GOP to Reid on filibuster rules: Do you really want to have this fight right now?

posted at 3:31 pm on November 26, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s bid to alter Senate rules to limit the tools at the minority party’s disposal is perhaps one of his most hypocritical, ill-fated attempts at ‘leadership’ yet, and that’s saying something. Way back when, during the days of the Democratic minority of yesteryear, he was vehemently opposed to measures that would curtail the Senate’s filibuster options — but now that those dastardly Republicans have ostensibly crossed some imaginary line of what he deems to be too much filibustering, he’s all too eager to cut down on the minority party’s powers. Has the man ever paused to consider that it takes two to tango? As in, sure, Republicans might be filibustering with unusual frequency, but perhaps it’s Reid’s own domineering, “compromise means doing what I want”-style leadership that has driven them to do so? Maybe?

Reid is trying to rally his full caucus and is threatening to pass a package of rule changes by a simple majority, rather than the traditional two-thirds consensus, at the start of the new Congress in which the Democrats’ ranks will increase to 55 seats. Suffice it to say, Republicans are decidedly not warming up to what will amount to a flagrant abuse of majority power in fundamentally altering the Senate’s historical role. Politico reports:

“I think the backlash will be severe,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the conservative firebrand, said sternly. “If you take away minority rights, which is what you’re doing because you’re an ineffective leader, you’ll destroy the place. And if you destroy the place, we’ll do what we have to do to fight back.”

“It will shut down the Senate,” the incoming Senate GOP whip, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, told POLITICO. “It’s such an abuse of power.” …

Republicans say this is a problem of the Democrats’ own making. They blame Reid for quickly attempting to shut down debate without giving Republicans a chance to offer amendments, even on bills that skip the committee process entirely. …

“If what [Reid] talks about doing is in fact what he does, … then that reduces that much more leverage of the minority to insist on an open amendment process,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said. “I worry about it.” …

Yes, by all means Sen. Reid, let’s trample on the rights that equally benefit whichever party happens to be in the minority and encourage moderation and restraint, and stir up another outrageous partisan-fueled distraction at a time when our country faces an unprecedented fiscal crisis — but it looks like Republicans are starting to signal that if Reid really wants to take that road, they’ll throw everything they have at him.

I’m with Richard Arenberg on this one:

No one should be fooled. Once the majority can change the rules by majority vote, the Senate will soon be like the House, where the majority doesn’t consult the minority but simply controls the process. Gone would be the Senate’s historic protection of the minority’s right to speak and amend. In the House, the majority tightly controls which bills will be considered; what amendments, if any, will be in order; how much time is allotted for debate; and when and under what rules votes occur. Often, no amendments are permitted. …

In recent days President Obama and the leaders of the House and Senate have called for bipartisan cooperation. Imposing rules changes by partisan fiat would be just the opposite and would destroy the fabric of the Senate. Now is a good time for a new gang of senators to rise above partisan bickering and negotiate changes based on what’s best for the Senate and our democracy, not just what’s best for the majority.


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Here’s my wish – may Reid, McConnell, Biden, McCain and quite a few others end up in a creche, in the same holding pen, in diapers/Depends.

It would really deprive the land of a big stench.

Schadenfreude on November 26, 2012 at 3:34 PM

FORWARD!

L.i.B.

LoganSix on November 26, 2012 at 3:35 PM

McConnell will cave. The Senate Republicans are fundamentally incapable of holding the line on anything.

Doomberg on November 26, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Two years from now, the Republicans will be back in the majority in the senate, if 0 and Reid don’t get their repective acts together and get out economy moving (which is unlikely). I wonder how Harry will feel about the rule change then?

iurockhead on November 26, 2012 at 3:39 PM

What’s the point of changing the rules if you don’t control the house? It would have been a great idea for them four years ago.

There is no filibuster for budgets in the senate now, and they couldn’t manage to pass one of those….

rw on November 26, 2012 at 3:40 PM

respective
our

Need to slow down on the Post button….

iurockhead on November 26, 2012 at 3:40 PM

We are in the middle of a slow motion facist coup d’état in America, Reid is just trying to move the process along.

Rebar on November 26, 2012 at 3:43 PM

We need a Gang of Fourteen or something.

“Just say ‘No’ to the nuclear option!”

Didn’t McCain lead that charge when the GOP was threatening to do the same? Where’s he this time around? John…? Oh John…?

“Is john here?”

“Yes, but Lindsey’s here so you can’t come in.”

Akzed on November 26, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Get rid of the filibuster? Say Hello to Justice Eric Himpton Holder, Jr.

the botnet on November 26, 2012 at 3:47 PM

of all the things to get rid of in DC the filibuster is way down the list of urgencies

DanMan on November 26, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Harry “The Pedobear” Reid is operating under firm belief that the Democrats have discovered a magic way to routinely win all contested elections (said magic likely relates to the vote-counting methods they employ). He therefore believes that Republicans are doomed to remain a Senate minority within his (hopefully short and painful) lifetime. Unfortunately, the creep is kinda close to the truth.

Archivarix on November 26, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Rebar@ 3:43. it’s not in slow motion anymore.

wolly4321 on November 26, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Once again, this is one of a myriad of examples why, the 17th Amendment, needs to be repealed! Let’s get back to the States deciding who will be the Senator, not a popular vote!
Americans have to start unraveling the knots, Socialist policies started during Woodrow Wilson, in order to stop the Federal Power Grabs!

http://www.paratisiusa.blogspot.com

God Bless America!

paratisi on November 26, 2012 at 3:57 PM

No quorum – walk out, go home.

Make the PPT send the Marshalls out to drag you back.

Leave again. Got to jail. Still no votes.

Rinse, repeat.

mojo on November 26, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Of course Reid will do this and Obama will turn a blind eye to it all because it’s what he wants as well. Obama needs the Senate to be able to pass the legislation that he wants and to approve the IPAB nominees that he wants. The only way to do this is to neuter the Senate’s minority.

If they do this, then Reid will go down in history as the most divisive and partisan majority leaders ever. He will have changed the tone of the Senate forever. But what’s really sad here is the flagrant display of utter ignorance and shortsightedness….do Democrats really believe that they will hold the Senate majority forever? Do they? If so, then they’re in for a very rude awakening someday….

powerpickle on November 26, 2012 at 4:01 PM

I think it’s time to stop raising the debt ceiling — which will make everything in the House AND Senate mere rearrangement of deck chairs.

cthulhu on November 26, 2012 at 4:02 PM

How about..you can only have a filibuster if you actually filibuster?

verbaluce on November 26, 2012 at 4:03 PM

There are no knots unraveling. The left is breaking out the chains.

Fluked.

You might as well “deem” this a done deal.

wolly4321 on November 26, 2012 at 4:04 PM

But what’s really sad here is the flagrant display of utter ignorance and shortsightedness….do Democrats really believe that they will hold the Senate majority forever? Do they?

powerpickle on November 26, 2012 at 4:01 PM

After having successfully disposed of Tea Party threat and having mastered the art of vote counting, they actually believe they do.

Archivarix on November 26, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Remember back to less than 10 years ago when Sen. Bill Frist was considering changing the rules to not permit filibusters of judicial nominations….. The outrage and screaming from Democrats in Congress and the Media was deafening. Note this was a proposal to stop or limit filibusters on one subject as opposed to the potentially broad-based change Reid wants to make.

Congressional Dems have a habit of changing the traditions to better their political advantage which leads to greater strife and countermoves by Republicans. Then they blame the strife and the resulting partisanship on Republicans. Meanwhile the Democrats in the Media either cover for their teammates in Congress or suggest both parties are equally to blame. It’s an old and very nauseating game.

Jill1066 on November 26, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Here we go. Same old BS from the same old pipsqueak. The CNN poll was right, a bunch of spoiled children are running things in DC.

scalleywag on November 26, 2012 at 4:10 PM

I wonder how Harry will feel about the rule change then?

iurockhead on November 26, 2012 at 3:39 PM

The will simply change the rule back to what it was before they leave office…it’s as simple as that. And pass a rule that it can’t be changed without 2/3 majority.

right2bright on November 26, 2012 at 4:14 PM

What’s the point of changing the rules if you don’t control the house? It would have been a great idea for them four years ago.

There is no filibuster for budgets in the senate now, and they couldn’t manage to pass one of those….

rw on November 26, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Senate confirmations. Big f*ckin’ deal.

nukemhill on November 26, 2012 at 4:16 PM

The Dems won and know how to monopolize on it unlike the Stupid Party who did nothing to limit government when the controlled the White House and both branches of Congress.

Valiant on November 26, 2012 at 4:37 PM

What’s the point of changing the rules if you don’t control the house? It would have been a great idea for them four years ago.

There is no filibuster for budgets in the senate now, and they couldn’t manage to pass one of those….

rw on November 26, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Excellent point. So stuff passes the Senate and then dies in the House? Big whoop. Sixth year midterms are almost always a disaster for the president’s party so we’ve got a good chance to take the Senate with its fancy new rules in 2014 and then when Obama fatigue is nice and set in after another four years of economic stagnation and/or a double-dip recession and the GOP is swept back into power in 2016 we’ll take the tools Dingy Harry has given us and, assuming the Nevada GOP repeats their trick of nominating a horribly unqualified moron to run against him that year, clobber him over the head with it.

alchemist19 on November 26, 2012 at 4:38 PM

let’s cue all the videos of Hillary, Biden, Reid and Obozo himself going APESHIT about minority rights and abuse of power, when the Repubs talked about the nuclear option a few years ago– damned hypocrites

Again, does the media call them on this? Jon Stewart even? Hell no.

Coburn and Demint talked a big tough game about using every dirty trick in the book when Reid shoved Obamacare down their throats with 51 votes and did jack squat about it– I don’t buy their tough talk

The Dems really feel like they’re a permanent majority now going forward in my opinion.

Payback will be a bitch.

thurman on November 26, 2012 at 4:38 PM

It’s time for the House to wag the dog, no CR only a budget with cuts, two can play the game Harry.

tim c on November 26, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Folks, free yourselves as I did. You can feel great voting on principle. The Stupid Party will just disappoint you. If they couldn’t get it right now, they will never be the Party of limited, Constitutional government. Don’t fall for the two party game. If the Republican Party is to survive, it will be when they are trusted to be a limited government party, committed to cutting spending.

Decoski on November 26, 2012 at 4:50 PM

The Senate is so full of nutless bastards.

rayra on November 26, 2012 at 4:51 PM

What’s the point of changing the rules if you don’t control the house? It would have been a great idea for them four years ago.

There is no filibuster for budgets in the senate now, and they couldn’t manage to pass one of those….

rw on November 26, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Only useful for appointments, which are rarely filibustered anyway. I doubt Republicans would have the guts to filibuster a SCOTUS nominee, though I suppose they could still threaten one and thus influence Obama’s choice. Budget and tax bills require only a simple majority by longstanding Senate rules.

What Reid is mostly PO’d about is that McConnell has taken away his ability to stage votes that help his members or hurt Republicans. I can’t even remember when there was an actual cloture vote on anything in the Senate other than the Dodd-Frank Act, and that was in July of 2010. But Reid has introduced all kinds of phony “jobs” bills that he knows won’t get past a cloture vote. He wants to give his vulnerable Democrats a chance to vote for some of these phony bills, and force Republicans to “vote against jobs.”

rockmom on November 26, 2012 at 4:54 PM

Reid obviously thinks that the dems will always be a majority in the Senate or that the repubs will roll over and play dead, even when they’re in the majority.

The first, thankfully, is doubtful. The latter is highly probably, darn it.

Kevin K. on November 26, 2012 at 5:12 PM

It’s not about legislation, which can be blocked by the House. It’s all about appointments. Do you have any idea how many unfilled vacancies there are on the Federal benches for lower courts and the courts of appeals? A bunch. They get held hostage all the time by the minority party sitting on the appointment. Now, every leftist in the land will have a place to retire for life as a sitting judge to wreck the country.

Most cases never get to the Supreme Court (and you recall what a disaster than can be when they do) so this is a huge step to cementing forever all of the work Obama will have done in eight years.

2ndMAW68 on November 26, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Now is a good time for a new gang of senators to rise above partisan bickering and negotiate changes based on what’s best for the Senate and our democracy, not just what’s best for the majority.

No. Now is the time for the Democrats to throw Harry Reid out on his senile ass. They want to end ‘partisan’ bickering, then throw out the MOST PARTISAN leader they’ve had in years.

GarandFan on November 26, 2012 at 5:31 PM

The late David Broder–the last great political reporter in Washington–wrote before he died that Harry Reid was the worst majority leader of his lifetime. Reid then attacked Broder–whom he knew was dying–from the senate floor. I wish Broder were around to continue the fight.

senor on November 26, 2012 at 5:37 PM

I wonder if these old me in the Senate could stay awake long enough to have a fight. All they do is pump up their chests, make a few press statements and then roll over and go back to sleep.

lea on November 26, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Grand Moff Reid continues to win friends, influence people.

ZK on November 26, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Today’s majority is tomorrow’s minority, so by all means Democrats, make it easier for us to repeal everything you do in a term or two when we have the majority again.

KSgop on November 26, 2012 at 8:06 PM

I’d love to know how many of those ‘Republican filibusters’ were actually early calls for cloture by Reid in an attempt to stifle debate.

mnealtx on November 26, 2012 at 8:26 PM

…two senile bassturds…one from each side!…we’re skrewed!

KOOLAID2 on November 26, 2012 at 11:24 PM

Two years from now, the Republicans will be back in the majority in the senate

iurockhead

Reps will be lucky to keep 45 in two years. The SoCons and TrueCons have a pretty deep bench. Who will follow in the illustrious foosteps of O’donnell, Angle, Buck, Akins and Mourdock? There a still a few RINOs that must be purged and replaced with reliable liberal Democrats!

deadman on November 27, 2012 at 3:18 AM