Friday, December 3, 2010

Ending the Filibuster-As-Time-Sink

Kevin Drum hilights Jeff Merkley's smart proposal to keep the spirit of the filibuster—allowing the Senate to continue debate in the presence of a small but vocal minority—while eliminating its use as a tool to simply slow down basic governance functions. The basic trade is that while the minority's right  to extend debate indefinitely becomes is reduced, their right to offer amendments is expanded. It's a good trade and Senate Democrats should take it. To state the obvious, in the event of a Republican President and Republican House/Senate in 2012 (which has at least a 12.5% chance of happening just by pure luck), the filibuster will be destroyed instantly and we all know it. Better to fly into the teeth of the thing and allow the Senate to go about its business for a couple of years before shit really hits the fan.


CharleyCarp said...

we all know it

Having lived through 2005, I don't think I know anything of the kind.

wsn said...

Yeah I don't think they would do much on it unless the D's used it like the R's are now.

If they can use it against the D's, and the D's won't use it against them, why get rid of it?

They can already do taxes by reconciliation. And I suspect they would be fine using recess appointments for their various nominees.

Do they care about anything else?

BruceMcF said...

Perhaps the statement could be expanded: if there is a Republican Senate and a Republican President, and the Democratic minority attempts to use the power of the filibuster, it will be destroyed instantly.

Obviously the last time the Democrats threatened to use the power of the filibuster, they were threatened with its destruction for that area, so they agreed to not use the filibuster in return for keeping it. Kind of like the Monty Python insurance policy with the "no claims" clause.

A deal which evokes the response: huh????