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Thread: Harry Reid and the filibuster...or the end of it....

  1. #1
    Senior Member K G's Avatar
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    Default Harry Reid and the filibuster...or the end of it....

    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....

    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....

    God help us all regards,

    kg
    I keep my PM box full. Use email to contact me: rockytopkg@aol.com.

  2. #2
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    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.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TCFarmer's Avatar
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    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.

  4. #4
    Senior Member zeus3925's Avatar
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    The filibuster is the great wall against the tyranny of the majority.
    Zeus

    I don't want to feed an ugly dog!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bob Gutermuth's Avatar
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    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.
    Bob Gutermuth
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  6. #6
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    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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Raymond Little's Avatar
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    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, the cap-and-trade energy tax. Reconciliation 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, 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!!!!
    "Character is doing the right thing when nobody is watching"....J.C. Watts

  8. #8
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M Remington View Post
    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.

  9. #9
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R Little View Post
    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, the cap-and-trade energy tax. Reconciliation 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, 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.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    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.
    "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." -- Luke 12:48

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