One of the questions that has arisen since Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)13% – with the help of all but three of his party’s senators – invoked the nuclear option to change the Senate’s rules (essentially eliminating the filibuster for nominations) is what the Senate minority (in this case, Republicans) can do about it.
There are a number of parliamentary maneuvers in the Senate rules that would allow the minority to make Reid’s majority pay a heavy price for his elimination of minority rights and the curtailment of debate in the country’s formerly most deliberative body. Those parliamentary rules allow even a minority to virtually shutdown the Senate.
Right now, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)94% is on the Senate floor making the case why his colleagues must stand up and fight against Obamacare. As principled conservatives, we know that the establishment is trying to undercut and marginalize Ted Cruz because they fear his strategy to defund Obamacare will work.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell today challenged his Democratic counterpart over his pledge to eliminate some filibusters, warning of unintended consequences.
The Kentucky Republican questioned recent statements by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) about plans to change the rules to eliminate filibusters of motions to proceed, which must be adopted for the Senate to take up bills. Reid said in a recent radio interview that he would push the rules change if he is still the Majority Leader in January. Currently, motions to proceed can be filibustered and 60 votes are needed to overcome that blockade.
Although the exchange lasted more than 20 minutes, the following clip of Senator McConnell explaining how a filibuster actually works is worth highlighting.
Americans understand the need for government accountability; after all, it is in our genes. Unfortunately, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) are negotiating a deal that would embrace a new era of czars and unaccountable government.
At the behest of their respective party leaders, they are trying to find a way around the unwise filibuster “reform” impasse that has stymied the Senate for most of January. That threat is now off the table, but as is typical for the Senate, another bad deal is in the works. According to numerous reports, the deal would reduce the number of presidential nominees subjected to the Senate’s rigorous confirmation process.
The Associated Press reported “officials said that 100 posts or more” could be exempted; the New York Times said the deal “would exempt hundreds” of nominees; and, Bloomberg suggested confirmable positions may be “cut by as much as a third.”
Later today, the weakened Democrat Senate will attempt to ram through a major rules change, which will empower a weakened majority and silence an empowered minority. After an electoral shellacking, Senate Democrats are looking to restructure the rules of the game to ensure they can continue business as usual – ignoring the will of the people and dismissing any and all conservative ideas.
According to Roll Call, the process used to change the rule will also stretch our space-time continuum:
Talk about your longest day. Under Democrats’ controversial plan to change Senate rules, the first day of the 112th Congress will last about two and a half weeks.
With Democrats in disarray but determined to change the chamber’s filibuster rules, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to use a procedural trick that will allow him to hold open the first legislative day of the session until the Senate returns from a two-week recess on Jan. 24.
The two-and-a-half-week “day” is intended to buy the party some time to come up with a rules change proposal they can actually get behind while simultaneously trying to avert a major partisan showdown. Republicans agree that Reid has the power to hold the legislative day open, noting their quarrel is really with what he will want to do when that day comes to an end.
During the past two years, Americans have become all too familiar with how Congress can use procedural gimmicks to subvert the will of the American people. Americans went to the polls in November to reject those procedural gimmicks. A 400-hour day makes for an inauspicious start.