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Filibuster Deal Not Looking Like Actual Reform

reid_mcconnell_dealThe New York Times calls it “Bipartisan” in their headline, which is predictably a harbinger of miniscule change:

The changes will surely disappoint reformers who were pushing for more sweeping revisions to rein in the filibuster, once a rarely used legislative tool. It will not include, for instance, a requirement that senators be present on the Senate floor when they want to block a bill from coming to a vote, continuing the practice of allowing them to filibuster in absentia. And opponents would still have the opportunity to filibuster a final vote on any legislation, thwarting its passage without 60 votes.

There are three major points to the “reform”:

  • The minority will no longer be able to filibuster a motion to proceed.
  • The minority will still be able to prevent a vote by refusing to end debate — and be able to do it without maintaining a cloture-proof presence in the Senate chamber.
  • Additional reforms focus on eliminating bill and nominee delays.

Sahil Kapur at TPM gets to the meat of the deal’s outcome:

The emerging accord is a major step away from the Merkley-Udall “talking filibuster” plan which would have required a filibustering minority to occupy the floor and speak ceaselessly until one side gives in. It’s also more modest than Reid’s middle-path proposal to McConnell, which would have shifted the burden from a majority seeking to advance legislation and nominations to a minority seeking to block them.

The major proponents of reform believe the Reid-McConnell deal under discussion would not make it easier to pass legislation, and believe the only meaningful upside is that it may speed up the confirmation of some judicial nominations.

Blogger BooMan is not impressed:

The filibuster deal that Jeremy Peters is reporting in the New York Times looks wholly inadequate. … What we need are rules that make it possible to filibuster, but so painful that it would only be done a few times a year, at most. It should be reserved for really big things, not be part of the everyday procedure of the Senate.

This deal doesn’t even come close to doing that. And it’s going to haunt Harry Reid for the next two years. just like his decision not to punish McConnell in 2011 has haunted him for the last years.

About dave-dr-gonzo

Dave "Doctor" Gonzo is a renegade record producer, writer, reformed corporate shill, and still-registered lobbyist for non-one-percenter performing artists and musicians. He lives in a heavily fortified compound in one of Manhattan's less trendy neighborhoods.

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