The Senate Democrats can no longer complain about GOP obstructionism any more. All of their and Harry Reid's blathering
was just hot air. They had a chance for real filibuster reform yesterday, but instead, they denied the American voters their due.
Senate Resolution 15 (the filibuster reform bill) was passed by a vote of 78-16. The Democrats hold the majority in the Senate, but voted with the Republicans to kill real filibuster reform. In essence, the bill, sponsored by Harry Reid (D-NV) and co-sponsored by Arizona Republican John McCain and Michigan Democrat Carl Levin, does squat.
This was the American people's chance to force congressional legislatures to
go before the American public to to publicly state why they would oppose voting
up and down on bills that affect our daily lives.
If this doesn't please you, look up your senator and their contact information here -- or call the congressional switchboard operator at 202-224-3121 and ask the operator for your Senator's office to complain.
The Democrats declared unequivocally on Wednesday that they had the 51 votes necessary to reform the filibuster. Harry Reid
had publicly said that reform was needed and that he was willing to use the "nuclear option" -- changing the official Senate rules
with a bare majority of 51 votes -- to get it done if he had to.
But the very next day, using suggestions offered by John McCain, Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats stabbed us in the back (then later tried to sugar-coat their actions).
According to this blog post (which was cited by the Washington Post), and contrary to what we may have heard, it still might be possible for brave Democrats to impose rule changes by a majority vote whenever they want -- and not just on the first day of a Congress
A few Democrats have circled their wagons around Harry Reid, pathetically excusing their cowardly votes and making lame excuses for doing so.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) told reporters, “That’s how this world works...you get a negotiation, then you reach something called compromise."
Last night Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) was babbling on the Rachel Maddow Show, making all kinds of feeble excuses, saying that there would still be the House to contend with.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told reporters that she’s satisfied with the package: “Yes, I am. I think it’s sufficient.”
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said it’s a reasonable compromise. “I think it’s good,” she said. “I think it’s progress.”
Co-sponsor Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) was pleased that the deal looks like the proposal he put forth to avoid enacting further-reaching reforms with 51-votes. "We avoided using a nuclear option which, I guarantee you, would’ve led to a meltdown in the Senate. It would’ve made the gridlock we’ve seen so far look like a Sunday school picnic.”
You mean, Senator Carl Levin thinks that filibuster reform would have made
things worse than they already are? Who in the hell is he kidding? What an
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said the package would make the Senate more efficient.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) said, “I think Senator Reid has done a very significant bit of reform.”
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) characterized the agreement as a step in the right direction.
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) said the deal reflects “real progress” toward a more “functional” Senate.
The Republicans agreed with these Democratic Senators. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) said he voted for the rules change, saying, “The rules change doesn’t really do a lot. But it certainly preserves the 60-vote threshold, preserves the blue slip procedure. It preserves the filibuster.”
Yes, and it also preserves Republican obstructionism.
My related post from yesterday: