Ragin’ Reid

Senate rules are not quite as difficult to understand as quantum mechanics, but they come close. So I’m going to have to send you to Alexander Bolton at The Hill for an explanation of Harry Reid’s “nuclear” maneuver last night:

The Democratic leader had become fed up with Republican demands for votes on motions to suspend the rules after the Senate had voted to limit debate earlier in the day.

McConnell had threatened such a motion to force a vote on the original version of President Obama’s jobs package, which many Democrats don’t like because it would limit tax deductions for families earning over $250,000. The jobs package would have been considered as an amendment.

McConnell wanted to embarrass the president by demonstrating how few Democrats are willing to support his jobs plan as first drafted. (Senate Democrats have since rewritten the jobs package to pay for its stimulus provisions with a 5.6 surtax on income over $1 million.)

Reid’s move strips the minority of the power of forcing politically-charged procedural votes after the Senate has voted to cut off a potential filibuster and move to a final vote, which the Senate did on the China measure Tuesday morning, 62-38.

Ryan Grim and Michael McAuliffe at Huffington Post provide more detail.

The usual candyass rightie bloggers are screaming about “tyranny” this morning. How dare the Senate Majority Leaders use a parliamentary procedure to block Republicans from playing stupid political games with important legislation? Well, that’s not how they put it, but that’s what it is.

And Steve M writes,

It seems that the Republicans either got lazy or sloppy, and left the door open for Reid to throw some serious jujitsu. Now, what this means is that one of the byzantine filibuster options available to the Republicans is going to go away. If that happens, all of a sudden things get very, very interesting.

So here’s what I want to know: is Reid really going to do this, or is he finally playing cards he has left in order to win concessions from Orange Julius and the House? Let’s not forget that Republicans immediately reneged on the deal reached after the debt ceiling fight and tried to shut down the government a few weeks ago. If this is Harry Reid’s payback, then I hope he’s at least getting passage of the American Jobs Act out of the deal at the bare minimum.

President Obama made it clear yesterday that he’s not going to let Republicans obstruct important legislation without paying a political price. Steve Benen writes,

In other words, if Republicans kill the legislation, Dems will then press GOP members to start also killing its component parts, one at a time. It’s one thing to reject a package deal; it’s more striking to force Republicans to vote against popular ideas, over and over again — no to infrastructure investments, no to small business tax cuts, no to saving teachers’ jobs, no to the jobs-for-veterans tax break, etc.

See also mistermix.

6 thoughts on “Ragin’ Reid

  1. It’s a good thing David Broder never lived to see this day!

    Imagine his column, the shrieking, wailing, crying, hysterics, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments, and tearing at the hair, about how uncivil Harry Reid was to that nice Mitch “Yertle, the Anti-gay Gay Turtle” McConnell?
    Where’s the bipartisanship?
    Where’s the compromise?
    Oh, those nefarious Democrats.
    And I’m sure his column would have ended with how the Democrats just fired the first shot at Fort Senate in the ‘War of Civil Manners!”

    Good, Harry!
    Put the public on notice so they finally understand where Republicans stand:
    For the rich
    Against the working people
    For their Party
    Against their country

    Rinse and repeat DAILY!!!

  2. Just read some of the comments on that The Hill article …. man, THAT was a mistake … I feel like I’m taking crazy pills! This only applies to a piece of legislation that has ALREADY been debated, ALREADY had various amendments discussed and voted on, ALREADY passed a vote to kill any potential filibuster, and is SUPPOSED to be in the final stage where they are moving to have the FINAL vote. The ONLY thing this rule change does is make it so that you can’t request to just say screw thew rules, let’s suspend them and get back to screwing around with stupid congress tricks…. And the request type that just got barred is one that hasn’t actually been GRANTED since the 1940s, meaning the ONLY purpose it has served for 70 years is to delay passage and tie the senate up in further knots.

    It is NOT the nuclear option. The “nuclear option” was to eliminate the filibuster entirely. This does NOTHING to the filibuster, all this does is remove an avenue that serves no real productive purposebut has been MIS-used for decades to kind of act like a mini-filibuster, after the real filibuster has already failed.

    And yet they’re talking in the comments of that article as if Reid HAD just entirely eliminated the filibuster….

    I really don’t understand people………


  3. “I really don’t understand people….”
    Ian,at 57,I too don’t understand the thought process of most people.
    I recall an episode of “Family Guy” in which Lois was running for office.
    She found that the masses want sound bites and slogans.
    “God bless America!” is a favorite, the truth will cause anger.

    I’m in Salt Lake where there is a demonstration against Wall Street going on.
    This place is quite beautiful, and far more Liberal than I expected.
    Lots of ex-pat So.Cal libs here.

  4. I’m fine with them doing this of course, but do keep in mind that the big deal is the process that was used to “override” the rule, not the rule itself (which was indeed quite trivial). The big question is “why now”? This more or less puts the “nuclear option” on the table since this is the same process that would have been used for that.
    Given that odds are that republicans will take the majority in the senate in the next cycle given the seat distribution, it would pretty much set them up to use this new “tool” to effectively banish minority rights. If they did it a year or two ago, that’d have made much more sense.

  5. “Given that odds are that republicans will take the majority in the senate in the next cycle given the seat distribution, ”

    I hear what you are saying, but the very best way to keep this from happening is 1) fight voter suppression laws in your state 2) canvass 3) vote.

    Good turnout = more democrats, every time.

  6. I don’t know what the significance of Reid’s maneuver was or is, but if it got McConnell’s bowels in a knot than I have to applaud it. Poor Mitch will now have to retreat into his web of deceits to hatch a new plan of attack to take down the Kenyan usurper’s jobs bill. No rest for the wicked?

    I’m hoping that Rick Perry can get a weekend of relaxation from the stresses of the campaign trail.. Maybe a relaxing weekend at Niggerhead doing some plinking or possibly hunting some wild boar..

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