"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Senate Democrats Signaling They’ll Double Down On Shutting Down Debate And Amendments?

May 14th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

Politico reports, “An angry Harry Reid took to the floor Thursday and demanded changes to the Senate’s hallowed filibuster rules, siding with junior Democrats who have sought to substantially weaken the powerful delaying tactic. It’s a risky move for the Senate majority leader, who could find himself in the minority in a matter of months and need the filibuster to block the GOP’s agenda. . . . ‘If there were ever a time when Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley were prophetic, it’s tonight,’ Reid said on the floor. ‘These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate, and we didn’t. They were right. The rest of us were wrong — or most of us, anyway. What a shame.’ Reid added: ‘If there were anything that ever needed changing in this body, it’s the filibuster rules, because it’s been abused, abused, abused.’”

At Townhall.com, Guy Benson has the video of Harry Reid’s latest attack on this venerable Senate tradition and notes, “Interestingly, when Reid’s minority posse was actually abusing the judicial filibuster in the mid-2000’s, they defended their inviolable right to obstruct President Bush’s appointees . . . .” He points out that last night Reid was attacking all filibusters, not just those of judicial nominees, which Democrats went to the mats to defend in 2005.

And what prompted Reid’s “anger,” as Politico describes it? He wanted to pass a bill without any debate or amendment and Republicans objected, demanding the basic rights of senators. A spokesman for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) complained on Twitter, “McConnell is holding up bipartisan Ex-Im bill in name of amendments by Toomey, Vitter, Rand Paul & Mike Lee.” But have Senate Democrats really made legislating their priority recently? Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has been less than impressed with Democrats’ priorities: “Earlier this week, the President repackaged a list of old ideas into a Post-It note checklist for Congress. He said he did not want to ‘overload’ Congress. Unfortunately besides the weekly political show votes to coincide with the President’s campaign schedule, the work that needs to be done, isn’t. No budget, nothing to prevent the largest tax hike in history, and House-passed bills are sitting in the hopper. And while the President is trying to manufacture arguments that he can run on, House Republicans have spent the last year and a half voting on and passing energy and jobs bills. In fact, more than two dozen job proposals are currently collecting dust on the [Senate] Majority Leader’s desk.”

With Democrats’ clear desire stymie debate in the Senate, it’s interesting to note what Harry Reid said about such things back when his priority was defending the filibuster, as Guy Benson highlights: “The Senate was not established to be efficient. Sometimes the rules get in the way of efficiency. The Senate was established to make sure that minorities are protected. Majorities can always protect themselves, but minorities cannot. That is what the Senate is all about. For more than 200 years, the rules of the Senate have protected the American people, and rightfully so. The need to muster 60 votes in order to terminate Senate debate naturally frustrates the majority and oftentimes the minority. I am sure it will frustrate me when I assume the office of majority leader in a few weeks. But I recognize this requirement is a tool that serves the long-term interest of the Senate and the American people and our country.”

Related:

Rasmussen Reports: 23% View Harry Reid Favorably, 57% Don’t

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