Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Senate Rule Changes Fili-Busted

The Senate is full of Vitamin Awesome.
Senate Democrats do not have the votes to lower the 60-vote threshold to cut off filibusters.
The lack of support among a handful of Senate Democratic incumbents is a major blow to the effort to change the upper chamber’s rules. 

Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate are pushing for filibuster reform at the start of the new Congress next year. 
 Five Senate Democrats have said they will not support a lowering of the 60-vote bar necessary to pass legislation. 
 Another four lawmakers say they are wary about such a change and would be hesitant to support it.

 A 10th Democrat, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), said he would support changing the rule on filibusters of motions to begin debate on legislation, but not necessarily the 60-vote threshold needed to bring up a final vote on bills. 
Well of course not.  People forget that in all this "The problem is the filibuster" talk that the real problem is the Senators who have come to rely on it as the ultimate escape hatch for Senate Dems.  "Hey, we all tried voting for your progressive legislation X but, well, the filibuster stopped us."

If that goes away, if things can pass with 51 votes, or 50 + the Vice President, then all of a sudden whichever party is in charge of the Senate will actually have to produce legislation or be the bad guys.  Right now as far as the Senate Dems are concerned, the bad guys are the Republicans.  If that 51 majority vote thing kicked in well, the bad guys when these progressive laws mysteriously fail to pass will become the Dems who will now HAVE to vote against those Dirty F'ckin Hippies.  And no, they're not even pretending anymore.
Senior Democrats say Reid will not have the votes to change the rule at the beginning of next year.

“It won’t happen,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who said she would “probably not” support an effort to lower the number of votes needed to cut off filibusters from 60 to 55 or lower.

Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) echoed Feinstein: “I think we should retain the same policies that we have instead of lowering it.

“I think it has been working,” he said.

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) said he recognizes his colleagues are frustrated over the failure to pass measures such as the Disclose Act, campaign legislation that fell three votes short of overcoming a Republican filibuster Tuesday.

 “I think as torturous as this place can be, the cloture rule and the filibuster is important to protect the rights of the minority,” he said. “My inclination is no.”
You see?  As far as our Senators are concerned the filibuster is working as intended.   But then again, as far as a lot of "progressive" Dems in the Senate are concerned, it always has been.

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