Here comes a very important news update for those of us who think the Senate filibuster is antiquated and an obstacle to progressive legislation held in thrall by conservative Senate Democrats. Here's what Vice-President Biden said at a fundraiser in Florida:
Vice President Joe Biden said at a Florida fundraiser Sunday that the 60-seat threshold for passing legislation in the Senate put a dangerous new roadblock in the way of American government.
"As long as I have served ... I've never seen, as my uncle once said, the constitution stood on its head as they've done. This is the first time every single solitary decisions has required 60 senators," Biden said. "No democracy has survived needing a supermajority."
Right on, Vice-President. In order for climate change, the health bill, and other progressive legislation to pass the Senate intact---these important bills cannot be subject to the filibuster threat held by conservative Senate Democrats. Because you know what's happened when conservative Senate Democrats simply threat to filibuster (instead of actually getting up and filibustering) the legislation ends up getting weaker and less progressive.
For most of these Senate conservative Democrats, the threat of filibustering is an empty one because they know they won't get up and actually filibuster because the threat of simply doing so is enough to get what they want in terms of a weakened bill.
Over the past year, we've watched the health bill in the Senate get progressively weaker due to this so-called supermajority vote needed. Just imagine what will happen with other legislation down the road. They'll do it again, and we'll stand by and watch their demands be met. They feel they can do it with impunity because no one in the Democratic leadership is willing to punish them. We must also fight for the Senate rules to be changed regarding how many votes are needed to pass legislation. It can be done and all that requires is the political will from our Democratic leaders to do it.
Otherwise the base gets even more depressed when these conservative Democrats keep on blocking and watering down progressive legislation that was promised to the country when President Obama was elected. These conservative Democrats are hurting President Obama's agenda, and that has to stop right now.
And right now---help keep the pedal to the metal for Martha Coakley in Massachusetts!!! Leave it all on the f***ing road today, kossacks!
ACTION diaries for Martha Coakley in the MA-Senate race:
Elise's action diary
Populista's action diary
Msblucow's action diary
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UPDATE: Here's President Obama on the abuse of the filibuster rule:
Obama even suggested that the filibuster, as it's currently being employed, harms democracy.
I mean, if you look historically back in the '50s, the '60s, the '70s, the '80s - even when there was sharp political disagreements, when the Democrats were in control for example and Ronald Reagan was president - you didn't see even routine items subject to the 60-vote rule.
So I think that if this pattern continues, you're going to see an inability on the part of America to deal with big problems in a very competitive world, and other countries are going to start running circles around us. We're going to have to return to some sense that governance is more important than politics inside the Senate. We're not there right now.
Look, the fact of the matter is, is that if used prudently, then I don't think it's harmful for our democracy," Obama said. "It's not being used prudently right now. And my hope would be that whether a Sen. is in the majority or is in the minority, that they're starting to get a sense, after looking at this year, that this can't be the way that government runs."