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Direckshun 01-25-2013 11:32 AM

Filibuster reformed... more or less.
Pretty good run down by Ponnuru.

Relatively moderate, sensible stuff.

The shame of it, however, was failing to turn the filibuster back into the "talking" filibuster.

About that Filibuster Deal
By Ramesh Ponnuru
January 24, 2013 5:46 P.M.

Unsurprisingly, it contains some reductions in the power of the minority party. That was, after all, what the Democrats were after. Those reductions are real. Speeding up the calendar will make it possible for the majority party to get more legislation and nominations through. Some of the power of “holds” on nominees will be lost. A hold on a district-court nomination could lead to a 30-hour debate under the current rules but will now result in a 2-hour one. While the long-debate option was rarely used, the existence of the option probably discouraged the selection of envelope-pushing nominees.

Some of the criticisms of the deal are overblown. Take the claim that the amendment process it creates sells out backbench Republicans while creating “super senators.” Under the status quo, Harry Reid has been able to freeze out Republican amendments–be they from the leadership or from backbenchers. The deal guarantees at least two amendments for the minority. (The deal does not, contrary to some reporting, specify that the amendments would come from the minority leader or minority floor manager.) That’s a step forward for Republicans in this Senate compared to the previous two.

Left-wing groups seem to be genuinely appalled by this deal because it largely preserves the filibuster. They see it as the Democrats’ first failure of nerve in the second Obama term. Wait until they start counting the Democratic defectors on assault weapons.

Direckshun 01-25-2013 11:41 AM

Three Winners And Three Losers In Today’s Filibuster Deal
By Ian Millhiser
on Jan 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

The Huffington Post reports that Senate Leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reached a deal today to support minor — and in some cases, temporary — changes to the Senate Rules, rather than push through the more robust reforms championed by many Democratic senators. The language of the deal, which is divided into two separate resolutions, is available here and here.

The list of reforms is short and unlikely to fundamentally repair the broken Senate, but it does include some genuinely helpful reforms to the nominations process — in addition to a major concession to the Republican minority. Here are the three biggest winners and losers in this package:

  • Republicans: The package creates a new process that gives Republicans the ability to offer two amendments on any bill that cannot be blocked by the Majority Leader, although there is a process by which consensus bills can be streamlined if a substantial number of Republicans consent. More importantly, however, by not including any real limits on the minority’s power to force 60 vote majorities on nearly any bill or nomination, Republicans retain their veto power over matters they wish to block.
  • District Judges: Currently, Senate rules allow the minority to force up to 30 hours of wasted time before a single nominee can be confirmed. Because Senate floor time is limited, this leads to many confirmations being delayed for months or killed entirely simply because the Majority Leader cannot afford to budget the time to move the nomination forward. The proposal reduces the amount of time that can be wasted while confirming a federal trial judge to 2 hours, significantly reducing the time cost of such confirmations.
  • Sub-Cabinet Officials: Meanwhile, the 30 hours of wasted time on sub-cabinet officials’ confirmation votes is reduced to 8 hours.
  • Circuit Judges, Supreme Court Justices & Cabinet Officials: The senior most Senate-confirmed jobs — justices, court of appeals judges and the most powerful executive branch officials — are still subject to 30 hours of delay.
  • The Tea Party: The package reduces the number of opportunities to obstruct a bill that is supported by the Minority Leader and at least 7 Republicans, meaning that senators like Rand Paul (R-KY) or Mike Lee (R-UT) will have fewer chances to block progress on matters that everyone but a few Tea Party extremists support.
  • The Future: The most significant changes in this package — the reduced hours for nominees and the two free amendments for the minority — sunset in two years and thus will cease to exist in the 114th Congress unless reinstated.

FD 01-25-2013 11:52 AM

Not really filibuster reform, more like motion to proceed reform.

whoman69 01-25-2013 02:06 PM

More less than more

patteeu 01-25-2013 06:38 PM

Other than giving the minority slightly less reason to filibuster, I'm not sure why this should be called filibuster reform.

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