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‘Filibuster Reform’ Heading To Senate

From The Hill:

Filibuster reform headed for Senate floor; measure faces uphill battle

By J. Taylor Rushing – 01/22/10

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) intends in the next few weeks to introduce legislation that would take away the minority’s power to filibuster legislation.

Harkin has wanted to change the filibuster for years, but his move would come in the wake of Republican Scott Brown’s dramatic victory in Massachusetts. Brown’s 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 Obama’s ability to move other pieces of his agenda forward.

Harkin believes senators in recent years have abused the procedural move.

Harkin’s 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 Senate’s current work period ends on Feb. 13.

Democratic leadership aides say Harkin’s bill is unlikely to succeed and that the idea hasn’t been seriously considered in light of Brown’s victory.

“In light of the fact that it takes 67 votes to change the Senate rules, it does not look likely that a rule change would happen anytime soon,” said a senior aide…

The filibuster has been a long-running controversy in the Senate. In the 20th century, Southern [DEMOCRAT] senators used it to block civil rights legislation supported by a majority of the Senate.

More recently, Democrats used the filibuster when they were in the minority, while Republicans criticized the procedural rule…

“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 Pandora’s Box.”

“It was just a matter of time before a Senate leader who couldn’t 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 minority’s way of not allowing the majority to shut off debate, and without robust debate, the Senate is crippled.”

Even Obama, referencing the 2005 debate, is on record opposing the idea during a speech he gave as a senator that year.

“The American people want less partisanship in this town, but everyone in this chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster — if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate — then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse,” Obama said in the April 2005 speech in Washington.

What a shock.

Once the Democrats lose their filibuster proof majority, they seek to change the filibuster rules.

The more things change, the more Democrats (and other would-be tyrants) remain the same.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, January 22nd, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “‘Filibuster Reform’ Heading To Senate”

  1. jobeth says:

    “Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) intends in the next few weeks to introduce legislation that would take away the minority’s power to filibuster legislation ‘

    But only as long as they need to shut up the right. They will be glad to change the rules again once they need the Filibuster themselves.

  2. proreason says:

    In Massachusetts, it was pitchforks.

    If they are stupid enough to try this, next time it will be assault rifles.

  3. Tater Salad says:

    I guess Harkin still doesn’t get it yet? Keep the doors open to transparency and the voters don’t have a problem. Not getting your way “all the time” and to change the laws in your favor is yet another wrong way of doing business in Congress. The Progressive movement just won’t quit will they. Saul Alinsky is proud of Harkin I would bet.


  4. bobdog says:

    The Democrats in the Senate would do well to consider that they are likely to become the minority again in about 10 months.

    Be careful what you wish for, lefites. This chicken may come home to roost.

  5. leerm8680 says:

    Just fillibuster the issue when it comes to the floor.

  6. catmet says:

    I can never for the life of me figure out why Talk Radio yackers like Sean Hannity think Joe Lieberman is one of the “good guys’ on the opposite side of the aisle. Lieberman’s co-sponsorship of a bill with the long-time out-to-lunch Harkin to install musical chairs on the minority side of the aisle in order to forge ahead left-wing legislation is further proof that he is now and always will be, when push comes to shove a left-wing leopard who can not change his spots.

    At least Harkin is transpartent and you know that with him when you plant corn, you get corn. Lieberman on the other hand gets away time and again with bringing the chemeleon outfit to the talk-radio costume ball. With the proposes rules in place Lieberman would be better able to lie to his constituents that he fought the brave battle and was adamantly against the ‘public option” in the HC bill and fought the brave fight by holding out and STILL disagreeswith his “friends” in the Senate but he was “a victim” of the new fillibuster rules, blah, blah, blah …. No wonder he always sounds in desperate need of a high colonic.


  7. joeblough says:

    Just like animals.

    Only dumber.

  8. MinnesotaRush says:

    These pukes are predictable – lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, maneuver – whatever it takes.

    God willing their days are numbered!

  9. The Redneck says:

    They were right in 2005–what the Republicans needed to do was say, “alright, you wanna filibuster, start talking” and get these guys on TV at midnight working hard to stop legislation. As usual, Republican nutlessness handed a victory to the socialists.

    But it’s deliciously ironic to see Democrats promoting the exact same legislation now.

  10. Tater Salad says:

    Guess who helps finance the “Progressive movement” in the U.S. besides George Soros:

    Peter B. Lewis

    Peter B. Lewis (born 1933) is the Cleveland, Ohio-area based chairman of Progressive Insurance Companies. Lewis currently resides in Coconut Grove, Florida.

    With an estimated net worth in excess of a billion dollars, Lewis frequently donates money to charities and political groups. He is a patron of the arts and supports many artistic pursuits. Lewis’s personal and corporate contemporary art collection is well known—the corporate collection is displayed at Progressive Insurance offices. Lewis has made donations to:
    • Princeton University (A Gehry designed science library, $60 million; the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, $55 million; arts initiative, $101 million. Total $233 million to date.)
    • Case Western Reserve University (The Weatherhead School of Management Peter B. Lewis Building, another Gehry design, $36.9 million, out of $61.7 total building cost)
    • Marijuana Policy Project (Donated $3,000,000 to MPP in 2007.)
    • The Guggenheim Museum ($50 million)
    • America Coming Together and MoveOn.org (with George Soros matching his $10 and $2.5 million, respectively)
    • American Civil Liberties Union
    • The Democratic Party
    • MAPS-sponsored MDMA/PTSD Research in the US, Switzerland and Israel $750,000 [www.maps.org]
    • Menorah Park (Peter B. Lewis Aquatic & Therapy Center)
    • Traction
    Lewis is a trustee of Princeton University, former chairman of the board of directors at the Guggenheim Museum (resigned January 19, 2005), and serves on the board of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Although Lewis often gives substantial gifts to artistic and educational organizations, he also has a reputation for — often forcefully — insisting that such organizations be financially accountable and financially sound; as of late 2004, Lewis has said he will no longer give to Case or Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood due to poor leadership and management.[citation needed] He has said that those funds might instead be diverted to Cleveland State University.
    Lewis is an advocate of taxing and regulating the use and sale of marijuana and is one of the main financial backers of the recent, partially successful, campaign to legalize the use of marijuana for medical use in the U.S. In January 2000, Mr. Lewis was arrested and charged in New Zealand for possession of marijuana. Lewis pleaded guilty to three charges and paid a substantial fine, though under New Zealand law he was not required to serve time in jail or prison. According to his lawyer, Marie Dyhrberg, Lewis used the marijuana on the advice of his doctor for pain relief after the partial amputation of his leg in 1998.[3]

    Traction (organization)
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    Traction is a progressive non-profit organization promoting civic engagement, based in the city of Durham, North Carolina. Traction’s goal is to inform, inspire and connect a growing social network of left-leaning 20- and 30-somethings. The organization focuses on raising awareness of progressive issues including civil rights, health care, the environment, electoral fairness, economic justice and education. These topics are integrated into activities such as movies, dodgeball, art exhibitions, sushi-making workshops, potluck dinners and parties to create issue-based events which inform and mobilize the community for social action.
    Traction was founded in 2005 by Lanya Shapiro[1] and became a project of the San Francisco-based Tides Center[2] in early 2007. The group’s funding sources include the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Jonathan and Peter Lewis, and the Open Society Institute[2].

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