Well it just never stops does it. Now that the Democrats don’t have a filibuster proof Senate, they want to change the rules. Reminds me of what they did with Teddy Kennedy’s seat. Remember in 2004 Teddy had the Massachusetts law changed so that it required a special election if a seat was vacated within 145 days, so that the then Republican governor wouldn’t be able to appoint a temporary Republican in a seat that was Democratic at the time. Then in 2009 just before his death Kennedy sent a letter to Massachusetts lawmakers and asked them to change back the law to provide for a temporary gubernatorial appointment until the special election occurs. It ends up the later didn’t happen, but my point is the Democrats are doing the same thing now with health care, cap & trade or anything else this administration comes up with to make it easier for them to pass whatever the bill is. I believe the Democrats are just continuing to shoot themselves in the foot with these type things. Don’t they ever learn?
Filibuster reform bill headed for Senate floor, faces uphill battle
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) intends in the next few weeks to introduce legislation that would take away the minoritys power to filibuster legislation.
Harkin has wanted to change the filibuster for years, but his move would come in the wake of Republican Scott Browns dramatic victory in Massachusetts. Browns victory cost Democrats their 60th vote in the Senate, and may have dealt a death blow to their hopes to move a massive healthcare overhaul. It could also limit President Barack Obamas ability to move other pieces of his agenda forward.
Harkin believes senators in recent years have abused the procedural move.
Harkins bill would still allow senators to delay legislation, but ultimately would give the majority the power to move past a filibuster with a simple majority vote.
His staff said the bill would be introduced sometime before the Senates current work period ends on Feb. 13.
Harkin argues the filibuster is being used too commonly in today’s Congress.
In a Jan. 4 letter to his colleagues, Harkin noted that filibusters were used just once per Congress in the 1950s, compared to 139 times in the last Congress.
“At issue is a fundamental principle basic to our democracy — rule of the majority as a legislative body,” Harkin wrote. “Elections should have consequences. Yet the Senate’s current rules allow for a minority as small as one to make elections meaningless.”
Speaking to The Hill, Harkin said use of the filibuster has ground the legislative process to a halt.
“While there are reasons to slow bills down and get the public aware of what’s happening, there’s no excuse for having a few people just stop everything with a filibuster,” he said.
Several liberal activists as well as Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) this week have called for filibuster reform to make it easier for legislation to pass.
In the House, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) this week introduced a resolution urging the Senate to lower the filibuster threshold, adding in a statement that the legislative tactic “has begun to erode the integrity of our Democratic process.”
Under Harkin’s bill, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), 60 votes would still be necessary to cut off debate on an initial procedural motion. If senators failed to reach 60 votes, a second vote would be possible two days later that would require only 57 votes to cut off debate. If that also failed, a third vote two days after that would require 54 votes to end debate. A fourth vote after two more days would require just 51 votes.
Reid shot down the option in his 2008 book The Good Fight. Recalling the nuclear option debate in 2005, Reid compared lowering the filibuster threshold to opening Pandoras Box.
It was just a matter of time before a Senate leader who couldnt get his way on something moved to eliminate the filibuster for regular business, Reid wrote. And that, simply put, would be the end of the United States Senate A filibuster is the minoritys way of not allowing the majority to shut off debate, and without robust debate, the Senate is crippled.