Senate Passes Ryan-Murray

By on 12.17.13 | 11:15AM

Jeff Sessions promised to filibuster and Republican support was slow to emerge, leading columnists like Marc Thiessen to wonder if the Ryan-Murray murmur of a budget deal might die in the Senate. Not even close:

Twelve Senate Republicans joined all 55 Democrats and Independents on Tuesday to advance the bipartisan budget deal approved in a landslide House vote last week. President Obama also supports the measure.

The list of the Republican aisle-crossers contains the usual suspects along with a couple surprises:

The Filibuster: Missing the Point

By on 11.22.13 | 10:07AM

Count me as one who is happy to see the filibuster gone. With so much bad law around, I think it's more important to be able to undo laws, and the filibuster was a barrier to reversability. But the conservatives who mourn the passing of the filibuster have missed the deeper meaning of what happened yeseterday. It wasn't the filibuster that should trouble them: the real problem was court-packing. The DC Circuit had no need for more judges, but will get them anyway. In the future, expect both sides to try to get the judicial rulings they want from Circuit and District courts through the same means that FDR sought to employ in 1937. 

In explaining a country's prosperity, few things are more important than its adherence to the rule of law. What that requires is a wall between that which is political and that which is judicial. That wall was severely breached yesterday.

The Senate Spectator

Nuclear Politics

By 11.21.13

The Senate became less of a deliberative body today and more of a gilded, blue-carpeted rubber stamp as Harry Reid and most of the chamber’s Democrats voted to employ the “nuclear option,” eliminating the 60-vote requirement for cloture on most cabinet and judicial nominees. The Democratic majority leader did so with the full support of the president, who lauded the Senate’s decision. But this reversal of Senate precedent and tradition will likely beget further modification of rules in subsequent Congresses.

Reid’s decision appeared at first to be bravado, no different from his threats to use the nuclear option in 2012. But this week rumors swirled, stoked by congressional aides, that Reid was serious. Today he made good on his threats, leading a vote which ended the practice of filibustering nominees as we know it. 

Pay No Attention to the Health Bureaucrat Behind the Curtain

By on 11.21.13 | 4:25PM

That's what this whole filibuster-reform, nuclear-bombs-away, uber-hypocritical maneuver by Harry Reid is today, right? The nation isn't bleeding from the fact that the president's judicial nominees aren't being moved down the conveyor belt quickly enough. It's an attempt to distract from the crumbling of Obamacare. The president wants to pivot back to portraying Republicans as feral, clawing anarchists, and beating his breast over their alleged obstruction in the Senate accomplishes just that. He even cited the Founding Fathers in his address, as though the filibuster is what would really irk the founders about the modern Senate; not the massive pork or the empowerment of unelected bureaucracies to pass regulations or the hotline spending—the filibuster. Wasn't the Senate supposed to be the "cooling saucer" of our legislative process? The mind reels.

Harry Reid Changes the Rules

By on 11.21.13 | 1:49PM

Today Majority Leader Reid pushed the Senate to eliminate filibusters on judicial and cabinet-level appointments. Reid offered for a vote the rule of the chair which would have preserved the right to filibuster these nominees. The Senate voted it down in a 48-52 vote, thus implementing the so-called “nuclear option." All Democratic senators voted “nay” on maintaining the rules, with the exception of Senators Pryor (Ark.), Manchin (W.V.), and Levin (Mich.).