it. So he needs to move forward with another plan that will work, and shifting the burden will do that. Significantly, this is a reform that Carl Levin, one of the key Democratic impediments to reform, says he could support: "I like that. [...] I'd love to be able to do that."

Reid needs to give up on the wild goose chase of "bipartisan" reform, and just move forward with making the Senate work. This proposal to shift the burden of the filibuster can do that.

Please sign our petition to Sen. Reid, encouraging him to move forward with Democratic votes to put the burden on the Republicans.

You can also call Reid's office at 202-224-3542, and encourage him to give up on McConnell and use the constitutional option to flip the burden of the filibuster.

9:42 AM PT: Sen. Dick Durbin told reporters today that the votes aren't there for a talking filibuster: "I would say the talking filibuster at this point does not have 51 votes." That makes moving forward on forcing 41 votes to sustain a filibuster even more important.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:01 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I wonder, what's Reid's objection... (15+ / 0-)

    ...to Merkley-Udall?

  •  Why no talking filibuster? (12+ / 0-)

     My suggestion to Reid would be that if they pass this fairly modest reform (falling short of the Merkley-Udall-Harkin proposal), a trigger be included to tighten up the process via talking filibuster if the GOP continues to obstruct on a regular basis.

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:16:44 AM PST

    •  What are those 41 Senators going to be (15+ / 0-)

      doing if they're not talking?  They'd have to be sitting in the Senate Chamber, so either they'll be milling around talking or someone will be standing and addressing the Senate.  OK, 3AM on a Saturday morning some may doze off, but I would hope the party trying to get business done would be disrupting the filibustering dreams.

      I like the idea of forcing 41 Senators to be present to show their obstinance and their dedication to obstruction.  I'll like it if/when Democrats are in the minority (though I will bet up to $100 that the Republicans will just do away with the filibuster entirely when they get the chance).

      •  I like it to (10+ / 0-)

        I was a little annoyed at first when it was proposed as an alternative to the talking filibuster, but the more I hear about it the more I like it. I'd still like to force them to talk, but the minority cloture requirement would still force them to be in the chamber to maintain the filibuster. Furthermore, it would retain the real value of a filibuster: it provides a mechanism by which the minority can block the majority if it tries to steamroll legislation.

        The problem has never been the existence of the filibuster. The problem is the ease with which a single individual Senator can bring the "greatest deliberating body in the history of the world" to a screaming halt.

        •  No, the existence of the filibuster is the problem (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TrueBlueDem, elwior, eps62

          Why should a minority be able to block a majority from passing legislation?  That's the opposite of how democratically elected legislative bodies are supposed to work - you know, majority rule, and all that.

          Every Senator represents his home state.  Period.  We have 50 states, and each state gets 2 Senators.  Thus, we have 100 Senators.  If 51 Senators agree that something should pass, it should pass.  You don't get extra super special filibuster powers just because you happen to be part of the losing side of an argument.  You lost.  You still have the same power as the other 99 Senators - no more, no less.  

          Remember that the Constitution was explicitly designed to quash factionalism and the kind of "minority party" rights that the filibuster represents.  The Founding Fathers didn't want minority parties gumming up government.  

          We ought to be abolishing the filibuster entirely.  That should be the threat behind every reform - agree to the reform, or we'll just abolish this undemocratic procedure that was abolished in the House ages ago.  

          •  I Disagree.....The Filibuster Can Be Useful If.... (6+ / 0-)

            ...it is not abused.

            The filibuster, at it's best, could give any single Senator the ability to hit the red switch halting the sausage making assembly line.

            Obviously, the Republicans have MASSIVELY abused and corrupted the process....so we now MUST reform it so that no one can simply/anonymously kill legislation.   The status quo is insanely stupid and undemocratic.

            If Reid submits to some kind of milquetoast "compromise" that gets Republican votes, he will have been had.

            We need robust filibuster reform now.  If the status quo remains in place....the Senate may as well just hang it up and go home as we'll just get four more years of the same bs and the public will continue to blame both parties.

             

            •  Why on Earth should 1 Senator (0+ / 0-)

              Be able to stop the business of 99 others?  

              Sure, the filibuster could be useful if it weren't abused.  And if men were angels, we wouldn't need any laws.  

              But in the world we live in, everything liberal is filibuster, and the PATRIOT act wasn't.  

          •  The major problem I've had is with the anonymous (9+ / 0-)

            holds and filibusters where we don't know which Senator is blocking things.  We can't pressure if we don't know and we can't hold them to account come election time if we don't know what slimy things they did while they were Senator.  More open-ness is a good thing.

      •  Now if we can get HD cameras added to C-SPAN2 (5+ / 0-)

        so we can have quality 3AM footage of those snoozing Senators, we've got the start of some solid polital ads.

        "While flooding/tornadoes/fires struck his home state, Senator Mcsleepy was asleep in the Senate."

        Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

        by bear83 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:37:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Petition signed, and I'll be calling Harry again (15+ / 0-)

    today.
       Please everyone do the same, this is a Big Fucking Deal as it affects the Senate's viability for a long time to come.
       Harry Reid's contact Numbers:
        Carson City
    600 East William Street, #304
    Carson City, NV 89701
    Phone: 775-882-7343 / Fax: 775-883-1980

    Las Vegas
    Lloyd D. George Building
    333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Suite 8016
    Las Vegas, NV 89101
    Phone: 702-388-5020 / Fax: 702-388-5030

    Reno
    Bruce R. Thompson Courthouse and Federal Building
    400 South Virginia Street, Suite 902
    Reno, NV 89501
    Phone: 775-686-5750 / Fax: 775-686-5757

    Rural Nevada
    If you live in Esmeralda, Lincoln, or Nye Counties:
    Phone: 702-388-5020 / Fax: 702-388-5030
    If you live in Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing, Storey or White Pine County:
    Phone: 775-686-5750 / Fax: 775-686-5757

    Washington
    522 Hart Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510
    Phone: 202-224-3542 / Fax: 202-224-7327
    Toll Free for Nevadans: 1-866-SEN-REID (736-7343) - Restricted to calls originating from area codes 775 and 702

    Reid Newsroom
    Sen. Reid’s Nevada Press Office 202-224-9521 (for inquiries from Nevada media)
    Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center 202-224-2939

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:19:51 AM PST

  •  I don't understand WHY Reid rejects (16+ / 0-)

    the Talking Filibuster.  It still seems good to me.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:33:33 AM PST

    •  Because it would work. (7+ / 0-)

      The Senate today is decided to not actually work. They're bloody useless and that's a shame.

      The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

      by cybrestrike on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:56:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because it's so time consuming (11+ / 0-)

      The talking filibuster would force the minority to hold the floor and would expose the parties responsible for holding up progress, sure. However, all other business is still at a halt during the proceedings.
      By putting the burden on the minority to have 41 Senators present at all times, the Senate can conduct other business until such a time that the minority can't meet it's filibuster attendance requirement and then pull the trigger on the filibustered legislation.
      If the minority wants to block a bill, they will have to actually work to block the bill. They will have to object to the bill as a whole, instead of one cranky old Senator holding things up just because someone pointed out, correctly, that he's only holding things up because he's a cranky old Senator.
      That works for me.

      Everybody got to elevate from the norm....

      by Icicle68 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:30:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can they conduct other business when the (0+ / 0-)

        matter being filibustered is the business before the Senate? I see them shift gears to morning business mode from time to time, but I thought they had to dispose of the business at hand one way or another before moving on. That was supposed to be the power of the filibuster - at least in the past. It prohibits the senate from moving on and delays essential legislation. Caro discusses this at length in his "Master of the Senate" series on LBJ's rise to power.

        •  Hmmm (0+ / 0-)

          The talking filibuster would certainly prohibit other business from being brought up. From what I understand, at least since Reagan was in office, the Majority Leader will know of an intended filibuster before a bill is brought to the floor, and will then make a decision whether to actually engage on it or not.
          But I am no procedural expert.

          Everybody got to elevate from the norm....

          by Icicle68 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 10:01:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That was true even when LBJ was leader (0+ / 0-)

            Civil rights legislation got push aside for years because of filibuster threat, and committee chairs would delay important measures to make it hard to bring up anything for which a filibuster was threatened because mandatory spending bills and such would be blocked. A little chess, a lot of checkers.

    •  Because then Reid would have no excuse (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      betelgeux, Simplify

      for not passing liberal/progressive bills.  

      Fightinhg for Filibuster Reform.

      BILL MOYERS: So they've got the votes. How many votes do they have?

      LARRY COHEN: They have the 51 to do Senate Resolution Four. They just have to go and do it.

      BILL MOYERS: Next Tuesday?

      LARRY COHEN: Next Tuesday. They can absolutely do it if they choose to. On the other hand if they go with a rationale that says, "We want to have bipartisan support for this. We want to do it the old way," where technically they would have two thirds support to change the rules, then guess what? We're going see next to nothing change and two more years will go by and none of these bills will ever get discussed or debated all over again and we'll pretend to have a democracy that we don't have.

  •  I read about the filibuster (10+ / 0-)

    negotiations yesterday and then saw McConnell at the microphones being his usual dickish self and thought he ought to keep his mouth shut. Hopefully Harry was listening too and it served as a reminder that these assholes will never change. On with new filibuster rules Harry!

    I'm pretty tired of being told what I care about.

    by hulibow on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:38:58 AM PST

  •  Talking filibuster off the table (7+ / 0-)

    That tells you everything one needs to know. There's no such thing as a "talking filibuster." A filibuster IS talking! You have to hold the Senate floor and not yield! Jesus fucking christ I'm so sick of Dem leadership taking citizens for morons.

    Talking Filibuster in this context can be deciphered thus: "the right for Dem leadership to table legislation (usually killing it) because of a threat on the part of the opposition party, a threat which always results in the minority getting their way, on terms negotiated by the majority party."

    At least that's my understanding. Harry Reid is simply the worst. And he's certainly no friend to Obama, who much prefers Schumer's company. At some point Obama is going to have to use his much-bruited clout to bring Harry Reid under control, because this is becoming a fucking circus.

  •  Dems already thrown in the towel? (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUNDOWN, dzog, ferg, 3goldens, Aquarius40, betelgeux

    Sen. Durbin says Democrats lack votes to pass talking filibuster.

    http://thehill.com/...

    Well, saying that doesn't give Reid much leverage for much of anything does it?

    •  That was the point I just made above. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, Aquarius40, akmk

      Harry takes a lot of flak around here, but - just like individual GOP obstructionists that put holds on legislation, but never pay the price of notoriety for it - a considerable number of Dem Senators make it difficult for the caucus to leverage its superior numbers over the GOP, but scoot right under the radar of activists, who are too busy venting at the Majority Leader to notice.

      More and better Democrats remains the goal, I think.

      ---

      "God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

      by dzog on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:05:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also, The Hill uses "nuclear option" lie again (0+ / 0-)
      If McConnell declines to strike a deal, Reid has enough votes to implement reforms through the nuclear option, a controversial tactic whereby Senate rules can be changed by a simple majority vote.
      Per mcjoan yesterday, that's regular procedure, not the "nuclear option."

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:25:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Signed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUNDOWN, 3goldens

    though it's mighty damn difficult to understand how Reid and those Dems considering anything less than full reform don't know that they are playing with fire here.

    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 Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:41:14 AM PST

  •  Sounds like a lot of good bills will be passed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUNDOWN

    in the middle of the night and the night before Christmas...

    Also, on St. Ronnie's birthday.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:42:17 AM PST

  •  41 Votes sounds good to me (17+ / 0-)

    I'm not all that worried about the talking filibuster.  Having to muster 41 votes to stop debate I think is a pretty good reform.  

    Remember that right now one anonymous Senator can stop debate just by mentioning the word "filibuster" under his breath while he walks out the door.  Making that Senator have to rustle up 40 of his friends to not only support his request but to actually hang around missing their tee times and cocktail parties is a pretty meaningful reform.

    [Terrorists] are a dime a dozen, they are all over the world and for every one we lock up there will be three to take his place. --Digby

    by rabel on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:43:10 AM PST

    •  We don't have it yet and won't if McConnell (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, Remillard, akmk

      Agrees to an even weaker set of reforms.

      I am disgusted with the entire senate.

      As an institution there are very little incentives for them to work on behalf of the people, as opposed to lobbyists, donors and themselves.

      A standing army is like a standing member. It's an excellent assurance of domestic tranquility, but a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure. Elbridge Gerry - Constitutional Convention (1787)

      by No Exit on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:23:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need a front page 'explanation' diary.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remillard, akmk, llywrch

    ..on why a minority-vote filibuster helps the situation at all.  

    Is it intended to provide Reid a chance to sneak bills back onto the floor late at night when 40 Republicans aren't around?  How is this 'more collegial' than simply making people debate when they indicate that more debate is needed before a vote?  

    I just don't se that happening; at least, not until Republicans take over.  If we're not going to have a talking filibuster, then the bills won't be debated for a long enough period to stress out 41 Senators.  They'll vote once, and Reid will put the bill back on the shelf.  

    When extra-terrestrial beings make their first appearance on our planet, and ask for representatives of our species to best exemplify humanity, I'm sending a nurse, a librarian, and a firefighter.

    by Wayward Son on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:45:54 AM PST

    •  It prevents (12+ / 0-)

      a single, anonymous senator from blocking a bill or nomination. It makes the minority work. If someone wants to block something, s/he has to round up 40 colleagues to agree to vote with them to keep a filibuster going. They can't just send an e-mail to leadership saying they object and then head out for the weekend.

      It will force opposition to become public and transparent. What would make it stronger is if it required that 41 people have to be there to go to a quorum call during extended debates, meaning not only would you need 41 votes to keep a filibuster going, but the minority would have to be the ones producing bodies for quorum calls. That'd be good.

      But this would be a good start.

      "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

      by Joan McCarter on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:09:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Have the Republicans ever hesitated to vote no? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eps62

        They vote 'no' on cloture now, in numbers greater than 40.

        Unless the talking filibuster is in place, the Senate would then move on to other business, same as now.

        When extra-terrestrial beings make their first appearance on our planet, and ask for representatives of our species to best exemplify humanity, I'm sending a nurse, a librarian, and a firefighter.

        by Wayward Son on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:37:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's huge (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      akmk, llywrch, betelgeux

      The 41 vote is bigger than the talking filibuster, in my opinion.  Right now 60 senators must be present to break a filibuster.  Remember, Democrats only had 60 senators on the floor for about ten to twelve days during the entirety of Obama's presidency, due to various illnesses and such (mostly Kennedy and Byrd).

      Switching the burden means a talking filibuster can be forced, anyway.  Better than that, only one of the majority needs to hang around while 41 from the minority must stick around 24 hours a day to keep the filibuster going.  This gives way more leverage Reid and the majority party.

      •  If the talking filibuster is off the table.. (0+ / 0-)

        ..they aren't going to insist 41 Senators remain on hand to discuss the bill, since they would have already tabled it and moved on to something else.

        Hopefully someone on DKos can explain how it's going to work.

        When extra-terrestrial beings make their first appearance on our planet, and ask for representatives of our species to best exemplify humanity, I'm sending a nurse, a librarian, and a firefighter.

        by Wayward Son on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:35:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nominees is where this matters (10+ / 0-)

    I could care less about the whole amendment issue related to legislative filibusters. But the practice of anonymous holds must end, as should the ability of the minority party to painlessly delay nominees.

    If you think a judge or other appointee is so terrible for America that the duly elected Presdent's Constitutional authority to nominate them should be superceeded, you better get on the floor and tell America just how awful you think they are.

    Frankly, I have little hope for important legislation in the second term, which is why I want the President and Senate to focus on filling the federal bench.

    •  The problem with amendments (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, Remillard, OffTheHill

      and guaranteeing the GOP gets them (their demand is that these guaranteed amendments could be passed by simple majority) is that they do nothing but create poison pills to force Democrats to end up voting against their own legislation on final passage.

      But, yeah, fixing nominations is critical.

      "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

      by Joan McCarter on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:11:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And a Balanced Budget Amendment would pass... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chuckvw

        GOP Caucus plus Manchin, Heitkamp, Tester, Pryor, Landrieu, and Donnelly.  

        Boom.

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

        by Jacoby Jonze on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:28:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  fix in conference (0+ / 0-)

        That's why the second-most important issue to my mind is preventing the filibuster on motions to conference with the House. Back in my Hill days, when the roles were reversed, Senate Dems would insert improvements to horrible legislation, and the GOP knew they would just pull them in conference and then let Senate Dems explain why the "were for it before they were against it."

        We constantly got rolled by the House GOP in conference, I'd love to see Senate Demst start to do the same.

    •  Clearing the path for nominees is key (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Senor Frog, Nick Lento, llywrch

      There are 105 federal judicial vacancies - either open or pending - right now. That's 12% of all federal judgeships open, with many more to come over the next 4 years.

      http://judicialnominations.org/

      Plus the various cabinet positions that are open, plus EPA, ATF, and hundreds of other Executive appointments Republican senators have been holding hostage.

      Having the Executive and Judicial branches working and effective is at stake here.

      Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

      by bear83 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:44:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If OUR leader, Sen. Reid, can't get 51 votes ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, betelgeux, grayday101

    ... to end the silent filibuster, we need a new leader.

    The 41 vote business is cute, but ridiculous. While it is an alternative, it's a weaker one, a half-a**ed cop-out to the kind of ossification that produced today's ridiculous gridlock.

    The Senate needs reform now. Senator Reid needs to be an effective part of meaningful reform ... or step down.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:50:07 AM PST

    •  What sort of leverage do you think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      akmk

      he has over the holdouts?  Reid's demonstrated that he can play hardball.  From what I can gather, the holdouts are quite safe and aren't worried about being primaried. How do you whip the truly entrenched when they can't get beyond the past and feel they have little to lose?

      •  Outing. Committee assignments next time. ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        akmk, grayday101

        Scheduling bills for action, or not-right-away-because-we're-so-busy. Perqs and bennies of the Senate. Boondoggles. Select assignments that will come about during the term. Hell, anything a Senator wants going forward that the MJ can influence. And the Senatorial Campaign Committee does have some things to say about support during reelection campaigns. (Heaven forfend it be used in any way but the most supportive!)

        Every leader has leverage. I had a boss once who put forth his proposal - a quite radical one for the business. Then he listened very tolerantly to the views of others, though with increasingly visible impatience. At the end of a meeting, his customary time to sum the action items up, he reiterated what he wanted to do and told us: "If people won't change, we have to change the people."

        While Majority Leader Harry Reid can't change the people themselves, he can exercise a leader's leverage ... and I'm confident that the majority of his majority would support him. He won't be deposed in mid stream; there aren't enough votes.

        (And No, I don't think Harry Reid plays hardball. I believe he plays active/passive ball and ducks the toughest ones.)

        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:15:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  making the opposition get 41 NOes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, grayday101

      is definitely better than making the majority produce 60 yeses ...The Dems would never be able to get 60 yes votes... look at all the failures due to the lack of 60 yes to cloture votes

      This puts the burden on the party that wants it ...

      I think I like this better than the talking filibuster ... you don't have a martyr up there spouting nonsense ...no Romantic Jimmy Stewart type ...

      the house just passed the debt limit bill and it's on to the Senate ...   so let's get the rules in place...

      The rule should have always been 41 votes in the chamber to block it ...

      Give your heart a real workout! Love your enemies!

      by moonbatlulu on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:30:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are GOP Senators who look like Jimmy ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... Stewart? And sure, let some ultra-conservative get up and read recipes or the phonebook. Time after time, 'til the Senate freezes over. That, at least for a while, would be newsworthy confrontation and the media might start covering the gridlock in DC for the partisan non-activity that it is.

        On the merits, do you think the obdurate and dedicated Mitch McConnell, who has been the effective leader of the US Senate for the last several years, can't muster 41 Republicans any damn time he has to?

        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:21:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes, McConnell can muster 41 votes initially (0+ / 0-)

          but he has to keep them ...and no, I don't think he can keep them very long .... as soon as 41 noes are not on the floor of the Senate the filibuster is over ...

          Give your heart a real workout! Love your enemies!

          by moonbatlulu on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:41:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Will the proposal - yet to be seen - require 41... (0+ / 0-)

            ... continual presences on the floor?

            But even if it does, wouldn't that necessitate the majority having at least that many, plus one, on the floor or very nearby at all times? Otherwise, anyone could call the question and vote.

            Why do I doubt that that this archaic, ossified, anti-deliberative body - where members of both parties and independents cherish the value of No! - would require what we think it would require? Just sayin'.

            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:10:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Seems Like Good News (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remillard, akmk, grayday101

    I just can't see McConnell proposing a substitute to the 41 vote requirement that would make most Dem. Senators happy.  Here is a list of what I think the possible options are:

    1. McConnell does nothing and Reid moves ahead with the 41 vote rule using the Constitutional Option (IMO 30% chance).

    2. McConnell puts forth a rule that is an equal substitute to the 41 vote rule and it is accepted by Reid and passed with a 2/3s vote under the present rules  (IMO 1% or less chance).

    3. McConnell puts forth a rule that falls well short of the 41 vote rule, it is rejected by Reid and he moves ahead with the 41 vote rule using the Constitutional Option (IMO 67% chance).

    4. McConnell puts forth a rule that falls well short of the 41 vote rule, it is accepted by Reid in a total cave and fails to garner a 2/3s vote under the present rules making Reid look foolish (IMO 1% chance).

    5. McConnell puts forth a rule that falls well short of the 41 vote rule, it is accepted by Reid in a total cave and garners a 2/3s vote under the present rules made up of all Republicans and a few crappy moderate Democrats (IMO 1% chance).

    So based on the above, I like our chances of real reform.

    "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 Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:50:19 AM PST

  •  If this can be done without a talking filibuster (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, bear83

    then I'm all in. Personally, the thought of McConnel and gang yapping endlessly about anything they desire makes me want to retch. Putting the onus on the minority to come up with 41 bodies to sustain a filibuster, and doing away with the ability to filibuster a motion to proceed to debate seems to me a pretty good solution. Not perfect, but dear God, who can stand the thought of open-mic night for Republicans in the well of the Senate?

    I am getting gay-married in Maine!

    by Rumarhazzit on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:51:32 AM PST

  •  Talking filibuster "off the table". (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, 3goldens

    Unless of course - the talking part was done on Sunday talk shows.

    What, not enough "cameras" for McCain's vote?

    Certain Dems need to be particularly ashamed, and need to be reminded of that.

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:57:14 AM PST

  •  Rope a dope. (0+ / 0-)

    First serious counter punch launched and landed. More to follow...

    Give blood. Play hockey.

    by flycaster on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:11:06 AM PST

  •  The current Democratic Caucus is a joke (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, chuckvw, maryabein, betelgeux

    an absolute joke..

    their game of rotating villian is annoying as all get out...

    Durbing - there are not 51 votes...I bet there are 49...and the ones holding out are not really holding out but are basically taking the heat (Levin) because they are in no danger.

    I think the filibuster is critical.  However, any party that thinks a filibuster that causes the minority to not have to justify itself is as much a part of the problem as those in opposition.

    The issue here is these guys know they have to fund raise, and go home.  

    Good...makes you think twice about filibustering.  Kind of the point...

    Everyone talks tough until the chips are on the line...and then...like clockwork...


    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:17:45 AM PST

  •  Too many people griping without understanding (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, sc kitty, bear83, grayday101

    Folks, the minority sustaining filibuster reform is as good IMHO as the Merkeley-Udall talking filibuster. In fact, it's better in some respects. The talking filibuster proposal still kept the burden on the majority to end the filibuster.

    Reid has shown in the past that he has the authority to call all-night sessions to force the minority to keep up the filibuster. The problem is, in order to break it he had to keep 60 Democrats on-hand. Changing that to requiring 41 of the minority remain in the building is a major step forward - better even than the 1/3 of those present that the old (1973) rules used.

    Now, this needs to go along with elimination of the secret hold and removal of filibusters on motions to proceed and those other reforms in Merkeley-Udall - and I believe Reid has stated most if not all of those reforms were in his plan.

    Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

    by Phoenix Rising on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:17:45 AM PST

    •  Unless there's a legal requirement to talk.... (0+ / 0-)

      ...then wtf do the 41 folks in the minority DO once they've voted to sustain the filibuster?  Just sit there?   Or go home and come back the next day to vote again?

      Forcing the filibusterers to TALK for the full duration is good either way.  If the filibuster makes sense and is based on reason, fact and good policy then the talking and the publicity will help to shame the majority.  If the filibuster is just more stupid negative insane asinine obstructionism...then the light and heat shed on i will be good as folks will remember who the assholes were when the next election comes up.

      •  I guess that depends... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg, markmatson, llywrch

        If you force all Senate work to stop while there's a filibuster, then that might be a grand way for Republicans to tie up the works while other important stuff might be pending.

        Reid has in the past called a couple of all-night filibuster sessions. During that time, only the measure being filibustered was considered, so opponents were talking for that time.

        The problem is that with a 60-vote requirement to pass cloture, there's not much point to actually staying around talking. With 41 people available to talk, they could take shifts with only two people present at any time (one for backup); if anyone called for another cloture vote, we'd still need 60 votes to stop the filibuster. So why bother? There are - and were - better things to do than continue to debate a doomed measure. Better to go on to something else, which is what Reid has done for the past few years.

        Changing it to 41 votes to maintain the filibuster means they have to keep 41 bodies in the Senate chambers for as long as the Speaker decides to hold session. Lose your 41st member for any reason and they close the Senate doors for a vote count, and cloture is invoked.

        Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

        by Phoenix Rising on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:36:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Does Reid have the votes? (0+ / 0-)

    What concerns me about the delay is that the real reason for it may be that Reid can't round up 51 votes for anything, even with the Vice President in the chair.

    "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 Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:18:43 AM PST

    •  He wants a negotiated deal - it's better optics (0+ / 0-)

      and gives McConnell and the GOP no reason to grandstand and rant and rave about the Dems blowing up comity of the Senate in a power grab.  

      Which is why he's holding the minority having to supply 41 votes over McConnell's head - that's a pretty big hammer Reid is threatening to get McConnell to agree to the lesser changes.  If the GOP agrees to negotiated deal than it's a non-news story, if they balk and Reid needs 51 Dem votes and the constitutional option it becomes a big news story and gives the GOP reason to use whatever weapon they are left with to obstruct and filibuster everything in protest.  

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

      by Jacoby Jonze on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:26:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Talking filibusters don't change anything... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corwin, Aquarius40, markmatson

    41 votes to keep filibuster going is much bigger deal than a talking filibuster.  

    Talking filibuster just gives nutters like Rand Paul the platform he craves with the rest of the Senators having to sit there and listen.  

    Also I suspect it's an age issue - funny how these folks would gladly vote to raise our retirement age to 70 but that's another issue.  You are going to have 70, 80 yr olds have to stand and talk for hours, it would be unseemly.  It wouldn't be like Mr. Smith, but some old timer rambling on.  I think a talking filibuster would dissuade some legit filibusters.    

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

    by Jacoby Jonze on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:22:42 AM PST

    •  Totally disagree... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nick Lento, akmk, grayday101

      the talking filibuster is not about the result...that is going to be generally the same regardless which side is supposed to show up.

      The talking filibuster is about ownership.  Create meaningful transparency for obstruction.  Ensure the minority is forced to spotlight that reason for overriding majority rule.

      This is good in my opinion.  Even when Dems have to do it.

      A boring floor vote will not achieve the goal of forcing transparency, as the media will not be forced to cover it.

      Why would we not want Rand Paul to speak and show his insanity. (See Wayne La Pierre if you don't believe me).

      Sunshine is the best disinfectant.  This goes halfway, but is not the most effective option...in my humble opinion...

      "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

      by justmy2 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:29:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Advice & Consent - Making it work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify

    I put this comment in another diary in December.  I am recycling it here:



    Qui Tacet Consentire

    While I agree that filibusters should require the filly or buster to stand on his or her hind legs and hold the floor, I believe Senate confirmation of presidential appointments requires a different rule.

    The Senate responsibility to advise and consent on appointments does not, in my view, give them the right to stop the process completely.  They can vote yes or no (uppordown vote), but I think if they take no action at all for some period, the nominee should be confirmed.

    This should work similarly to the rules for Presidential vetoes.  Provided that the Congress is in session, the President has ten working days to "return" the bill, meaning he must either sign it or veto it.  If he does neither, he is deemed to have consented.

    Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution says:

    If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a Law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a Law.

    Let the same rule apply to Presidential appointments.  The Senate should have ten working days after a nominee is presented by the President to confirm or reject the nomination, and if they do neither, that is, if they don't have the uppordown vote in that time, then the nominee should be confirmed.

  •  Here's the plan... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grayday101

    We'll wait until daddy falls asleep and then sneak out the window...

    The dirty little secret is that some, perhaps many, dems want the no-fuss filibuster as much as do the rethugs (when they're in the minority).

    The rightwing radicals have got their way - with lots of dem help. We have a largely nonfunctioning national government.



    Perpetual crisis means never having to say you're sorry.

    by chuckvw on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:25:40 AM PST

  •  The talking filibuster puts at a disadvantage any (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUKind

    Senator who doesn't have the stamina to stand there and talk for hours.  Considering how old many of them are, that burden may be a tad unfair to a lot of  states that gomers represent.  (Or maybe it's an appropriate penalty to those states for electing gomers?)

    Anyway, 'flipping the burden' makes more sense in a lot of ways.  All the Senators supporting a filibuster would need to stay close enough to reach the floor of the Senate in 15 minutes.  They couldn't do much else besides being in their offices.  Meanwhile the anti-filibuster majority could be out on the golf course, shmoozing it up with lobbyists and big dollar contributors in a nice setting.

    The minority could still block something, but it would have to be something it was really, really important to them to block.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:29:41 AM PST

  •  One more time and then I will shut up. Kongress (0+ / 0-)

    does not report to the American Electorate.

    It reports to K Street

    Ergo there will be no substantive change to the Filibuster Procedure.

    I tried to point this out to this Blog seven years ago when I started following it and nothing has changed since then excepts names and faces.

    Your Government is serving you up their version of the World Wide Wrestling Federation Bull Krap.

    You are being conned into voting for your wrestler and forgetting about the issues.

    Meanwhile the poor get poorer and and the rich get richer and both sides of Kongress laugh all the way to the bank.

  •  41 is good. all the hiding and gimicks need to go (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, RUKind

    away. if someone or a party wants to delay, hold up or filibuster, they should be on record.  seems too basic to have to state.

    seriously doubtful if any of the filibusters the R's tried would have held if R's had to put a vote to it.  

    ironically, getting 40 D's to shoot down an R majority wouldn't have that problem. because they usually use it on good grounds

    what lincoln said http://cleantechnica.com/2012/10/10/abraham-lincoln-was-on-to-wind-power-long-before-the-rest/

    by rasfrome on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:44:13 AM PST

  •  A 41 vote rule is not enough reform! (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans - under the dominant leadership of Mitch McConnell - have more than 41 votes in the US Senate. (They, the cadres of Far Right, Ultra-Conservative, Leaning Conservative and Moderate-if-you-can-find-them, are being led in lockstep by someone who knows how to be a leader.)

    The filibuster itself is an anomaly, an abnormal growth on rules to conduct legislative gatherings. End the silent filibuster. Apply the filibuster only to final legislative action.

    If the Majority Leader of the US Senate were to say he wants 51 votes to limit what can be filibustered and to end the silent filibuster, he can get them and he will end it.

    Senators Reid and Durbin want us to believe that at least three Democrats have defected on the question. I'm sure several of the older timers - who helped get the rules where they are today - have reservations. But except for Sen. Levin who is "out" on the subject, I don't believe they are the real problem. The problem is that Harry Reid is unwilling to pull the strings that every leader has.
    If the Majority Leader of the US Senate cannot - or is unwilling - to lead his majority on such a fundamental reform as this, one so meaningful to the legislation that will come up in the next two years - then he should not be the Majority Leader. If Senators Schumer and Durbin will not support removing the silent filibuster, they should not be in Senate leadership, either.
    At a minimum, there ought to be a "roll call" of the Democrats for where they stand, so the public knows who is blocking this kind of reform. That would be uncivil, unrealistic political comity, but we have seen what the filibuster did to the Dream Act. We know what it will do for legislation to come. We know what the Republicans will do if they get 51 votes. We need to know where each Democrat stands on this one.

    If the Republicans got a 51 vote majority, can there by any doubt how they would use it? One of our most frustrating problems is that when the media talks about "Washington gridlock," they say it is bi-partisan. It would be so very much harder to do if the public could see who's doing the blockage. Visibility counts!

    If any issue is a litmus test - and there are very few single issues that should be! - removing the silent filibuster and limiting what it applies to should be that test. Senator Reid's continued effective leadership IS at issue, whether he thinks so or not.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:02:17 AM PST

  •  Best would be a talking fb AND a 41 votes! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eps62, mwm341
  •  Sometimes I get the feeling that if Harry Reid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUKind, DeeW

    had been the President on December 7, 1941 he would have sent the Japanese a message that said: "We'll vacate the Pacific by next Tuesday, and have all our troops out of the Philippines by Saturday next, does that work for you?".

    I don't get him and his inability to "whip" his majority of Dems to do the right thing.  There are plenty of ways to get the "old-timey 'process-driven' Dems" onboard, including holding committee assignments up, not allowing them to introduce legislation they want or at least not supporting it... c'mon, this is such bullshit.  One of the reasons they were returned to the majority was to get shit done, and not have Harry Reid send flowers to Turtle-Man for his hurt fee-fees over filibuster reform.

    A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. -Carl Sagan

    by jo fish on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:21:37 AM PST

  •  Presidential nominees at stake (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Icicle68, RUKind, Simplify, chuck utzman, eps62

    Nominations sent to the Senate yesterday:

    The White House
    Office of the Press Secretary

    For Immediate Release January 22, 2013
    Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate

    NOMINATIONS SENT TO THE SENATE:

    John Owen Brennan, of Virginia, to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, vice David H. Petraeus, resigned.

    Charles Timothy Hagel, of Nebraska, to be Secretary of Defense, vice Leon E. Panetta.

    John Forbes Kerry, of Massachusetts, to be Secretary of State, vice Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    Jacob J. Lew, of New York, to be Secretary of the Treasury, vice Timothy F. Geithner.

    Jacob J. Lew, of New York, to be United States Governor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; to be United States Governor of the International Monetary Fund for a term of five years; United States Governor of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for a term of five years; United States Governor of the Inter-American Development Bank for a term of five years, vice Timothy F. Geithner.

    Sylvia M. Becker, of the District of Columbia, to be a Member of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States for the term expiring September 30, 2013, vice Ralph E. Martinez, term expired.

    Sylvia M. Becker, of the District of Columbia, to be a Member of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States for the term expiring September 30, 2016.  (Reappointment)

    Robert F. Cohen, Jr., of West Virginia, to be a Member of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission for a term of six  years expiring August 30, 2018.  (Reappointment)

    Richard J. Engler, of New Jersey, to be a Member of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board for a term of five years, vice William E. Wright, term expired.

    Alan F. Estevez, of the District of Columbia, to be a Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, vice Frank Kendall III.

    Christopher J. Meade, of New York, to be General Counsel for the Department of the Treasury, vice George Wheeler Madison, resigned.

    David Medine, of Maryland, to be Chairman and Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board for a term expiring January 29, 2018.  (New Position)

    Carol Waller Pope, of the District of Columbia, to be a Member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority for a term of five years
    expiring July 1, 2014.  (Reappointment)

    William B. Schultz, of the District of Columbia, to be General Counsel of the Department of Health and Human Services, vice Daniel Meron.

    Jeffrey Shell, of California, to be a Member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for a term expiring August 13, 2015, vice Walter Isaacson, term expired.

    Jeffrey Shell, of California, to be Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, vice Walter Isaacson, resigned.

    Frederick Vollrath, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense.  (New Position)

    Derek Anthony West, of California, to be Associate Attorney General, vice Thomas John Perrelli, resigned.

    Jenny R. Yang, of the District of Columbia, to be a Member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for a term expiring July 1, 2017, vice Stuart Ishimaru, resigned.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

    Changes have to be made. Democrats cannot leave these important jobs vacant.
     

    Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

    by bear83 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:29:07 AM PST

  •  Naming Names... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUKind, Simplify

    Why don't we know the names of the recalcitrant Dems who seem so enamored of failing to conduct the nation's business?  Shouldn't they be pilloried in public name so we can bring suitable pressure on them?

    I have no idea what my Senators' positions actually are, apart from the idiotic mealy-mouthed talking points they occasionally deign to blather...

    How about some vote countin' and some nut cuttin'?

  •  Typical spineless Democrats. No stomach for (0+ / 0-)

    true leadership.  Not for my values, anyway.

  •  Why is the backup plan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUKind, eps62

    the one not being pushed forward with 51 votes NOW!? I thought they had the votes! PLEASE DON'T DO WATERED DOWN LAME REFORM!

  •  Why the name? (0+ / 0-)

    Simple majority to change the rules of the Seante is the Senate rule for changing Senate rules.  No one disputes that, or no one would have taken the "nuclear option" seriously as a threat.  Why talk about a simple exercise of the actual rule of the Senate as if it were somehting speical, exotic, and unprecedented?  Getting rid of the filibuster, or the 2/3 rule in rule changes shouldn't be called by any special name.  It's business as usual, doesn't deserve some special name.  

    The fact that the Senate also has a courtesy rule to the effect that it takes 2/3 to change its rules, just makes the 2/3 requirement a privilege that the simple majority extends to the minority.  The majority can withdraw that privilege at any time it is abused to the detriment of the Senate's ability to function.  That's why the parliamentary back door of the simple majority being all that's needed to change rules was left in effect, to allow needed change in the rules in case there's a minority that wants to block needed change.

    The Senate could have a courtesy rule that anything it votes for doesn't go into effect unless I, gtomkins, give it my seal of approval.  I think I deserve more courtesy than the current Senate minority.  But, if the Senate had extended me this courtesy, the very first time I abused it and blocked a law the majoerity wanted, I sure hope they would do an immediate rule change to get rid of that damn fool courtesy that lets gtomkins get in the way of the people's business.

    Same difference for the filibuster, and the rule that it takes 2/3 to change the rules.  Those things aren't rules, they're courtesies and privileges.  They can be revoked if they are abused, and the simple majority is responsible for revoking them if they are abused.  The simple majority (oh, except in those specific cases specified in the Constitution) cannot abdicate final respinsibility for what the Senate does and fails to do.  Continuing either the filibuster, in any form, or the 2/3 rule about rule changes, would be such an unallowed abdication.

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 03:35:49 PM PST

  •  Lucy and the Football (0+ / 0-)

    My concern is that the Democrats are going to cave on filibuster reform, and pursue a 'weak tea' solution that will fall apart the moment the GOP decides not to honor the agreement. You can't negotiate with crazy.

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