a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Make the GOP really filibuster the next one

Posted by Thomas Nephew on July 12th, 2007

Writing at “The Next Hurrah,” mimikatz notes that yesterday’s 41-56 victory for Republican dead-enders allowed the GOP to avoid the inconvenience of conducting a filibuster — to deny troops adequate rest. Having framed the story usefully, she draws the sensible conclusion:

What Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid needs to do now is to call GOP Minority leader Mitch McConnell’s bluff and require the GOP to actually filibuster. Bring up Webb-Hagel again, or do it with Levin-Reed. But make them filibuster. Make it plain to the Senators that there will be no August recess until the Defense bill is done, and if the GOP doesn’t want to face losing an upperdown vote, they can filibuster for the whole country to see. The TV stations will love the theater, and the GOP will look as stupid as they did when they staged Bill Frist’s talk-a-thon on judges when the Dems wouldn’t allow up or down votes.

Via hilzoy (“Obsidian Wings”), who provides a detailed catalogue of other measures Senate Republicans have blocked in this way — just about everything Democrats have wanted, including the Employee Free Choice Act a couple of weeks ago. Hilzoy concludes:

The idea of taking a bill off the floor rather than forcing its opponents to keep talking until hell freezes over was a courtesy. In the face of Republican insistence on using the filibuster for everything, that courtesy should be withdrawn.

UPDATE, 7/12: Via Nell’s comment, Bob Borosage explains why Campaign for America’s Future has set up a petition to Harry Reid to do just that:

These bills are overwhelmingly popular, and are simply common sense reforms. Yet every one of them—and many more—got held up in the U.S. Senate.

Conservatives boast about the “success” of their strategy in discrediting the new majority. As Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott, R-Miss., put it, “the strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail. So far it’s working for us.” How is it working? It’s dragging the reputation of the Congress down to the level of the failed president. Conservatives lie in the road of progress and then complain that nothing is moving. A while back, eRobin wrote that things start to get attention in Congress when phone calls on a subject exceed 200 a day. Harry Reid’s office is getting one from me tomorrow.

4 Responses to “Make the GOP really filibuster the next one”

  1. Nell Says:

    No s***! Bob Borosage and Steve Benen have been calling for this for a few weeks now.
    The Webb amendment would be a great place to start. If the Rs fold, as they might well, and it passes, then we move on to the next item. My pick would be the govt-negotiates-drug-prices-w/Pharmacos, which was killed by the same method. But there’s a big selection…

  2. Thomas Nephew Says:

    So you’re saying just run Webb’s bill up the flagpole again? Why not, I guess; but does that ever happen in the Senate? — Anyway, thanks much for the Borosage item. Another outfit I should read more often.
    LATER: it finally occurred to me something like that must have happened with the immigration legislation, which failed to break cloture twice. Plus mimikatz suggested it, I just skipped right over that.

  3. » Blog Archive » In which I attend the Filibuster Rally Says:

    [...] an “out of Iraq” bill instead of just signaling one. Having agreed with others that was precisely what Senator Reid should do, I was inclined to join a MoveOn/Americans United for Change/VoteVets/NOW/Code Pink/etc.-publicized [...]

  4. » Blog Archive » Why does Richard Berman want to kick my dog? Says:

    [...] like CUF have won the battle of the Employee Free Choice Act, by virtue of a Republican minority blocking the 60 votes needed to cut off debate in the Senate. But maybe that’s just it — this was a popular [...]

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