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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) speaks to reporters after Senate luncheons as he is accompanied by  Sen. John Cornyn,( R-TX)  at Capitol Hill in Washington, July 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jose Luis Magana
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell leads a pack of colossal wasters of time.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threatened further filibuster reform over ongoing Republican obstruction and foot dragging on Tuesday, and is keeping up the drumbeat.
I confess I've never seen some Senators work so hard to do so little. My GOP colleagues have exerted effort to cause nothing to get done.
Jennifer Bendery at Huffington Post has done some of the math to show how extreme this problem is. In the six months since Senate Democrats voted to end the filibuster for presidential nominees, Republicans have wasted 126 hours of Senate time in forcing "debate" on the candidates.
Since December 2013, when Democrats changed the rules so that it only takes a simple majority to advance a president's nominees—instead of the previous 60-vote threshold—Republicans have voted to block 30 of President Barack Obama's nominees whom they ultimately ended up voting for. Thirteen of those nominees were even confirmed unanimously. […]

Ever since December, when a nominee makes it to the floor, Republicans have routinely denied Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) their "unanimous consent" to begin debate, which means Reid has to use a more time-consuming process to move forward with each nominee. With consent from Republicans, a nominee could come up for a vote straight away. Without consent, Reid must schedule a debate on a nominee and wait for an intervening work day to pass. After that, each nominee gets anywhere from two to 30 hours of allotted debate time. Democrats typically concede their half of those hours, while Republicans run out the clock on their portion without actually debating the nominee.

The net effect, though, is that Republicans are voting to confirm the same nominees they're delaying for hours, days or even weeks at a time.

There's no principle involved here. It's just a prolonged hissy fit over the fact that Reid took action to bring to an end at least some of their unprincipled obstruction. Clearly, there's going to be a minimum of cooperation from Republicans. Just as clearly, further filibuster reform—is necessary.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed May 21, 2014 at 02:19 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (29+ / 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 Wed May 21, 2014 at 02:19:07 PM PDT

  •  Played Perfectly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr MadAsHell

    Republicans have played this perfectly.

    They will obstruct until Harry Reid and Democrats pull the nuclear trigger for them.

    Gets them what they wanted without having to do any of the dirty work.

    On top of it they can run against Democrats being responsible for fundamentally changing the Senate and changing the rules to get what they want.

    We will never hear the end of it.

    •  And just in time for republicans (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr MadAsHell, Buddykat

      To take the senate - and use these same rules to preclude any democratic input.

      I'm not sure about this.

      •  Like the GOP wouldn't blow up the rules anyway (8+ / 0-)

        Anyone who thinks they won't is extremely naive.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Wed May 21, 2014 at 08:03:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They already threatened to in 2005. (0+ / 0-)

          And we're just talking about a few filibusters back then over Bush's most extreme nominations, not a blanket of hundreds and hundreds of them.

          •  A point ignored by libs (0+ / 0-)

            Democrats and lib media did completely alienate a huge number of those who voted for Obama in hopes that he could launch a legit discussion about our poverty crisis. With the latest budget, Dems voted with Republicans to cut food stamps to the elderly, disabled and working poor.  Again. The message of lib media has been that our hyper-capitalist system is so perfect that everyone is able to work, and there are jobs for all who need one, therefore no need for poverty relief.

        •  Absolutely. Do it now and get some benefit out of (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Zinman, Thomas Twinnings, ferg

          ending the filibuster. The Republicans have threatened filibuster elimination in the past over lesser issues than this. I doubt they will hesitate to do it if they gain the majority, regardless of how much the Democrats kowtow to them now. The fact is, we've been going soft on them for six years, and what good will have that created for us? Republicans are classic bullies and Democrats act like classic victims.

          Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

          by tekno2600 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:48:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Makes no sense to do it now (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Victor Ward

            What is the point of ending the filibuster when you can't pass legislation anyway, because the GOP can stop it cold in the House?  Remember Obama's first two years? The Dem House passed EVERYTHING,...and it went on to die in the Senate through GOP filibuster.  Where did that get anybody, other than give the GOP the Nancy Pelosi boogey man to run against in 2010?

            That is why the GOP will not abolish the filibuster even if they take over the Senate.  First of all, if they do gain control, it will be by one vote or so.  I'm not sure they can get 51 GOP Senators to agree to change the rules - and they won't get any Dems.  And, even if they did change the rules, they know Obama will veto anything they really want to accomplish with such a drastic tactic.

            No, the filibuster is safe at least until the GOP controls the House, Senate, AND the White House,...which they've done for about 4 (2002 to 2006) of the last 80 years.  During that time, Dems have controlled all three elements of legislation for far more years.  That is why the GOP will never completely eliminate the filibuster.  It's one of their greatest legislative tools.  

  •  And Reid (0+ / 0-)

    Has played right along as the inept leader he is  

    You best believe it does

    by HangsLeft on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:24:46 PM PDT

  •  The Republicans will do it anyhow. We might (8+ / 0-)

    As well pass some good legislation and fill those positions while we can.

    •  We cannot pass good legislation so (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, bryduck, ferg, Matt Z

      long as the House is Republican.  I agree re nominees.

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:18:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  At the very least he could propose a change (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to the Senate rules that any debate on a nominee must actually be a debate on said nominee. Allowing Republicans their half of the thirty hours of debate time to grandstand and postulate on everything except the nominee is ridiculous. Have a rule like Texas's filibuster rule...if you stray off topic debate is closed. Then bring it to a vote right then and there.

  •  At least we look more statesmanlike... (0+ / 0-)

    ... while having our asses handed to us.

    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

    by The Termite on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:20:28 AM PDT

  •  And I'm (0+ / 0-)

    sure the voters will reward McConnell and company's bad behavior by giving the Republicans control of the Senate.  

  •  The best way to reform the filibuster? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CwV, Thomas Twinnings, Matt Z

    A 60-seat majority.

    I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

    by mojo11 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:30:44 AM PDT

  •  This is how Reid spoke (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the days/weeks leading up to the first filibuster reform, so I think they're going to go forward with this one also (finally.) Too bad it's 5 years too late. (And 7 years too early, most likely, since I doubt we're getting the House back until after the 2020 redistricting, if then.)

    "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 Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:32:25 AM PDT

    •  Too bad (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      it's piecemeal. It could have all been done in one big shebang, and the Senate would have been much more productive, giving us another edge against the obstructionist Republican House. Oh well.  

      Still, this incremental reform is better than no reform.

      "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 Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:16:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right you are. (0+ / 0-)

        The Dem Party is certainly guilty of political malpractice in a whole host of ways, and the positive boost they could have gotten for loudly and directly killing the filibuster ("We are doing all we can to help The Average American!!") getting frittered away like this is just another reminder of it.

        "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 Thu May 22, 2014 at 04:15:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Senate calendar is clogged (6+ / 0-)

    with more than 200 executive nominees, including 50 that have been waiting since January.

    The list includes Judges, US Attorneys, Generals & Admirals, Ambassadors, Under Secretarys and Administrators for the Dept of Defense, Dept of Justice, Dept of Homeland Security, Dept of the Treasury, Dept of Transportation, Dept of Energy, Dept of the Interior, Dept of Veterans Affairs, Dept of Agriculture, Dept of Education, Dept of Health & Human Services, Dept of Housing & Urban Dev, Dept of Commerce, the EPA, NASA, the Commodity Futures Trading Comm, the Federal Reserve, the Post Office, and the Director of the Peace Corps.

    There is no part of the US Government that Republican Senators are not actively trying to break.

    Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

    by bear83 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:38:02 AM PDT

  •  Obstruction Is Thy Racist Rethugs' Name (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eps62, bear83

    The self-named Party of Stupid hates the black man in the White House so much that they will do everything in their power to make him look bad, including trying to repeal the ultraconservative health care plan called "Obamacare" (= Romneycare) constantly for 5 years over 50 times at the expense to taxpayers of more than $50 Million and including LYING through their teeth about everything.

    The Stupid is strong in this country so rethugs' bigotted "useful idiots" will blindly, obediently, unquestioningly support the Party of Stupid as the country declines further and further leaving young people with a gloomy economic future unless they temporarily turn off their electronic toys and take to the streets demanding better from the corrupt politician class.

    History needs to repeat itself since the younger people have been dumbed down through diet, culture, and education and don't know 20th century American history.

  •  End filibuster and unanimous consent for all (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zinman, ferg, TrueBlueDem, Nailbanger, bear83

    nominees and then introduce all previous and current nominees as a single block and vote them in all in now. Give them something to cry's the gift that keeps on giving.

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:53:27 AM PDT

  •  The GOP's strategy was simple, yet brilliant. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueDem, bear83

    During the Bush years they pushed the country so far to the right. The worried they'd lose that through Obama so they blanket filibustered everything they could of Obama's agenda to preserve their "gains". By rights, to match what the GOP did during the Bush era, Obama should have nominated the most ideologically liberal candidate he could find every time. It never would have worked if Reid and the others did something about this years ago until waiting until we're almost half-way into the second term.

    BTW, just incase any of you were wondering THIS was the blue slip policy of the Bush administration.

    2003: A return of a negative blue slip by one or both home-state Senators does  not prevent the committee from moving forward with the nomination —
    provided that the Administration has engaged in pre-nomination consultation with both of the home-state Senators.

    In other words, Bush just called the objecting senators to his office to laugh in their face.

  •  Reform, reform, reform (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eps62, TrueBlueDem, bear83

    F*CK ALL OF THIS NONSENSE! Harry, change the rules however you need to. Put an end to their obstruction and stack those MF-ing courts with so many liberal leaning judges that the repubs won't have a chance in the judiciary when trying to bring suit to infringe on women's right and civil rights. They will prohibit them in helping their corporate masters with much of the dangerous, irresponsible legislation that they want to inflict on the American people and our land.

    I believe that the majority of us have had it with their obstruction and the dem legislators are not doing enough to stop it. I mean we are just now taking action against these nuts 5 years in to this admin. Dems are going to start losing support if they don't do something. They should be doing everything that they can to put and end to the craziness.

    And tell Obama that he is hurting the Dems with all of this TPP bulls*t. Free Trade Agreement my ass.

  •  Harry had better hurry! (0+ / 0-)

    If he doesn't institute it This weekend or next week, he will be waiting for the flop-over of the Senate which will undo the very few tiny things that have been done by institution of new rules making the filibuster completely banned for the next minority. How about majority votes for everything?

  •  Kept their word (0+ / 0-)

    This is what the Republican Party leadership said they would do from the start of President Obama's administration. They publicly said that their initial goal was to see to it that Obama was a "one-term president" by blocking him every step of the way. And a number of Dems in Congress have helped them.

  •  Perhaps the name (G-NO-P) (0+ / 0-)

    Perhaps the name (G-NO-P)

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