Formerly known as "Liberty"
(The votes were being filibustered because the Republicans had already changed the Senate's rules, to get rid of all the other ways that minority parties used to be able to block confirmation votes.)
(Don't know if it's still true, but I recall reading that, like 2 years into Obama's administration, the Republicans were filibustering the confirmation votes on over a third of Obama's appointments, not just for lifetime appointments to the federal bench, but all appointments at all levels of the executive branch.)
Establishing the precedent of "well, as long as we aren't getting rid of the filibuster entirely, just adjusting it a little", can get real slippery real fast.
---------- Post added November-14th-2012 at 05:29 PM ----------
"The Balanced Budget Amendment"
This is a proposal that the Republicans bring out every election cycle, to try to convince the voters that people who consistently vote to slash taxes and increase military spending want to reduce the deficit. At least the one I saw would modify the Constitution to state that in order to pass any federal budget that is not completely balanced, requires a 60% vote in both houses of Congress.
In short, it embeds in the Constitution a permanent filibuster of all federal budgets. In both houses of Congress.
Just my opinion, but I assert that a similar rule, and Prop 13, are the two biggest reasons for why California is the ****** up mess that it is, today.
In my opinion, passing such a Constitutional Amendment would enshrine Stupid in our Constitution. It would, IMO, be the single worst thing our nation would have ever done in it's history.
But, it's really popular. It sounds good. "Look how responsible and patriotic and thrifty I am! I voted to mandate that somebody else (besides me) balance the federal budget! And don;t you think that a balanced budget would be good, too?"
Passing that Amendment would be like a mutual suicide pact, for the whole country.
But, if it ever comes up for a recorded vote, the Congressmen are going to be under tremendous pressure to vote for it.
I suspect that most of them know what a disaster it would be. I suspect that at least 60% (maybe 75%) of the people in Congress, would vote in favor of not allowing it to come up for a vote, as long as their vote is private.
But, if the vote is recorded, it likely passes, by large numbers. The people who would have voted against it, in private, (because they think it would harm the country), will vote in favor of a Constitutional Amendment (that they think will harm the country) rather than stand up to the voters.
In short, I think it's Good For The Country that some proposals can be blocked from coming up for a vote, without a recorded vote taken on it.
Last edited by Larry; November-14th-2012 at 04:57 PM.
"The Internet is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea: massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it" - I wish I had said this.
The Senate rules allow a filibustered bill to be brought to a floor vote, while still filibustered.
If the bill gets 60 votes, then the filibuster is broken, and the bill passes, all with one vote.
But, if it doesn't get 60 votes, then not only has the filibuster not been broken, but the bill has been killed. It's dead, and they have to start over.
(I think of it as "if your challenge is overturned, then you lose a time out".)
The result is, just like NFL teams won't challenge unless they're almost 100% certain that they will win, the Senate leadership won't bring the filibustered bill to a vote, unless they have 60 promises of votes.
That's why pretty much every single vote that gets brought to a vote, now days, you see "Needed to pass: 60", on the vote. The bill was filibustered.
Now, I don't know how many Senators it takes ti start a "silent filibuster". But, it takes 40 to maintain it. It's just that, instead of having a recorded vote on the floor, the vote takes the form of "Can you tell us, privately, how you would vote, if the bill came to the floor?"
Last edited by Prosperity; November-14th-2012 at 05:02 PM.
Formerly known as "Liberty"
Anyways, the talking filibuster is nothing like what Republicans wanted with the judges. They wanted to do away with the filibuster entirely on appointments, the talking filibuster doesn't do away with that at all.
I don't really buy the slippery slope argument for the filibuster IF the talking filibuster is implemented. It doesn't actually reduce the minority's power, simply forces them to do what they used to do. I think both sides would recognize the danger of actually reducing the power of the minority, which is why the talking filibuster is the most popular proposal by democrats, and why it's unlikely Republicans would go farther.
I mean, imagine Republicans won the Senate in 2014 (democrats defending 20 seats, republicans defending only 13), and implemented changes getting rid of the filibuster, using the change to talking filibuster as justification. Now, in 2016, more Republicans than democrats are up for reelection, what happens if they lose the Senate again? Suddenly they have been hoisted by their own petard, especially if a democrat wins the White House in 2016.
Sure, they'll whine now, but when push comes to shove the talking filibuster would change practically nothing, and they won't suddenly go destroy the filibuster because they know it would backfire in time.
Mainly I agree with Prosperity. There will always be hypothetical situations where a silent filibuster is preferable to a loud one, for both sides at differing times.
The issue is, we have many serious real world problems that are being blocked in the Senate in reality, not hypothetically. If we don't go with the talking filibuster (which really only reduces the minority's media cover, and not their ability to filibuster if they are ardent enough), we either have to keep the current system in place, which means we have a broken incompetent system, or put in a system that ACTUALLY reduces the power of the minority, which I think would be far more harmful than the talking filibuster proposal. Reality trumps hypothetical, we can deal with the unintended consequences if/when they pop up.
The House has already passed such an Amendment. (I think more than once, but I'm not sure.)
The topic of the thread is the Senate, so let's just make an example of them. (The situation is the same at other levels of government.)
It takes 67 Senators to pass the Balanced Budget Amendment.
You're a Senator. This measure is scheduled to come up for a vote. Your vote on this matter is going to be a matter of public record. Everybody in your district is going to know how you voted. (And if you vote against it, your next opponent is going to remind them of it, 150 times.)
Your choices are:
- Vote in favor of a bill which your voters overwhelmingly think is a good idea. (They're wrong. but that's what they think.0
- Or you can be one of the minority of Senators who willingly, publicly, stands up and casts a vote which your next opponent is going to paint as "Opposes balancing the budget".
Note that, if you vote in favor of this bill, it still doesn't become part of the Constitution. Even if you cast the deciding vote, to pass this bill, it will still have to be approved by 33 state legislatures. So you can vote in favor of it, please your voters, garner all of the credit that comes from pleasing your voters, and it still won;t take effect.
It might never take effect. Even if it does, it'll be years, maybe over 10 years, before it does.
You really want to gamble on this theory that 34 Senators are going to stand up in front of the TV cameras and chose Option 2?
But, next point.
Far as I know, it is possible, right now, to publicly hold the GOP's feet to the fire for the filibustering that they say they aren't doing.
Call a cloture vote.
I certainly know that it's possible to do this, right now. Because cloture votes are, in fact, occurring, right now. (In fact, in record numbers.) A cloture vote forces every member of the Senate to publicly vote on whether to continue to filibuster a bill, or to break it.
Now, I don't know what the rules are, for these votes. But I know for a fact that they are at least possible.
Last edited by Larry; November-14th-2012 at 06:52 PM.
Reid of the Senate has said for years that the Senate is allowed to make its own rules.
Fillibuster is being abused, Fix it and make the elections count for something.
If its a problem that can be "adjusted" to make it used even a little less often so bills have to come to the floor.
And Senator Reid said he is going to do this. (He's not passed a budged which is against the laws and rules, so I know he has it in him).
Then i would expect him to do this? And would support him.
Last edited by Thiebear; November-15th-2012 at 09:11 AM.
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