Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, October 07, 2011

Neutron Bomb

Last night, Harry Reid exercised what is known as the "nuclear option" in some circles over Senate rules. He led a majority of Democrats to overrule a parliamentarian and cut off the right of the minority to call for multiple votes on amendments after cloture. It happened rather unexpectedly in an attempt to an amendment to the Chinese-currency-kvetching bill. McConnell wanted to force a vote on an amendment containing Obama's original jobs bill (not the current version with the millionaire's tax) to embarrass the president and cause more delay. This restricts post-cloture maneuvering by the minority. Of course, this is not really a nuclear option in the sense that that term was created to talk about outlawing the filibuster altogether in 2005. (Note, according to The Hill, a similarly arcane such use of the majority-overrule took place in 2000 under Bill Frist's leadership to eliminate votes on "sense of the senate" resolutions under such circumstances.)

This is actually a very big deal. It is the first time Harry Reid has ever done anything to stand up to the minority in the Senate worth a damn. It is the first time he has reacted seriously to the way McConnell has flouted tradition to all but shut down the Senate. Republicans are threatening direly about possibly messing with the filibuster when they're in the majority as retaliation. I have no doubt they will do so no matter what Reid does. I hope we see more of it. Part of what made it work was the Reid sprang this on McConnell unexpectedly and got the 51 votes without much fuss and bother. No showdown, just a win.


Raised By Republicans said...

I agree. The Republicans have shown, repeatedly, that the will return "playing nice" with deviousness and outright cheating. So you may as well play hardball yourself. Well done, Mr. Reid.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I also take to heart LTL's point that the Republicans will dispense with the filibuster rules when they get back in power. To get what he wants, McConnell twists the rules to the breaking point now; if he attains the majority, he will simply break them.

Given that, I see no incentive for Democrats to defend the filibuster now. You'd better believe that McConnell will never allow Reid obstruct him as he has obstructed Reid.

USwest said...

It's about time they throw some heavy pitches at Republicans. Long over due.