The War Against The Filibuster (Update)
Scott Brown wins in Massachusetts and already those rowdy Republicans are filibustering. Now that they have that 41st vote, by gosh they are committed to saying no to everything, to include a “routine” nomination of some poor inconsequential slob (lead counsel for the SEIU) to a nothing job (National Labor Relations Board) where his power is limited (has indicated he’d find a way to implement “card check” without Congressional approval).
That’s what you’d believe if you listened to the left today. Craig (let’s unilaterally expand the bureaucratic powers of the NLRB) Becker’s nomination didn’t garner the 60 votes necessary to pass and thus it’s the Republicans fault. The vote?
But wait, you say, that’s only 85. Aren’t there 100 Senators? Well yes. But 15 didn’t vote.
Really? And now many of those were Republican?
I’m glad you asked. 10 were Republican.
So, obviously then 5 were Democrats.
Well 4 Democrats and a Socialist Independent. And had those 5 voted “yea”, the Democrats would have had 57.
Uh huh. So were all those who voted “nay” Republicans?
Well, no. 2 were Democrats.
So let me get this straight – if every Democrat and “Independent” had voted “yea” yesterday, they’d have had 59 votes, correct?
But they didn’t. Two Democrats voted “nay”.
And 31 Republicans voted “nay”.
So with 10 Republicans not voting, how are we sure the Republicans “filibustered” this vote? Were they just assumed to be a nay vote? And isn’t it true that even if the Democrats had retained their 60 vote filibuster proof majority it appears only 58 would have voted “yea” on this nomination?
UPDATE: The Hill identifies what happened yesterday for what it really was – the result of a “hold”:
On Tuesday, Republicans successfully blocked the nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board by using a hold, which is similar to a filibuster in that it requires that 60 senators vote to break it.
Remember, it’s “like a filibuster”, but not a filibuster. Regardless note who is on the blame line. However, the same argument applies. Even with 60 votes it appears the Dems would have only been able to muster 58. As a commenter said, it was a bi-partisan rejection.
In another development, it appears the White House plans on using the filibuster as a campaign issue. That whine is sure to garner tons of sympathy and votes. Especially among the majority who think the country is headed in the wrong direction and the 75% who are angry at government.
Lastly, John Cornyn makes the appropriate points about the filibuster on of all places, Twitter:
Cornyn: RT @thenote: re: filibuster. Bipartisan support for protecting minority rights. What goes around comes around.
Indeed (and Republicans will surely see it come around again to the benefit of Democrats – we call that gridlock and we find it to be good). And good luck trying to get it changed anytime soon – to do so would take a 2/3rds vote (67).