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Thread: Senate approves nuclear option

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    Re: Senate approves nuclear option

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck Ewer View Post
    Democrats don't filibuster presidential appointments.
    Of course they don't. Never. Ever. In that parallel universe where everything is like here, only the other way around.

    Listen to one Sen. Reid form Nevada (surely not THIS Sen. Reid?!), going on record in 2005, defending passionately the use of filibuster against the nominees of Pres. Bush:
    (Reid Floor Speech on Use of Filibuster | Senate Democrats)

    Mr. President, yesterday morning I spoke here about a statement the Majority Leader issued calling the filibuster a “procedural gimmick.”

    The Websters dictionary defines “gimmick” as – - “an ingenious new scheme or angle.” No Mr. President, the filibuster is not a scheme. And it is not new.

    The filibuster is far from a “procedural gimmick.” It is part of the fabric of this institution. It was well known in colonial legislatures, and it is an integral part of our country’s 217 years of history.

    The first filibuster in the U.S. Congress happened in 1790. It was used by lawmakers from Virginia and South Carolina who were trying to prevent Philadelphia from hosting the first Congress.

    Since 1790, the filibuster has been employed hundreds and hundreds of times.

    Senators have used it to stand up to popular presidents. To block legislation. And yes – even to stall executive nominees.

    The roots of the filibuster can be found in the Constitution and in the Senate rules.

    In establishing each House of Congress, Article I Section 5 of the Constitution states that “Each House may determine the rules.”

    In crafting the rules of the Senate, Senators established the right to extended debate – and they formalized it with Rule XXII almost 100 years ago. This rule codified the practice that Senators could debate extensively.

    Under Rule XXII, debate may be cut off under limited circumstances.

    – 67 votes to end a filibuster of a motion to amend a Senate rule.

    – 60 votes to end a filibuster against any other legislative business.

    A conversation between Thomas Jefferson and George Washington describes the United States Senate and our Founders Fathers vision of it.

    Jefferson asked Washington what is the purpose of the Senate?

    Washington responded with a question of his own, “Why did you pour that coffee into your saucer?”

    “To cool it,” Jefferson replied.

    To which Washington said; “Even so, we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.”

    And this is exactly what the filibuster does. It encourages moderation and consensus. It gives voice to the minority, so that cooler heads may prevail.

    It also separates us from the House of Representatives – where the majority rules.

    And it is very much in keeping with the spirit of the government established by the Framers of our Constitution: Limited Government…Separation of Powers…Checks and Balances.

    Mr. President, the filibuster is a critical tool in keeping the majority in check. This central fact has been acknowledged and even praised by Senators from both parties.

    In fact, my colleague from Georgia – Senator Isakson – recently shared a conversation he had with an official from the Iraqi government.

    The Senator had asked this official if he was worried that the majority in Iraq would overrun the minority. But the official replied… “no….we have the secret weapon called the ‘filibuster.’”

    In recalling that conversation, Senator Isakson remarked: “If there were ever a reason for optimism… it is one of [the Iraqi] minority leaders, proudly stating one of the pillars and principles of our government, as the way they would ensure that the majority never overran the minority.”

    And he was right.

    I spoke yesterday about Senator Holt and his 1939 filibuster to protect workers’ wages and hours.

    There are also recent examples of the filibuster achieving good.

    In 1985, Senators from rural states used the filibuster to force Congress to address a major crisis in which thousands of farmers were on the brink of bankruptcy.

    In 1995, the filibuster was used by Senators to protect the rights of workers to a fair wage and a safe workplace.

    Now Mr. President, I will not stand here and say the filibuster has always been used for positive purposes.

    Just as it has been used to bring about social change, it was also used to stall progress that this country needed to make. It is often shown that the filibuster was used against Civil Right legislation. But Civil Rights legislation passed – - Civil Rights advocates met the burden.

    And it is noteworthy that today the Congressional Black Caucus is opposed to the Nuclear Option.

    For further analysis, let’s look at Robert Caro, a noted historian and Pulitzer Prize winner.

    At a meeting I attended with other Senators, he spoke about the history of the filibuster. He made a point about its legacy that was important.

    He noted that when legislation is supported by the majority of Americans, it eventually overcomes a filibuster’s delay – as public protest far outweighs any Senator’s appetite to filibuster.

    But when legislation only has the support of the minority, the filibuster slows the legislation …prevents a Senator from ramming it through…and gives the American people enough time join the opposition.

    Mr. President, the right to extended debate is never more important than when one party controls Congress and the White House.

    In these cases, the filibuster serves as a check on power and preserves our limited government.

    Right now, the only check on President Bush is the Democrats ability to voice their concern in the Senate.

    If Republicans rollback our rights in this Chamber, there will be no check on their power. The radical, right wing will be free to pursue any agenda they want. And not just on judges. Their power will be unchecked on Supreme Court nominees…the President’s nominees in general…and legislation like Social Security privatization.

    Of course the President would like the power to name anyone he wants to lifetime seats on the Supreme Court and other federal courts.

    And that is why the White House has been aggressively lobbying Senate Republicans to change Senate rules in a way that would hand dangerous new powers to the President over two separate branches – the Congress and the Judiciary.

    Unfortunately, this is part of a disturbing pattern of behavior by this White House and Republicans in Washington.

    From Dick Cheney’s fight to slam the doors of the White House on the American people…

    To the President’s refusal to cooperate with the 9-11 Commission…

    To Senate Republicans attempt to destroy the last check in Washington on Republican power…

    To the House Majority’s quest to silence the minority in the House…

    Republicans have sought to destroy the balance of power in our government by grabbing power for the presidency, silencing the minority and weakening our democracy.

    America does not work the way the radical right-wing dictates to President Bush and the Republican Senate Leaders. And Mr. President, that is not how the United States Senate works either.

    For 200 years, we’ve had the right to extended debate. It’s not some “procedural gimmick.”

    It’s within the vision of the Founding Fathers of our country. They established a government so that no one person – and no single party – could have total control.

    Some in this Chamber want to throw out 217 years of Senate history in the quest for absolute power.

    They want to do away with Mr. Smith coming to Washington.

    They want to do away with the filibuster.

    They think they are wiser than our Founding Fathers.

    I doubt that’s true.

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    Re: Senate approves nuclear option

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck Ewer View Post
    Winner takes all translates into "majority rule"
    That was good enough for the framers of the constitution but it is not good enough for you?
    Germany has socialized healthcare and socialized education through college. They take care of their old ,young and infirm without question and with dignity.Their republic is doing just fine and capitalism thrives.
    You are, for some reason, afraid of institutionalized humanity when it can be plainly illustrated that it works.
    I have no problem with humanity. I do have a problem with allowing one person or one group unfettered ability to define what is and isn't humane.

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    Re: Senate approves nuclear option

    I do not think that is neccessarily an improvement. I am always sceptical, when control mechanisms are tampered with.

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    Re: Senate approves nuclear option

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck Ewer View Post
    See the chart and tell me that Democrats abused the filibuster the same as the republicons.
    Again it is a republicon thing to filibuster EVERY nomination.
    Attachment 67157160
    McConnell brought this on himself.
    He is a stubborn and stupid man.

    I doubt that this has occurred to you but have you considered that the reason for so many filibusters under Obama is that the current crop of Democrats are pushing an agenda that is more distasteful to this nation than any congress before them?

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    Re: Senate approves nuclear option

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck Ewer View Post
    See the chart and tell me that Democrats abused the filibuster the same as the republicons.
    Again it is a republicon thing to filibuster EVERY nomination.
    Attachment 67157160
    McConnell brought this on himself.
    He is a stubborn and stupid man.
    1) That wasn't the question. You claimed the Democrats DON'T filibuster, and that ONLY "Republicons" [sic] do.

    2) Cloture is a motion that limits the time of debate. It is not a motion to end a filibuster specifically. Putting up the number of cloture motions does not show the number of filibusters. Reid has been quite aggressive in filing for cloture in order to suppress debate after filling the tree -- not countering filibusters. Contrary to what you and Mother Jones would have us believe, that "307" number does not represent 307 Republican filibusters.

    The Republicans have filibustered more than the Democrats, but they've also been in the minority -- and thus would be the ones filibustering -- much more than the Democrats.
    “Offing those rich pigs with their own forks and knives, and then eating a meal in the same room, far out! The Weathermen dig Charles Manson.”-- Bernadine Dohrn

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    Re: Senate approves nuclear option

    Quote Originally Posted by jonny5 View Post
    You defend it by saying the majority got 99% of they want. What has the minority gotten? They theoretically represent 45% of the country, but because the majority represents 55%, the only things that get done is what 55% want? What about the rest of us? And that's why the minority has to use whatever leverage they have.
    Once again, the filibuster is not dead in the Senate! You folks who keep repeating this line really need to stop listening to the Conservative talking heads out there. The filibuster can still be used for all other orders of normal Senate businesses except for presidential appointments and judicial nominations less for Supreme Court justices.
    "A fair exchange ain't no robbery." Tupac Shakur w/Digital Underground

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    Re: Senate approves nuclear option

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek View Post
    Follow the thread. I was specifically referring to MMC's plan to replace judges more frequently.

    In addition, only one Supreme Court justice has ever been filibustered, and then only for four days.
    I am following the thread as closely as I can considering how quickly it keeps changing. Perhaps you should learn how to use emoticons in your posts to better denote sarcasm? Just a thought...

    In any case, clad you clarified your position which in this case speaks directly to why Sen. Reid pressed the button (pun intended) on the nuclear option. Since Obama was first elected, Republicans apparently have stonewalled on more presidential nominations using the filibuster as their man tool than at any other time since the Reagan era according to this memo (reposted for emphasis). I think it's important to keep that in mind, as well as the fact that Republicans were the first to threaten taking such action because back in the day it was Senate Democrats who were doing the same thing to GWB's presidential nominees. A deal was reached between Senate Dems and Repubs similar to what was in place prior to Sen. Reid pulling the trigger - that no presidential nominations short of those for the SC would be filibustered and that each would get a straight up or down vote except under extraordinary circumstances (not sure how they were defined back then or even now, but those were the conditions).

    So, it would appear that Senate Republicans went back on their word given as recently as July of this year when Sen. Reid last threatened to invoke the nuclear option. The way I see it, Republicans had to know this was coming; they brought it on themselves and I believe secretly they've wanted to do it for a long time but weren't brave enough to go through with it. Besides, since Senate Dems kept their word and really didn't delay GWB's presidential appointments (no more than 40 days), I'd say they really didn't have a cause to go through with it back then. But purposely delaying such appointments under Pres. Obama (82 to be exact, nearly half of the total number of such nominations in U.S. history) for over 100 days...yeah, I'd say Sen. Reid had ample reason to follow through with his threat.
    Last edited by Objective Voice; 11-23-13 at 06:52 PM.
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    Re: Senate approves nuclear option

    Quote Originally Posted by Harshaw View Post
    1) That wasn't the question. You claimed the Democrats DON'T filibuster, and that ONLY "Republicons" [sic] do.

    2) Cloture is a motion that limits the time of debate. It is not a motion to end a filibuster specifically. Putting up the number of cloture motions does not show the number of filibusters. Reid has been quite aggressive in filing for cloture in order to suppress debate after filling the tree -- not countering filibusters. Contrary to what you and Mother Jones would have us believe, that "307" number does not represent 307 Republican filibusters.

    The Republicans have filibustered more than the Democrats, but they've also been in the minority -- and thus would be the ones filibustering -- much more than the Democrats.
    Good points, but again it bares repeating the filibuster hasn't been removed, just slightly restrained in its use by the minority.
    Last edited by Objective Voice; 11-23-13 at 07:14 PM.
    "A fair exchange ain't no robbery." Tupac Shakur w/Digital Underground

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    Re: Senate approves nuclear option

    Quote Originally Posted by Objective Voice View Post
    Good points, but again it bares repeating the filibuster hasn't been removed, just slightly restrained by the minority.
    The majority, you mean; I don't disagree.
    “Offing those rich pigs with their own forks and knives, and then eating a meal in the same room, far out! The Weathermen dig Charles Manson.”-- Bernadine Dohrn

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    Re: Senate approves nuclear option

    Quote Originally Posted by vesper View Post
    The Senate is suppose to be a body that makes it difficult to change laws on a whim. These law changes on filibusters didn't start till 1977. But two can play the game.
    All it's going to take is 51 seats in the Senate to repeal Obamacare.
    If the GOP tried that, they'd have to change the rules again. The nuclear option doesn't apply to legislation or SCOTUS appointments.
    Freedom of speech is not freedom from criticism.

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