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 In the face of Republican insistence on using the filibuster for everything, that courtesy should be withdrawn.
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.