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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (C) is flanked by Senator John Thune (R-SD) (L) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) (R) as he addresses reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, February 4, 2014.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES

You have to hand it to Republicans. Their obstruction in the Senate has been nothing short of diabolical in its reach. They've foiled much of President Obama's agenda—their stated purpose in blocking anything and everything. In doing so, they've forced all three branches of government to falter, proving their basic ideological premise that government doesn't work. Now they're using the fact that the Senate can't accomplish anything against Democrats running for re-election. That's made Democrats turn against Harry Reid.
Led by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, a small but vocal group of mostly younger Democratic senators are meeting secretly and privately lobbying Reid to help ease the gridlock. While they blame Republicans for the bottleneck, they are pressing Reid to be more willing to entertain a freewheeling process, including more votes on amendments. […]

The push for more votes is being fueled by junior senators, many of whom worry they have little to show voters back home.

On the floor a few weeks ago, one of the group’s members, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, buttonholed West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin to express frustration that the Senate was casting yet another vote to confirm a presidential nominee—not on legislation. According to people familiar with the exchange, Booker asked: Is that all the Senate does?

One wonders where Cory Booker has been for the past six years, and whether he paid any attention at all to the working of the body he was running to be a part of. Booker aside, these Democrats have to figure out whether they really want to take the votes Reid has been protecting them from—a long, long series of Republican poison pills. Sure, they might get some of their own amendments to the floor, but in the meantime there will be endless Obamacare repeal, Keystone pipeline, and Iran votes.

For his part, Reid is encouraging the group of freshmen senators to keep meeting and trying to figure out what to do about all this. But they've got one big problem—finding a half dozen or so Republicans who will work with them to break Mitch McConnell's rule of 60 votes for most major legislation. Good luck to them with that.

So far, the group has yet to find a bill that fits that mold, a sign that finding bipartisan agreement for votes sounds easier than it actually it is.
Unless Republicans are going to be willing to start to break ranks—and there's been no indication of that so far—the only way around it is more filibuster reform. It's a popular idea with voters in red and purple states, and something these Democrats could use aggressively to answer the gridlock attacks.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 10:42 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (33+ / 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 Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 10:42:37 AM PDT

  •  Personally, I want Reid to stay with what (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, Betty Pinson, MKinTN

    he's doing. I am not in favor of capitulation to the insanity that is the GOP.

    If they don't have anything to tell the folks back home, neither will their opponent. I'm not interested in their personal political problems, they need to be creative and smart enough to fix those problems themselves. And maybe telling the truth--ala Warren--would be a good start.

    The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers. My birding blogs: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/ and canyonbirds.net

    by cany on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 10:54:39 AM PDT

    •  Isn't simply returning home (0+ / 0-)

      and saying they successfully blocked Democratic votes sufficient for the GOP Senators?  The Teabagger voters want the Democratic agenda obstructed - completely.  They don't seem to care that it will never pass the House - they don't even want a Democratic bill passing in the Senate.

      I think that's the difference.  To Teabagger voters, that is results.  They stopped those "evil Democrats" from turning the nation communist.  Or something.

      For many Democrats, on the other hand - whos constituency is obviously frustrated with the lack of progress - not seeing any Democratic legislation passed even in a legislative body we control does not equate to results.  Essentially, Democrats that don't closely follow politics and don't quite fathom the level of obstruction going on in the Senate from the GOP aren't that happy.

      Then again, neither are many of us that do recognize the level of obstruction, but our anger is directed more at the GOP for their intransigence.

      These senators have to deal with the electoral reality of constituents that feel control of the Senate means that they should have passed.... something, and I recognize that they are in a bind over it.

      "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

      by Darth Stateworker on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 08:05:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reed and Heller are rumored to be working on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson

    another UI bill--one that isn't retroactive.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 11:03:25 AM PDT

  •  Filibuster reform (0+ / 0-)

    We need it, they can do it.

    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

    by Betty Pinson on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 11:40:31 AM PDT

  •  Oh, goody. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbsoul

    The "new, younger, junior" group of next generation Blue Dogs.

    "Tea is soothing. I wish to be tense." - Rupert Giles

    by CelticOm on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 02:34:53 PM PDT

  •  Shut down, block, NO -- going places with the GOP (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northerntier

    Child forgotten in car? -- Use open source E-Z Baby Saver -- Andrew Pelham, 11yo inventor E-Z Baby Saver

    by 88kathy on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 05:47:55 PM PDT

  •  Mitch McTurtle (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pengiep, cocinero

    is a terrible, terrible man.

    Let's vote him out at the next opportunity.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 05:58:31 PM PDT

  •  Excellent idea-Dems strength is Presidential (0+ / 0-)

    The Red States have the House and Senate locked up for legislation, unless Dems free up voting to a more reasonable process which represents the people of U.S. as opposed to the Christian Right Red States' contribution to our government. We have had 6 years of gridlock at a time when control of semi-autos would have been intelligent, and the Supreme Court has been able to make Right Wing inroads.  Head 'em up, move 'em out.

  •  good picture! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero

    they sure do look like bunch of movie villains

    "I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half." - Jay Gould, robber baron of the first Gilded Age.

    by cjenk415 on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 06:08:58 PM PDT

  •  yep, Heitkamp would love nothing (4+ / 0-)

    better than to get that kxl amendment to the floor

    "The Keystone Pipeline decision has taken longer than it took us to defeat Hitler."
    ...bless her larcenous little blue-dog heart.

    We've got your back on this, Senator Reid.

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

    by Sybil Liberty on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 06:10:37 PM PDT

  •  Hypocrisy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splintersawry

    I applaud these Senators.

    It is hard to make an argument or complain about Boner sitting on bills in the House when Reid does the same thing in the Senate.

    The only difference is we like it when Harry does it because he's our guy and it's for issues we like so that makes it OK.

    The filling the tree the way Reid does is bogus.

    So what if the GOP offers amendments  designed to make us look bad? If we are embarrassed about these positions or find them politically too harmful to let everyone know then maybe we should be re-assessing anyway.

    If shit passes that Reid doesn't want then let the President veto it.

    What I can't stand though is the games that the 2 leaders of their respective houses are playing. I think it is shameful when Boner does it, and I think it is shameful when Harry does it.

    It is hypocritical to complain about how Boner runs the House by refusing to bring up bills and such but then support Reid when he does the same thing as well as when he fills the tree because he is ashamed of Democratic positions and can't dare allow his members to vote.

  •  Heidi Heitkamp is a Democrat? (0+ / 0-)

    when did that happen?

    "I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends… that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." –Adlai Stevenson

    by mellowjohn on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 06:25:52 PM PDT

  •  They will be thankful if, heaven forbid, the Se... (0+ / 0-)

    They will be thankful if, heaven forbid, the Senate is taken over in November. Reid is getting as many people in as possible just in case that happens and they ought to be grateful... if they are truly looking out for our party's interests. Maybe they need to stop thinking about themselves for a moment and look at the big picture.

  •  This is bullsh*t... Change the Filibuster law (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluenick, SoCalSal, Sybil Liberty

    Then who cares about amendments.... Just vote them all down along party lines...

    Once the Senate is fixed, pressure can then be put on Boehner to cut the Tea party loose and let moderates side with Democrats and push legislation through.....

    This argument against Reid is as silly as saying:  I haven't eaten in two days, can I have a small sip of water, please?
    Screw water.  Get some damn food.
  •  make every fillibuster a standing filibuster (2+ / 0-)

    and have the floor open all night.

  •  Filibuster reform! (0+ / 0-)

    Democratic Senators are complicit with republican obstruction as long as republicans are allowed to demand minority rule/filibuster.

    The 60 vote rule is an archaic Senate rule, not a law, and it's undemocratic. Just.get.rid.of.it.

  •  Where's Cory Booker Been these past six years? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    In bed with the unlikeliest of partners. www.newyorker.com

    Why do TV talking heads act like they're dead from the neck up?

    by missfitt on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 07:59:42 PM PDT

  •  This is why progressives look like they're (0+ / 0-)

    conducting a Chinese Fire Drill every time they open their mouths, when the teathuglicans' message is clear, consistent and ungodly loud. Consistent is what they are and when you tell the same bullshit consistently, it becomes pate fois gras. OTOH, it's great that there is a diversity of thought, but OTOH, it makes it look like no one knows what's happening.  I personally feel Harry is doing a bang up job and only wish he had started doing it a helluva lot earlier.

    You all laugh because I'm different; I laugh because you're all the same

    by sajiocity on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 08:05:39 PM PDT

  •  keep confirming judges! (0+ / 0-)

    We have seen in recent court decisions - multiple federal district court and now an appellate court decision in favor of marriage equality and the Wisconsin federal court decision by a conservative Republican federal district court judge to shut down a probe of a GOP Governor AND to destroy the investigative records of possible wrong-doing by that fellow Republican - how important it is for Obama to focus on nominating progressives to fill all of the vacant federal court openings and for Reid and the Senate to vote to confirm those nominees.

    Obama sleep-walked federal court nominations earlier in his Administration.

    If a policy matter filibuster delays votes on court nominations, let's suspend the policy debate and continue with the confirmations.

    If I were an optimist I'd say the Senate should do both.  Apparently, this Senate cannot do both.

  •  Heitkamp, Manchin, and Booker (0+ / 0-)

    Three of the worst Democrats in the caucus. Reid has no business indulging these chumps.

    "Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand." - Mark Twain

    by GrimReefa on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 06:42:38 AM PDT

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