Skip to comments.“Filibuster Reform” Is Power Grab By Harry Reid
Posted on 11/12/2012 6:25:30 AM PST by Kaslin
Make no mistake about it. This new talk about Filibuster Reform coming from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is nothing more than a power grab by liberals in the Senate. Reid has stifled debate during his rule, and he will use the pre-text of Filibuster Reform to bully and squelch the minority party, much like he has done for the past few years.
The Washington Times reports, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he will try to push through a change to Senate rules that would limit the GOPs ability to filibuster bills. Reid argued at his post-election press conference that he is intent on changing the rules to prevent the minority party from slowing passage of legislation and nominations.
Reid showed his true motivations when argued that he will continue to prevent votes on same-sex marriage and abortion because I mean, the American people arent interested in that. This is further evidence that reforming the Senates rules is merely a means to stop difficult votes for the majority party on revenue-neutral tax reform, gun rights, entitlement reform and traditional family values.
Over the past few years, this is a Majority Leader who has acted tyrannically to restrict the rights of all senators to debate and offer amendments. He has used a parliamentary tactic called filling the amendment tree to block a free-flowing amendment process and used a procedure to eliminate amendments after the conclusion of debate. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) appropriately referred to the charade and farce of debate in the Senate under the tyranny of Sen. Harry Reid.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) argues that if Reid wants to do more in the Senate he should reform his own behavior before making radical, unprecedented changes to take away the minority partys ability to debate and amend legislation. DeMint argues that when Leader Reid talks about filibuster reform what he really means is that he is ready to do away with the minoritys historic rights, which were exercised with fervor by the Democrats when they werent in the majority, because they are an inconvenience to his hard-left, uncompromising political agenda.
When controlling the Senate, both parties have been guilty of trying to limit the participation of the minority party. Republicans tried to expedite the consideration of judges during the Bush administration and Reid has implemented tactics that have squelched debate during his reign.
The Senate is a continuing body, therefore the only way to get this reform across the finish line will be for Reid to steamroll Senate Rule V that provides no motion to suspend, modify, or amend any rule, or any part thereof, shall be in order, except on one day's notice in writing, specifying precisely the rule or part proposed to be suspended, modified, or amended, and the purpose thereof. To suspend or change the rules, Reid would need 67 votes, not 51.
Reids caucus will operate under the pre-text that the Senate is not a continuing body, notwithstanding the Senates own website, which states that the Senate, in brief, was to be a continuing body with one-third of its membership up for election at any one time. Reid and his allies will have to ignore the explicit rules of the Senate to get this done on a party-line vote.
The likely ideas on the table for filibuster reform come from Sens. Tom Udalls (D-N.M.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Udalls proposal would eliminate the opportunity for senators to filibuster a motion to proceed to a piece of legislation, restricts the right of back-bench members to offer amendments, force a talking filibuster and restricts post cloture debate on a nominee to two hours. This is the less offensive proposal on the table.
Harkins proposal could prove the death of extended debate. The Harkin provides that after the first cloture vote happens, and if there are not 60 votes to shut off debate, the vote necessary to end debate would be reduced. The first cloture vote would take 60 votes, the second would take 57, the third would take 54 and the final would take a simple majority of 51 votes. This would allow the Senate to shut off debate on a nominee or legislation with a simply majority vote.
This is a naked power grab by Sen. Reid. Dont be fooled by happy talk about Filibuster Reform in order to remove obstructionism. The real obstructionist is Senate Majority Leader Reid, who has obstructed the minority partys right to fully participate in the workings of the Senate.
Have we ever done this? If we have, then of course they are free to do the same, but I don’t ever remember the Republicans doing this.
Perhaps I’m wrong, but seems like I remember some conservatives wanting Bill Frist to do this a number of years ago when they had the opportunity and he wouldn’t do it. With Chuck Schumer acting as Reid’s spine, I suspect they will have no trouble shoving this through.
And the Republicans will sit on their rear and further get pushed around for fear of not upsetting the Democrats. Jeez I’m getting tired of this stuff.
I am hoping some day to corner the market so I am investing in rope. You see I do have hope right now, change may come but maybe not in my life time.
I’m beginning to think- just let the democrats do it. We can’t stop anything and will be easier to run against the idiots in 2 years. Right now, they run against the obstructionist republicans.
Tom Daschle wasn’t available for comment.
Notice the media doesn’t call it “THE NUCLEAR OPTION!” when their boss Harry Reid does it...
Sarah is leading the charge in support of conservative Congressional candidates.
The Republicsn senators should give him a real fillibuster, not a threatened one. A real fillibuster with real, endless speeches.
This should be a strong signal to Boner to allow sequestration. All he has to say is Reid has said he’ll stop everything we send over. So there’s no sense in doing anything. See you at the bottom of the cliff.
Probably we won’t notice any difference anyway, as McC is too timid to mount filibusters.
As long as we allow Reid to do this, we will have to share thw blame for everything he jams thru. Doesn’t he need some GOP votes to change the rules?? they better fight like hell! DEMs will ruin the few good things we have left in our country. And don’t ratify that damn UN gun treaty either.
Probably we won’t notice any difference anyway, as McC is too timid to mount filibusters. That Kentuckian is afraid of his won shadow.
Republicans talked about doing it when the democrats stonewalled Bush's judicial appointments for years. The press dubbed it "the nuclear option" and participated with the democrats in demonizing it as a sinister means of silencing dissent.
But that was then. Now it's just peachy!
If you ask me, the problem with filibusters is they became pure baloney. Filibustering used to mean that a senator could take the floor and hold it indefinitely, as long as he could stand and speak. This allowed one lone senator to stop all senate work on a given topic and cast a mighty spotlight on the issue. Perhaps gain support, perhaps sway public sentiment. Or not. But it required a commitment and action and it was a spectacle.
But somewhere along the line they changed it to basically someone registering their intent to filibuster and the rest of the senate graciously consents to set aside the matter without requiring the theatrics. As a result, these "on paper" filibusters became commonplace and allowed obstructionists to grind the gears of the Senate to a halt without even having to break a sweat. So, for example, Bush had dozens of judicial nominees stalled for years, only to have the appointments get promptly filled by Obama appointees (our guys are too polite to obstruct).
What I wonder is if the rules still allow a good old fashioned "Mr Smith Goes To Washington" style filibuster on the floor? I don't think so but if they do, I say do it!
My solution or rather plan of action... The republican leadership should bait the media with news of an major announcement, buy air time if needed. Have Rubio stand before the public with the republican leadership behind him and flat out say...
“Elections have consequences, the people have chosen, we will stand down, we will not filibuster, we will not obstruct, we will allow all of the presidents plans to go forward, ...all of them.” “The plan will be the President’s, the consequences his also”.
Let it burn. Watch unemployment rise, watch QE4, QE5, QU6 destroy the retirement savings of a generation, watch secessionist movements gel, watch unrest in the inner cities, watch the dollar be replaced by the yuan.
For legislation, sort of. Even after a cloture motion passes, a senator can take 30 hours of time. That's alot of talking, and not many people can sustain the effort for that long.
Before a cloture motion, there is no doubt a senator can take the floor and hold it.
Both sides have abused the hell out of the filibuster.
If you aren’t going to keep talking, and shut everything else down, then bring it to a vote. WE should have done this when we had 51 R votes.
Left or right, I think that the only decision the Senate should get to make is: is the person professionally qualified to serve”, nothing more. I don’t care if someone doesn’t (LIKE* the nominee, the only legitimate question is do they have the professional bona fides to do the job or is there an egregious crime in their past. I think the Libs really started it with Bork, a man who was well qualified to serve- tough crap if you don’t like their opinions, right or left.