Harkin looking for allies to change filibuster rules

Senator Tom Harkin's commitment to end the abuse of the filibuster hasn't waned just because Democrats managed to find 60 votes to pass health insurance reform. Harkin discussed the current dysfunction in the Senate with Ezra Klein:

In the past, we've always had one or two or three senators who would try to block something. The most famous was Jesse Helms. He could tie people up in a conniption. But the thing is, when he went too far, his leader, Bob Dole, wouldn't put up with it. Neither would Trent Lott. And later on, even Bill Frist. You allow him to do so much, and after awhile, you say, that's enough.

Now we have more of the Jesse Helms. The Vitters and DeMint and Coburn, and maybe throw in Inhofe and a couple other newcomers, and they now run the minority. You don't have a minority leader putting them in check, saying we have to work together. Dole would never put up with what's going on over there. Neither would Trent Lott. We've had 101 objections from Republicans to proceeding. [...]

You're supposed to filibuster something that is a deep seated issue. But in September, we had an extension on unemployment insurance. We had a filibuster that lasted over three weeks. They held up everything. And in the end, the vote was 97 to one. Filibusters are no longer used to debate something, but to stop everything. [...]

The idea is to give some time for extended debate but eventually allow a majority to work its will. I do believe there's some reason to have extended debate. If a group of senators filibusters a bill, you want to take their worries seriously. Make sure you're not missing something. My proposal will do that. It says that on the first vote, you need 60. Then you have to wait two days, and on the third day, you need 57 votes. And then you need to wait two days, and on the third day, it's 54 votes. And then you'd wait another two days, and on the third day, it would be 51 votes.

Harkin told Klein he will start looking for co-sponsors for this measure next month. Freshman Senator Jeff Merkley presumably will be an ally, as he has advocated reform of Senate procedures. Unfortuantely, Harkin is likely to run up against stiff resistance, and not only from Republicans. The de facto supermajority requirement for conducting Senate business empowers corporate hacks like Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln and Evan Bayh, who caucus with Democrats but don't support most of the progressive agenda.

Tags: Congress, Filibuster, Senate, Tom Harkin (all tags)

Comments

27 Comments

then President Clinton also opposed it

just sayin'. It wasn't "stopped" it was voted on and defeated.

by ND22 2009-12-26 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Daschle was the new majority leader

Yes or no Ludwig, was it voted on?

If you are going to be here you could at least, you know, participate in discussion instead of just ignoring everything but your own views.

by JDF 2009-12-26 01:26PM | 0 recs
I think his point is

that Daschle should have gotten his caucus behind the filibuster reform. We had Clinton then to veto the worst of the worst, although the beltway consensus in early 1995 was that Clinton probably wouldn't be re-elected.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-26 01:55PM | 0 recs
Maybe so

but it's pretty irrelevant seeing as it still wouldn't have passed (all 53 Republicans voted no) and the genreal consensus at the time was that the Democrats would be shooting themselves in the foot with the idea.

by ND22 2009-12-26 02:41PM | 0 recs
Re: can you guys EVER disagree

ludwigvan... this is the kettle... you're black.

by FUJA 2009-12-26 07:25PM | 0 recs
Yeah nice try

in January 1995, Daschle was not majority leader, he was MINORITY leader

Bob Dole was Majority leader...remember that whole midterm election thing?

by ND22 2009-12-26 02:35PM | 0 recs
it didn't even get 20 votes

so clearly Daschle wasn't pushing his caucus to support it.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-26 02:54PM | 0 recs
of course not

a minority leader would be a complete moron to push his caucus to support eliminating or weakening the filibuster.

What's ironic is that the Republicans didn't support it, that would've been the perfect opportunity to marginalize Democrats.

by ND22 2009-12-26 02:57PM | 0 recs
Tom Harkin wasn't minority leader

by ND22 2009-12-26 06:26PM | 0 recs
Re: it didn't even get 20 votes

You are doing yeoman's work to respond to bullshit but frankly, here a) it is not like Clinton was different than Obama b) you are debating intellectual dishonest people because this is the same crew that will swear that Obama does not have a similar influence over Congress as they are now claim Clinton had and c) ultimately they are just trying to derail the point of your diary. Ignore them. Thanks for the diary. This is a topic that is becoming incredibility important as the Senate tries to exert itself over not just the Senate, but to control the House as well. Effectively surrendering the entire process to 4 plutocrats and an ineffective president.

by bruh3 2009-12-26 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: it didn't even get 20 votes

Who is saying Clinton had any sway over congress?  Show me.

by lojasmo 2009-12-26 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: it didn't even get 20 votes

debating intellectual dishonest people

Rich.

by lojasmo 2009-12-26 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: it didn't even get 20 votes

then President Clinton also opposed it (none / 0)

just sayin'. It wasn't "stopped" it was voted on and defeated.

by ND22 on Sat Dec 26, 2009 at 06:07:57 PM EST
[ Parent | Reply to This |   ]

Daschle was the new majority leader (none / 0)

It was his call

and he stopped it.

As I wrote before.

by ludwigvan on Sat Dec 26, 2009 at 06:17:08 PM EST
[ Parent | Reply to This |   ]

by bruh3 2009-12-26 04:23PM | 0 recs
Re: it didn't even get 20 votes

the intellectually honest would then ask "why is he mentioning clinton ?"

by bruh3 2009-12-26 04:24PM | 0 recs
Because

the PUMA troll wants to play a game of "Obama supports these people"

So I'm playing a game of "so did Hillary, so get off your high PUMA horse"

No, President Clinton had no sway over Congress, which should have taught us who think Obama would have a little bit of a lesson.

by ND22 2009-12-26 04:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Because

So you are basically playing games to win an argument by scoring emotional rather than factual points in a situation in which it is not particularly relevant.  

If this were the other persons diary, and they were comparing clinton to obama, your posts may have been important. In context,  they are not.

By the way, Clinton had to twist arms when he increased the top tax rates so your claim that he had no influence is inaccurate. Like Obama, he rarely used it and missed many opportunities to effectively use it because both have a need to please those who don't like them.

by bruh3 2009-12-26 04:56PM | 0 recs
Oh c'mon

you're smart enough to know this guy is not here to have a real discussion.

Yes, I'm playing games with trolls, because that's all they're good for, playing games.

by ND22 2009-12-26 06:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh c'mon

What I know is that your behavior is the same regardless of who is talking to you.

I also know that both of you are engaged in pointless discussion about whether Clinton or Obama is better when as I keep saying it is an irrelevant question.

You want to have a real discussion about this country. go visit the diary discussion over at Daily Kos (of all places) looking at Corporatism as discussed by Glenn Greenwald.

Because both Clinton and Obama are neoliberals, and that is about maintaining the status quo, there is practically no difference other than cosmetic between what I could expect from either of them.  

My guess is your are probably right that Clinton did not want to end the filibuster but my view is that is like arguing over how many angels you can fit on the head of a pin or if no one is around can you hear a tree fall in the woods. Who cares.

My main issues like reforming the filibuster is lost because you are worrying over particular presidential personalities. As I keep saying, the only reason I care bout Obmat at all is because he is one of the 3 branches of government and presidents are expected to set agenda. If had been clinton in the role, I would be holding her feet to the fire. If it had been Edwards, the same thing.

The fundamental difference between myself and you two is that I don't give a shit who is in the office other than whether they are going to move our system from creeping corporatism back toward the comrpromise first set forth by FDR about the place of government and the markets. For example, a restoration of the separation of commercial and investment banking would be a great thing although the president is blocking such efforts through Geithner.

by bruh3 2009-12-26 06:30PM | 0 recs
Do you, like, ever make sense?

by ND22 2009-12-26 08:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Do you, like, ever make sense?

That's funny given the exchange between you and other poster along this thread.

by bruh3 2009-12-26 10:19PM | 0 recs
praise bruh?!?!

yeah, ok, that'll be the day.

by ND22 2009-12-27 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Oh c'mon

And by the way, the other element that blocks such legislation is that we need 60 votes for everything. That should change so that more real reform can happen.

by bruh3 2009-12-26 06:31PM | 0 recs
Take a valium dude

by ND22 2009-12-26 06:21PM | 0 recs
Lieberman, Lincoln and Bayh can't stop Harkin bill

According to this article; http://writ.corporate.findlaw.com/amar/2 0030627.html a change to the filibuster rule requires a super-majority of 67 votes, (Rule XXII) and thus could easily be stopped by Republicans without any help from Blue Dogs or Connecticut traitors.

However, a change to Rule XXII requires only a simply majority, so Lieberman and the likes of him would be powerless to block the rule change.

So, here is where we stand.  

1) We can't even begin to address climate change unless we change the filibuster rule.

2)  If we don't address climate change strongly and quickly enough, our children, grandchildren and generations beyond won't have a future worth having.

3)  The rule needs to change, and the faster the better.

by Georgeo57 2009-12-26 11:14PM | 0 recs
Re: The Filibuster's Untold Story

If we had a way to only stop the Filibusters we hate..... because there's been lots of filibusters we loved.

FILIBUSTER THREAT PROTECTED CONSUMERS FOR YEARS: In recent years, Sen. Paul Wellstone led filibusters and filibuster threats against the credit-card industry-written bankruptcy bill, delaying this anti-consumer legislation for almost 8 years.

FILIBUSTERING TO STOP THE VIETNAM WAR: In 1970, two senators, Mike Gravel and William Fulbright, filibustered against all military authorizations and appropriations, hoping to force a debate on a resolution to end the Vietnam War. [Source: Sen. Mike Gravel]

THREAT OF FILIBUSTER TO HELP FARMERS: In 1985, farm-state legislators used the filibuster to try to force Congress to address a major crisis in which thousands of farmers were on the brink of bankruptcy. [Source: Washington Post, 2/20/85]

THREAT OF FILIBUSTER TO STOP EGREGIOUS TAX BREAKS TO OIL INDUSTRY: In 1981, Senators Howard Metzenbaum and Edward Kennedy threatened to use a filibuster legislation that to give wealthy oil companies a series of massive tax breaks. [Source: National Journal, 8/15/81]

FILIBUSTER THREAT TO STOP ENERGY DEREGULATION: In 1981, Senators threatened to filibuster radical legislation to deregulate the nation's natural gas industry - a filibuster clearly ahead of its time, considering the recent energy crises. [Source: AP, 3/11/81]

FILIBUSTER PREVENTED PRESIDENTIAL POWER GRAB: In 1985, UPI reported that President Reagan "request to be granted authority to veto individual items in overall spending bills, the so-called line-item veto." This presidential power grab was successfully filibustered, protecting the 200 year history of checks and balances. [Source: UPI, 8/5/85]

FILIBUSTER PROTECTED WORKERS: In 1995, CongressDaily reported Senators "successfully filibustered the FY95 rescissions bill, which included language to overturn President Clinton's order that prohibited federal contractors from hiring permanent striker replacements." Clinton's order was considered an important way to preserve workers' rights. [Source: CongressDaily, 9/18/95]

http://www.davidsirota.com/2005/04/filib usters-untold-story.html
by QTG 2009-12-27 04:07AM | 0 recs
hmm, wonder what Sirota thinks about that now?

by ND22 2009-12-27 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Harkin looking for allies

This is a bad idea.  When the pendulum turns, and it always does, we will be glad the filibuster is in place to protect us from right-wing insanity.

by alhill 2009-12-29 07:45AM | 0 recs

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