By now you've heard that Republicans filibustered the motion to proceed to the student loan bill
. And yes, I could have used shorthand there and just said that they had filibustered the student loan bill, without noting that it was actually the motion to proceed. But there's a reason I point that out. Remember the "gentleman's agreement"
that emerged from the filibuster reform fight at the beginning of the 112th Congress, back in January 2011? That deal was supposed to mean a cutback in the number of filibusters on motions to proceed. Of course, Republicans will say that the other side of the deal was to cut back on the number of times amendments have been blocked by "filling the amendment tree," and since that number hasn't gone to zero ... well, there you go.
Not that this wasn't predictable. After all, what leverage did Senate Democrats leave themselves for enforcing the agreement, given that they renounced the use of the "constitutional option" as part of the larger deal? And yet, as with so much else, the response seems to have been asymmetrical.
How asymmetrical? Get this: From the time of the invention of the cloture rule, during World War I, until the end of the Reagan administration, there were a total of 385 cloture motions filed. That's a span of about 70 years. But in the five and a half years since Republicans lost control of the Senate after the 2006 elections, there have been 359 cloture motions filed.
In fact, today's cloture vote was on the 83rd cloture motion filed in the 112th Congress. That's the third all-time highest number of cloture motions ever filed, and it's only May. And what two Congresses are the only ones ever to see more cloture motions filed? Well, it's the last two: the 110th and 111th. The two immediately following the Republicans' loss of control of the chamber.
Just something to keep in mind.