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  • Filibuster Reform Just the Latest Senate Power Grab

    Senator Harry Reid (D–NV) wants to limit the filibuster now that he has retained his position as majority leader.

    In July of this year, The Washington Post reported that Reid “is now openly promising to pass filibuster reform in the beginning of the next Congress if Democrats manage to hold onto a simple majority in the Senate and if Obama is reelected.” Democrats expanded their majority in the Senate and Obama won re-election. Now comes the power grab.

    It is interesting that Reid promised to change the rules only if his party retained control of the presidency and the Senate. This is a partisan tactic, not an ideological fight.

    In 2005, then-Senator Barack Obama was correct when he argued that “what [the American people] don’t expect, is for one party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so that they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet.”

    On April 27, 2005, Reid himself argued against a Republican Senate majority that “not only is there a suggestion about changing the rules, but they are going to do it by breaking the rules. To change a rule here in the Senate takes a simple majority. But if somebody wants to speak in an extensive manner relating to that rule change, you have to break a filibuster. They are not willing to do that. They are going to use brute force and break the rules to change the rules. That is what they are talking about.”

    Reid is about to use that same “brute force” that he decried in 2005.

    Reid went on to say argue that “one of the good things about this institution we have found in the 214 years it has been in existence is that the filibuster, which has been in existence since the beginning, from the days of George Washington—we have changed the rules as relates [sic] to it a little bit but never by breaking the rules. I say to my distinguished friend, the senior Senator from Illinois, in all the political writings about filibuster, that is one of the things they talk about as a positive. It forces people to get together because sometimes in this body you become very fixed.”

    Reid would be breaking the explicit rules of the Senate to accomplish his “filibuster reform.”

    Because the Senate is a continuing body, it is impossible to change the rules without ignoring a filibuster of the rule change that requires a two-thirds vote of all Senators. Senate Rule V provides that “no motion to suspend, modify, or amend any rule, or any part thereof, shall be in order, except on one day’s notice in writing, specifying precisely the rule or part proposed to be suspended, modified, or amended, and the purpose thereof.”

    To suspend or change the rules, Reid would need 67 votes. Reid will argue that when the Senate comes into Session in January, he is allowed to change the rules with a party line 51-vote threshold.

    Reid might want to read his own Senate website, which further makes the point that the Senate is a continuing body. “The Senate, in brief, was to be a ‘continuing body’ with one-third of its membership up for election at any one time.” The Senators Reid and Obama of 2005 should prevail and leave the filibuster intact.

    Posted in Featured, First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Filibuster Reform Just the Latest Senate Power Grab

    1. Blair Franconia, NH says:


    2. Paladin says:

      "Reid is about to use that same “brute force” that he decried in 2005."
      Republicans started it with their "nuclear option"!
      Turn about is fair play
      What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
      Make it so!

      • Mike, Wichita Falls says:

        The nuclear option only related to "advice and consent" which only requires a simple majority not a super-majority. Each chamber can make its own rules as long as those rules do not conflict with other explicit language in the Constitution.

    3. Mike Hebert says:

      This is strictly from a 'peasant' perspective – nevertheless, filibustering to me is just another way, regardless of party to extend 'debate' on 'issues' that SHOULD'VE been thoroughly researched, pro's / con's. They have served, again, perspectively, ONLY to WASTE valuable time and ENHANCE the rehtoric our elected officials so well have shown themselves so capable of. Meanwhile, issues of importance go by the way-side.And Hollywood has a 'hayday' with it.Wash.,D.C. has majored in political 'lingo' to the point, common people have no idea what they are talking about without a 'Master'sDegree' in political science!So it's no wonder not even a minority objects to what could be a major issue.ANYONE wanting to 'change the rules' will be met with negativity, especially one of their own level of representation.And let's not forget how the rest of the world looks at it all.As important as sports are – worldwide – are the 'humble' servants of this nation serving self or 'WE' the people by this filibustering? Be honest.

    4. Bobbie says:

      What's up with the President misunderstanding the people? he says "the majority of Americans rich, middle class and poor alike want" his pandering?) yet I know rich, middle class and poor and they say "it's what Americans want?" NOT ONE said it's what "THEY WANT." "It's what Americans want" are words of subliminal hearsay to get America to do it. I want to know specific demographics behind "it's what Americans want" as America has been deeply infested with activists and their "isms" that aren't worthy of a vote let alone citizenship. I don't know any Americans this indignant to want government controlling "what Americans want" by stealing from rich people when what "Americans" want take on responsibilities to get when it's more than providing for their own like the previous poor before them did.

      The President can read off the top of his head, a list of government federated regulations he can eliminate to give freedom back to the economy!!! Students loans can be forgiven by ALL those benefiting from gouging tuition costs. BTW- Whose second class between the students paying triple costs for the same credits other students get with free tuition? Everybody pays for what they want in America. Same with housing. Got a problem? Don't belittle yourself to have the president of America cheat other Americans so you don't have to face your responsibilities everybody else faces. The government you trust, designed the whole thing to create this crisis. Medical? Government control of societies medical is forbidden in the name of civility. Government empowerment of life's health is beyond risk! It's force!

      FORGET what America WANTS! AMERICA NEEDS people to take on their independence and be accountable to their responsibilities to survive and further responsibilities by choice to take on your own!

      What is the job of democrats? Seem to have plenty of time finding personal information on anyone at their convenience to hide their facts while their idea watches Americans attacked by terrorists they fail their duty to protect. Collapse America with their unconstitutional mandates and ongoing ignorances! How beneath America!!!! How beneath the decency of man!!!! While American government exemplifies lazy, ill concern, irresponsible, rude, deceptive, judgmental leadership democrats want everyone else forced to pay for to reflect Americans as the same? Nope. I'm not in the majority!!!!!! I don't know a single soul in that majority that hasn't been brainwashed to say 'it's what Americans want" or "it's what America wants"… majority? only in the eyes that want to control and the ones that want to be controlled!

    5. Florida Jim says:

      What Obama has said in the past can be completely reversed when he has power. His words mean nothing.
      The democrats have control and it is because of our weak candidates who can't think before speaking.
      Knowing the media waits for mistakes from Republicans our candidates play into their hands and we lose.

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