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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) gestures as he addresses reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 11, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Republicans in the Senate have been blocking an extension of unemployment benefits since December, filibustering every attempt by Majority Leader Harry Reid to restore benefits to the long-term unemployed. That's just the latest example of ongoing Republican obstruction, added to a very, very long list of legislative efforts the GOP has stopped. In fact, since Democrats invoked the nuclear option on presidential nominees, Republicans have arguably become even more obstructive in retaliation. It's enough to make Reid consider further filibuster reform.
A coalition of labor and liberal groups have pressed Reid to make additional changes to the Senate rules this year, something that senior Democratic aides say is very possible. [...]

The coalition, known as Fix the Senate Now, includes Alliance for Justice, the Communications Workers of America, Common Cause and the Sierra Club.

Reid is reluctant to provoke another confrontation with Republican colleagues over the rules, but he’s frustrated with the continued obstruction and needs the help of outside groups to turn out voters in the midterm elections.

“Reid is not afraid to go further and considers reform this year a real possibility,” said a senior Senate Democratic aide.

It shouldn't just be considered a possibility, it should be considered a necessity. Just last week, 59 senators could not provide a big enough majority to pass essential benefits to the long-term unemployed. The opposition of 41 ruled. That's just wrong.

Reid and his fellow Democrats can change that, and they could do it and still preserve the right of the minority to block legislation. Using the nuclear option to implement the real filibuster, the talking filibuster, would do the trick. It would force Republicans to have to really fight, to organize and to hold the floor, in order to block legislation. If Republicans actually had to work to make a filibuster happen, we'd be seeing it happen a lot less frequently.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:02 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (55+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:02:24 PM PST

  •  Talking filibuster, please. (20+ / 0-)

    I am with my senator, Tom Udall, on this one.  He's been pushing for it for several years and I think correctly so.

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

    by lgmcp on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:08:52 PM PST

  •  If the GOP wins back the Senate (10+ / 0-)

    will they hesitate for a moment to drastically alter the filibuster? I'm for going back to a talking filibuster. If obstruction continues we start dropping the number required to end one.  

    There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

    by BeerNotWar on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:11:31 PM PST

  •  I don't believe the GOP (16+ / 0-)

    will win back the Senate.  They're too extreme.  People are catching on.  We're shifting to a different world.  Awareness is infectious and working.

    If you acknowledge it, you can change it.

    by Raggedy Ann on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:19:46 PM PST

  •  Maybe Reid Could Have a Word w That Super Pac nt (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, Betty Pinson, niemann, notrouble

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:24:20 PM PST

  •  I'd like to see the filibuster go away soon - (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Skyye, ferg, Elwood Dowd, MPociask

    but with the republican House, it may not matter much.

    However, there is lots of unfinished business on the appointments side.  I haven't heard much about "blue slips" lately - are Reid and Leahy still requiring them?

    The Senate can act without the House - so let's get going.  There shouldn't be a single open judicial position by this summer.   At a minimum by the fall - this needs to be done before the midterms, just in case.

    So Reid can talk all he wants to about "more filibuster reform" - but let's capitalize on the reforms already made, and the ones that can really make a difference despite the House.

    •  I hope he does reform (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MPociask

      the filibuster but when he does I sure hope he does a talking filibuster and the talking must to the point, not reading the paper or something FOX wrote (as example)

      And it must be allowed to go to vote as soon as the filibuster ends.

    •  Puts more pressure (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      geez53, Eric Nelson

      on the House. Now they can get away with more because they've got the assist from Senate GOP--the obstruction is spread out.

      "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

      by Joan McCarter on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 01:13:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Reid can make the GOP go on record (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, cybersaur

      voting against popular legislation like extending unemployment, raising the minimum wage, etc.

      That's one of the reasons the GOP filibusters everything - they don't want to go on record voting against bills popular with working class voters in their states.

      Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

      by Betty Pinson on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 05:28:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nuking the filibuster and making the (0+ / 0-)

      Discharge Petition a reality in the House would allow us to get rather more done. There are still Republicans willing to vote for bipartisan bills, but the Tea Parties will not allow Boehner to bring them to the floor.

      Of course, there are a lot more Republicans who will vote for a bill than sign a Discharge Petition, because of primarying from the Right.

      We just have to take the House this fall and undo some of the gerrymanders.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:36:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Discharge Petition? (0+ / 0-)

        I thought the GOP killed the Discharge Petition just recently...

        +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

        by cybersaur on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:57:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not at all (0+ / 0-)

          The last big change was in 1993, when then-Rep. Inhofe pushed through a requirement to make all signatures public even before the petition is submitted.

          The usual response to a Discharge Petition that looks like it will succeed is to allow the bill to the floor, so that the Discharge Petition becomes moot.

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:31:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The Republicans would have to WORK??? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, Eric Nelson, TKO333

    Well, since they're all for making people work, they should support this!!!

  •  Good idea, in principle, the problem is as long as (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purseonality, MPociask, notrouble

    the GOP has the House, they can obstruct anything they want. So it makes little difference in the short term.

    You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment.

    by MikePhoenix on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 05:25:05 PM PST

  •  Do it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask

    Do it now. And here's why - a list of things that need doing

    petition signed gladly

    It shouldn't just be considered a possibility, it should be considered a necessity.
    Yes & Yes

    Thx Joan McCarter

  •  I've wondered this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    and maybe someone with more knowledge than me can explain it:
    Why can't Reid and the Democrats vote to eliminate the filibuster, and let the Republicans scream, and then, on the last day of the session, decide to agree with their Senate brethren, and change it back to reinstate the filibuster? Just say "You know, we've considered your argument about preserving the rights of the minority, and we've come to the conclusion that you're right. So we're going to reinstitute the filibuster, and we hope you'll remember your argument if you should happen to end up in the majority. And we'll remind voters what shameless hypocrites and liars you are if you don't."

  •  The case is a little less clear with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, notrouble

    the legislative filibuster, than with the confirmation filibuster.

    Confirmations don't go to the House.  Legislation does.

    If it's clear that the Senate is blocking legislation that would get through the House, or would at least cause Republicans in the House to risk their seats blocking it, great - end the filibuster rule for legislation.

    If ending the filibuster for legislation just means bills die on Boehner's desk, it may not make much sense.

  •  Mr Smith Goes to Washington (0+ / 0-)

    Pee in a bottle, please.
    Lots of theater, lots of entertainment

  •  Now there's some optimism (0+ / 0-)

    Probably misplaced though.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 05:56:42 PM PST

  •  Then do it! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask, GleninCA, Simplify

    Oh my god, I get so tired of reading headlines like this in regards to Reid: ready to force their hand; willing to go; says he will; will happen; has the votes; etc.  Just do it already!!  Stop with the posturing and do it!

  •  Reid is a shortsighted fool (0+ / 0-)

    And Democrats will find out just how shortsighted and foolish he is if the Republicans ever take over the Senate.  But then it will be too late.  They will crush a Democratic minority and everyone will complain, forgetting that we did it to ourselves when we had the majority.

    •  In the meantime . . . (0+ / 0-)

         If we don't get Obama's judges confirmed, then, if Rs retake the Senate, they will cram theirs through and the Democratic party will rue it for decades.

      •  The judges issue has already been taken care of (0+ / 0-)

        Reid is now talking about legislation.  If the Republicans get 51 Senators in November, do you really want them stopping everything?

        •  The judges situation has . . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Zinman, GleninCA

             not been taken care of.  There are currently 96 vacancies of which only 59 have been nominated. We need to get to work on this.

          •  Make filling judicial vacancies JOB #1 (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GleninCA, lorell

            Every judicial opening needs to be filled now with a solid (and young) ACLU friendly appointee. Hold midnight sessions, do what we have to do, but fill those vacancies ASAP.

            Also, make it clear that Supreme Court nominees will not be subject to the filibuster, just in case some of the progressive Justices consider retiring before President Obama leaves office.

            Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now 400ppm. That is "Climate Cluster Chaos". (hat tip to JeffW for CCC)

            by Zinman on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:36:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  You fool (0+ / 0-)

      If you don't believe the GOP will utterly abolish the filibuster the very second they are able to do so, you are so naive you shouldn't be running around loose at night.

      IT IS PART OF THE ALEC GAME PLAN.

    •  Thank you for your concern. (0+ / 0-)

      Perhaps you would be so kind as to let me know how many times the Dems actually used the filibuster the last time they were in the minority? Besides, the rules can be changed at any time under this precedent, so we wouldn't be binding the Republicans to anything anyway . . .

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:37:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A D minority will never be allowed to filibuster (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zinman

    There is absolutely no reason to go half-way, to pin vain hopes on the effectiveness of a "talking filibuster" to curb abuse of the filibuster while still allowing "good" filibusters, presumably ones our side would want to use in the future when we're in the majority.

    Everyone should have understood this when the filibuster was partially ended a few months ago, that the Rs will never allow our side any sort of filibuster ever again if they get the majority back.  This is not a criticism.  They will be right to end the filibuster completely.  But end it completely they surely will, and they will think of themselves as the victims of aggression as they do that to us.  This is the minimum we can expect as payback for ending any bit of the filibuster, as our side did a few months ago.

    For the Rs to accept that we were right to take part of the filibuster from them, and therefore refuse to take the filibuster from us after they have the majority, they would have to be able to admit that they had abused the privilege.  Not going to happen.  Instead they will claim what they claimed at the time a few months ago, that they were the victims of wanton aggression, a D power grab.  They will have to pay us back in kind, with compound interest.

    I've never understood how the talking filibuster was supposed to prevent abuse of the institution anyway, but we really don't have to argue that point, because the filibuster, at least for D use, is already completely history, done, gone, in the archives.

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:27:42 PM PST

    •  Not necessarilly so... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gtomkins

      Let's say the Rs take the Senate in '14.
      Then let's say they totally shitcan the Filibuster.
      What do they do from 2016 on?
      ...when the Ds take the Senate back*.
      (*bet on it).

      Nuclear Reactor = Dirty Bomb

      by olo on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:39:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (0+ / 0-)

        If you concede that they will get rid of the filibuster, not even the Ds will hand it back to them by reviving the filibuster.  

        And, no, they're not going to be deterred from ending the filibuster if they get the majority back by any calculation that if they keep it alive, it will be available to them in the future.  For one thing, that would require the Rs to be able to delay gratification.  Hah!  Not happening.  

        But most importantly, I'm sure that you would grant that, after we curtailed the filibuster a few months ago, that if we try to use it in some future Senate with an R majority, they would nuke that puppy so quick it will make your head spin.

        So, sure, maybe, if the Ds never use the filibuster, never threaten to use the filibuster, maybe the Rs won't kill it completely, maybe they'll let it live in hopes of being able to use it themselves one day.  But why, in the name of all that's holy, should our side let a filibuster that only Rs can ever use, survive?.  

        The D filibuster is done, will never be allowed again.  Let's end the R filibuster, too,  Keep things even.

        The states must be abolished.

        by gtomkins on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 12:48:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Do what it takes on Senate reforms to get (0+ / 0-)

    all of the backlog of federal judiciary appointees through the Senate pronto....no more excuses.   Senate Democrats have to deliver on this.

  •  And end the "blue slip" bullshit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GleninCA

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

    by Simplify on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 04:53:54 AM PST

  •  Yes!! I was hoping Reid would do an encore (0+ / 0-)

    of his Filibuster Reform act.  Yes, yes, I know it was only recently we got to see this, but really, this is one of my favorites and I just can't get enough.

    This is going to be fantastic!  Reid will threaten to kill the Filibuster.  Republicans will stomp, fret, and fume!  Pundits will weep and the respective flavor's bases will in a fine uproar!

    No matter how many times this Act makes an appearance, it's always a crowd-pleaser.

    Raise the curtain and let the Filibuster Reform Act commence!

    The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

    by Johnathan Ivan on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 05:38:55 AM PST

  •  Don't do it. (0+ / 0-)

    The Senate passed immigration reform, ENDA, a farm bill, clean budget CRs, VAWA - all with 60+ votes. The 60-vote requirement has its good sides too. It ensures that whatever passes out of the Senate has a bipartisan element to it, and it is not just a party-line vote. Therefore, immigration had Corker-Hoeven, ENDA had religious exceptions etc.

    •  Who wants bipartisanship (0+ / 0-)

      when it forces us to compromise with lunatics? If you don't think those bills wouldn't have been better had we not had to water them down to get R votes, I've got a bridge to sell you, too.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:39:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  what difference does it make? (0+ / 0-)

        Either way, most of these bills are DOA in the House. Getting them passed thru the Senate shows that these ideas have crossover support (for instance 10 senate republicans supported ENDA even as  Boehner ruled out voting on it).

        •  The time when it would (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GleninCA

          have made a difference was when we held the House. No, it doesn't make much of a difference now, but the precedent would be set for if/when we do have both Houses again. My point stands for either case, though. You should only avoid majority rule in favor of bipartisanship when the underlying bill is unpopular. None of the things Dems are trying to pass these days are unpopular.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 04:07:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  How many times (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl

    is Reid going to threaten to do this and then not do it? they reformed filibuster rules for nominations so the corporate donors could get their lawyers appointed as judges but if they wanted to pass legislation they would have reformed the filibuster for legislation too. The current system lets the majority use the minority's obstruction as a scapegoat, so they can make a display for voting for progress with no fear of having progressive laws actually pass.

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