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View Full Version : Harry Reid and the filibuster...or the end of it....



K G
03-18-2009, 06:29 PM
So Harry Reid now wants to revise the Senate rules for passing votes to a "simple majority" (51/49) from a "super majority" (60/40), thereby effectively eliminating the filibuster and rendering the minority party silent.

Great. Just freakin' great.....

So after their "overwhelming victory" last December, the Dems/libs are so panicked about their policies that they need to shut down dissenting voices with a change in procedure....:rolleyes:

Granted, there appears to be no ready mandate for this move...but that it's even being discussed in our current financial and economic environment gives me a chill that won't go away....:o

God help us all regards,

kg

YardleyLabs
03-18-2009, 07:12 PM
Personally, I love filibusters. To quote Harry Reid,

"the filibuster is not a scheme. And it is not new. The filibuster is far from a “procedural gimmick.” It is part of the fabric of this institution. It was well known in colonial legislatures, and it is an integral part of our country’s 217 years of history."

This came from speech Reid made when Senate Majority Leader Frist was threatening to end the right of filibuster to prevent Democrats from blocking a small number of GWB's hundreds of judicial appointments -- the so-called "nuclear option".

However, I do believe that filibusters should have to operate in accordance with the Senate's long standing traditions. A member of Congress from the side filibustering a proposal should have to remain in the chambers talking about the issue until debate is halted by a two-thirds or 60% vote of senators present and voting with a quorum present. That bureaucratic barrier makes the filibuster inconvenient and costly for both sides and naturally limits the number of issues taken to that form of confrontation.

I didn't see what Reid proposed (do you have a reference?), but I hope it takes us back to those long all-nighters and doesn't actually eliminate the rights of a large minority to force extended debate on an issue. I believe that right should belong to both sides and never be threatened as it was by Frist.

As Frist made clear during the judicial debates, it only takes a majority to eliminate the filibuster rule since it is a procedural rule of the Senate and not subject to executive or judicial review. As a consequence, the minority must choose how often it tests the forebearance of the majority since, in a confrontation, the majority can win any time it decides to do so.

For Frist, that limit was the failure of Democrats to allow votes on less than 5% of Bush's judicial nominations (During the second Clinton term, Republicans blocked all Clinton judicial appointments). It will be interesting to see how many times the Republicans can resort to a "just say no" approach before they face the same risk. I hope it never comes to that.

TCFarmer
03-18-2009, 08:00 PM
I agree, the filibuster has been abused recently with politicians calling filibuster as if they were calling shotgun. If blocking something is important you should be willing to stand on the floor and debate 24/7 until the motion to end debate passes or until the bill/nomination being debated dies.

zeus3925
03-18-2009, 08:09 PM
The filibuster is the great wall against the tyranny of the majority.

Bob Gutermuth
03-18-2009, 08:20 PM
If the filibuster is nixed, something the dems howled about when the GOP suggested it on judicial appointments, the Politboro will truly be a one party body, just like in the USSR.

M Remington
03-18-2009, 09:47 PM
The filibuster won't end. Cloture will still require 3/5 or 60 % of the votes. This will only allow a simple majority to pass legislation. I've always thought the super majority is stupid unless it is required for raising taxes.

Raymond Little
03-18-2009, 10:02 PM
Will the Senate Budget Committee use budget reconciliation for cap-and-trade? It sounds obscure but it’s the trillion dollar question. Committee Chairman Kent Conrad has not sworn off using a process called “reconciliation” to help pass the biggest tax hike in U.S. history (http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2009/03/10/kerpen_cap_trade_obama/), the cap-and-trade energy tax. Reconciliation (http://www.rules.house.gov/archives/bud_rec_proc.htm) is part of the budget process that makes it easier to achieve deficit-reduction goals by making changes to taxes and entitlement policy-but it can also be abused to make major policy changes.
Putting cap-and-trade in reconciliation would be a procedural short cut that would allow it to pass in the full Senate without proper debate and with just 50 votes needed instead of the usual 60 votes. On this issue, with 60 votes required, it’s a dog fight. With 50, it’s a relative walk in the park for Harry Reid and his high-tax allies, including President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Fortunately, the man most likely to decide the path forward, Kent Conrad, comes from the coal state of North Dakota.
Obama told The San Francisco Chronicle last year: ‘So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.’
It’s in his hands because he’s the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, which will write the 2010 budget bill and the reconciliation instructions. He’s been waffling lately, though he most likely leans against reconciliation. Yesterday he received a letter from 28 senators (http://www.americansforprosperity.org/031209-28-senators-oppose-cap-and-trade-reconciliation), including 7 Democrats, who make a great argument against reconciliation:
“Enactment of a cap-and-trade regime is likely to influence nearly every feature of the U.S. economy. Legislation so far-reaching should be fully vetted and given appropriate time for debate, something the budget reconciliation process does not allow. Using this procedure would circumvent normal Senate practice and would be inconsistent with the Administration’s stated goals of bipartisanship, cooperation, and openness.”
The letter was put together by powerful West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd, the dean of the Democratic Caucus.
The other Democrats on the letter are Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Carl Levin of Michigan, Evan Bayh of Indiana, and Robert Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania.
But Conrad is also certainly being pressured by the other side, including Reid himself, who today said he may want to use reconciliation to bypass an expected filibuster. He is also likely to come under serious pressure from Obama, Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, and the huge army of environmental special interest groups. White House Energy Czar Carol Browner has reportedly already been up on the Hill urging Senate Democrats to use reconciliation.
If Conrad seriously considers the implications of the cap-and-trade tax for his own state, then it should be an easy decision. North Dakota is an energy producing state, producing oil, gas, and most significantly — coal.
Obama told The San Francisco Chronicle last year:
“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
That’s why Byrd-from the coal state of West Virginia-is in the lead stopping the procedural short-cut reconciliation path. For the sake of every American who’s an energy consumer-and that’s all of us-let’s hope that fellow coal-state Democrat Kent Conrad follows his lead.
Mr. Kerpen is director of policy for Americans for Prosperity

This is why the Mouse wants to eliminate the fillabuster!!!!;)

YardleyLabs
03-19-2009, 05:56 AM
The filibuster won't end. Cloture will still require 3/5 or 60 % of the votes. This will only allow a simple majority to pass legislation. I've always thought the super majority is stupid unless it is required for raising taxes.

Senate rules currently only require a simple majority to pass legislation. What has been happening is that in every case where the minority has been able to must 40+ votes it has used the cloture rule (i.e. a filibuster) to prevent a vote. Reid has actually accepted the loss on a cloture vote as the end of the legislative process rather than forcing a more extended filibuster which would force both sides to maintain representatives in the chambers 24/7.

YardleyLabs
03-19-2009, 06:13 AM
Will the Senate Budget Committee use budget reconciliation for cap-and-trade? It sounds obscure but it’s the trillion dollar question. Committee Chairman Kent Conrad has not sworn off using a process called “reconciliation” to help pass the biggest tax hike in U.S. history (http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2009/03/10/kerpen_cap_trade_obama/), the cap-and-trade energy tax. Reconciliation (http://www.rules.house.gov/archives/bud_rec_proc.htm) is part of the budget process that makes it easier to achieve deficit-reduction goals by making changes to taxes and entitlement policy-but it can also be abused to make major policy changes.
Putting cap-and-trade in reconciliation would be a procedural short cut that would allow it to pass in the full Senate without proper debate and with just 50 votes needed instead of the usual 60 votes. On this issue, with 60 votes required, it’s a dog fight. With 50, it’s a relative walk in the park for Harry Reid and his high-tax allies, including President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Fortunately, the man most likely to decide the path forward, Kent Conrad, comes from the coal state of North Dakota.
Obama told The San Francisco Chronicle last year: ‘So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.’
It’s in his hands because he’s the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, which will write the 2010 budget bill and the reconciliation instructions. He’s been waffling lately, though he most likely leans against reconciliation. Yesterday he received a letter from 28 senators (http://www.americansforprosperity.org/031209-28-senators-oppose-cap-and-trade-reconciliation), including 7 Democrats, who make a great argument against reconciliation:
“Enactment of a cap-and-trade regime is likely to influence nearly every feature of the U.S. economy. Legislation so far-reaching should be fully vetted and given appropriate time for debate, something the budget reconciliation process does not allow. Using this procedure would circumvent normal Senate practice and would be inconsistent with the Administration’s stated goals of bipartisanship, cooperation, and openness.”
The letter was put together by powerful West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd, the dean of the Democratic Caucus.
The other Democrats on the letter are Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Carl Levin of Michigan, Evan Bayh of Indiana, and Robert Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania.
But Conrad is also certainly being pressured by the other side, including Reid himself, who today said he may want to use reconciliation to bypass an expected filibuster. He is also likely to come under serious pressure from Obama, Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, and the huge army of environmental special interest groups. White House Energy Czar Carol Browner has reportedly already been up on the Hill urging Senate Democrats to use reconciliation.
If Conrad seriously considers the implications of the cap-and-trade tax for his own state, then it should be an easy decision. North Dakota is an energy producing state, producing oil, gas, and most significantly — coal.
Obama told The San Francisco Chronicle last year:
“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
That’s why Byrd-from the coal state of West Virginia-is in the lead stopping the procedural short-cut reconciliation path. For the sake of every American who’s an energy consumer-and that’s all of us-let’s hope that fellow coal-state Democrat Kent Conrad follows his lead.
Mr. Kerpen is director of policy for Americans for Prosperity

This is why the Mouse wants to eliminate the fillabuster!!!!;)

While I don't really like the practice, the anti-abortion crowd has used budget bills as their primary mode for attacking abortion rights and contraception programs for years. The reason is simple -- they've never been able to put together a solid majority any other way. Budget bills are routinely written to include general policy issues. When used excessively, it tends to generate its own push back in the same way that excessive use of the filibuster generates its own push back. Few people in Congress believe that a simple majority should be able to override a large minority easily. However, even fewer believe that a large (40+) minority should be able to dictate the Senate agenda. These types of procedural battles are the way that Senators "discuss" where in the sand the line will be drawn.

Buzz
03-19-2009, 04:25 PM
Senate rules currently only require a simple majority to pass legislation. What has been happening is that in every case where the minority has been able to must 40+ votes it has used the cloture rule (i.e. a filibuster) to prevent a vote. Reid has actually accepted the loss on a cloture vote as the end of the legislative process rather than forcing a more extended filibuster which would force both sides to maintain representatives in the chambers 24/7.

I say to heck with cloture. If they want to filibuster, let them talk 24/7.

YardleyLabs
03-19-2009, 04:52 PM
I say to heck with cloture. If they want to filibuster, let them talk 24/7.
That would be the effect of continuing to consider a bill following failure of a cloture vote. It requires each party to maintain members in the chambers 24/7, not just one. Throughout the process, either side can call for a vote at any time. The other then requests verification of whether a quorum is present, forcing a roll call of members before any vote may be held. That prevents adoption of any action by unanimous consent. We seem to have run out of those courtly gentlemen willing to spend hours at a time reading the collected works of Longfellow while pissing into a jar to avoid leaving the big chamber for the little one. Ahhh, those were the days.:rolleyes:

Roger Perry
03-24-2009, 11:50 AM
So Harry Reid now wants to revise the Senate rules for passing votes to a "simple majority" (51/49) from a "super majority" (60/40), thereby effectively eliminating the filibuster and rendering the minority party silent.

Great. Just freakin' great.....

So after their "overwhelming victory" last December, the Dems/libs are so panicked about their policies that they need to shut down dissenting voices with a change in procedure....:rolleyes:

Granted, there appears to be no ready mandate for this move...but that it's even being discussed in our current financial and economic environment gives me a chill that won't go away....:o





God help us all regards,

kg

Sort of like:

Republicans 'go nuclear' with vote to ban the filibuster

</EM>
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington

Monday, 23 May 2005


The US Senate will hold a crucial vote tomorrow, barring a last-minute compromise, on a proposal to ban filibusters of President George Bush's judicial nominations - and, many warn, change the nature of the upper chamber of Congress.

The US Senate will hold a crucial vote tomorrow, barring a last-minute compromise, on a proposal to ban filibusters of President George Bush's judicial nominations - and, many warn, change the nature of the upper chamber of Congress.
Under the rule change, described by many constitutional experts as a potential watershed in more than 200 years of Senate history, a simple majority of just 51 Senators would be required to end debate, instead of the current "super-majority" of 60.
The proposal relates only to judicial nominations, but minority Democrats charge that it is the thin end of a wedge that would ultimately end the filibuster in its entirety. Even in its present form however, the stakes could hardly be higher.
Tomorrow's expected test vote will involve just one nomination, of the Texas state judge Priscilla Owen to the 5th circuit court of appeals, based in New Orleans. Democrats claim she is an extreme conservative, unfitted to so important a post. Republicans contend that, whatever her views, she is entitled to a straight up-or-down vote. But they have only 55 of the 100 Senate seats, not enough to force an end to a filibuster.
Assuming this fate befalls Ms Owen, the Republican majority leader, Bill Frist, is expected to ask Vice-President Dick Cheney, in his role as Senate president, to declare filibusters illegal for federal appeal court and Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Mr Frist would then call a vote to uphold that ruling. This is the "nuclear option", so called because senators warn it will blow relations between the two parties to smithereens. :confused:

kjrice
03-24-2009, 07:29 PM
We can't even call him Dirty Harry, since it would be disrespectful to Clint Eastwood...Dingy Harry has lost his way. Politics have changed him and it is time for him to go. I look forward to working the phones trying to get him removed. I really hope Mitt Romney sets up shop, as rumored, in Nevada. It will take someone a heavyweight like Mitt to make it happen.

K G
03-24-2009, 07:42 PM
Sort of like:

Republicans 'go nuclear' with vote to ban the filibuster

</EM>
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington

Monday, 23 May 2005


The US Senate will hold a crucial vote tomorrow, barring a last-minute compromise, on a proposal to ban filibusters of President George Bush's judicial nominations - and, many warn, change the nature of the upper chamber of Congress.

The US Senate will hold a crucial vote tomorrow, barring a last-minute compromise, on a proposal to ban filibusters of President George Bush's judicial nominations - and, many warn, change the nature of the upper chamber of Congress.
Under the rule change, described by many constitutional experts as a potential watershed in more than 200 years of Senate history, a simple majority of just 51 Senators would be required to end debate, instead of the current "super-majority" of 60.
The proposal relates only to judicial nominations, but minority Democrats charge that it is the thin end of a wedge that would ultimately end the filibuster in its entirety. Even in its present form however, the stakes could hardly be higher.
Tomorrow's expected test vote will involve just one nomination, of the Texas state judge Priscilla Owen to the 5th circuit court of appeals, based in New Orleans. Democrats claim she is an extreme conservative, unfitted to so important a post. Republicans contend that, whatever her views, she is entitled to a straight up-or-down vote. But they have only 55 of the 100 Senate seats, not enough to force an end to a filibuster.
Assuming this fate befalls Ms Owen, the Republican majority leader, Bill Frist, is expected to ask Vice-President Dick Cheney, in his role as Senate president, to declare filibusters illegal for federal appeal court and Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Mr Frist would then call a vote to uphold that ruling. This is the "nuclear option", so called because senators warn it will blow relations between the two parties to smithereens. :confused:

Everything will be just DANDY if it doesn't happen, Roger, just like it didn't happen in 2005....so, in answer to your question...NO...it isn't like 2005 yet...and I really don't think it will happen now, 'cause the democrats want their majority to last more than 4 years, and that goal is going to be difficult to achieve as it is....;-)

kg

Eric Johnson
03-24-2009, 09:52 PM
I believe what is being discussed is "reconciliation". This has always been applied to budget or later fiscal policy generally. What Senator Reid is talking about is trying to use this process for virtually everything.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconciliation_(U.S._Congress)

Eric

Bob Gutermuth
03-25-2009, 05:55 PM
The old priest lay dying in the hospital. For years he had faithfully served the people of the nation's capital.


He motioned for his nurse to come near.

"Yes, Father?" said the nurse.

"I would really like to see Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi before I die", whispered the priest.

"I'll see what I can do, Father," replied the nurse.

The nurse sent the request to them and waited for a response. Soon the word arrived. Harry and Nancy would be delighted to visit the priest.

As they went to the hospital, Harry commented to Nancy, "I don't know why the old priest wants to see us, but it will certainly help our images."

Nancy couldn't help but agree.

When they arrived at the priest's room, the priest took Nancy 's hand in his right hand and Harry's hand in his left. There was silence and a look of serenity on the old priest's face.

Finally, Nancy spoke. "Father, of all the people you could have chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the end?"

The old priest slowly replied, "I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." The old priest continued..."He died between two lying thieves. I would like to do the same..."