July 22, 2007


Constant filibuster threat is tying Senate in knots (Margaret Talev, 7/22/07, McClatchy Newspapers)

Democrats have trouble mustering 60 votes; they have fallen short 22 times this year. That's largely why they haven't been able to deliver on campaign promises.

By sinking a cloture vote last week, Republicans successfully blocked a Democratic bid to withdraw most combat troops from Iraq by April, even though a 52-47 Senate majority voted to end debate.

Republicans also have blocked votes this year on immigration legislation, a no-confidence resolution for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and major legislation dealing with energy, labor rights and prescription drugs.

Nearly one in every six roll-call votes in the Senate this year has been a cloture vote. If this pace of blocking legislation continues, this 110th Congress will be on track to roughly triple the previous record number of cloture votes — 58 each in the two Congresses from 1999-2002, according to the Senate Historical Office.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., forced an all-night session on the Iraq war last week to draw attention to what Democrats called Republican obstruction.

"The minority party has decided we have to get to 60 votes on almost everything we vote on of substance," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. "That's not the way this place is supposed to work."

It was John McCain and the Gang who preserved the filibuster, which is saving the GOP now. Democrats, being the reactionary party, are likely to try and get rid of it just in time to lose their majority and hand President McCain a mighty weapon.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 22, 2007 9:31 AM

Some one should tell Laura Ingraham.

Posted by: Bruno at July 22, 2007 11:44 AM

One can't tell Laura Ingraham anything contrary to how she sees things.

She is harpy-esque.

Posted by: Stormy70 at July 22, 2007 4:11 PM

Claire McCaskill should read her copy of the Constitution.

Reminiscent of what Bill Clinton said back in April 1993, when 43 Republican Senators blocked his $16 billion "stimulus" package: "It's just not fair that a minority of Senators can block the majority". But Bob Dole spoke for the 57% of the electorate who DIDN'T vote for Clinton.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 22, 2007 4:54 PM

The nuclear option that was being discussed would have removed the filibuster option from judicial and other political appointees. It was not going to appy to legislation such as the immigration bill and other mentioned in the article.

That is why the GOP base wasn't happy with the Gang of 14 deal - it prevented the GOP and Bush from getting more conservatives on the court with no impact on the Dems.

Posted by: AWW at July 22, 2007 6:38 PM

Wife: Arrest him!

More: For what?

Wife: He's dangerous!

Roper: For all we know he's a spy!

Daughter: Father, that man's bad!

More: There's no law against that!

Roper: There is, God's law!

More: Then let God arrest him!

Wife: While you talk he's gone!

More: And go he should, if he were the Devil himself, until he broke the law!

Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would
you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?

This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if
you cut them down (and you're just the man to do it!), do you really think you could stand
upright in the winds that would blow then?

Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2007 10:38 PM

As was pointed out above, there was never any threat of a filibuster for legislation, only for appointments, which was an unprecedented use of said filibuster, though people could hardly be blamed for being confused the way that it was reported. Had the gang of 14 not caved to media pressure, we'd more judges who don't legislate from the bench, a victory which would more than compensate for losing the house and senate and might have energized the base enough that they would have saved the house and Senate. If it werent for the gang of 14, The judicial committe would be Arlen Spector presiding over appointments rather than Pat "leaky" Leahy presiding over meaningless investigations. That, as much as immigration, is why McCain's candidacy is circling the drain.

Posted by: MarkD at July 23, 2007 5:02 PM

Yes, once you start strip-mining you often limit the damage....

Posted by: oj at July 23, 2007 9:07 PM