After Hagel’s Ordeal, Why Would Anyone Want to Serve in Washington?

By: Friday February 22, 2013 10:53 am

Republicans have made the already idiotic and unpleasant process of “vetting” an executive appointee even worse and Senate Democrats let them. If you want an effective government you need qualified people to run it. The less appealing the job is made, the harder it will be to get good people to serve.


Appeals Court Nominee Goodwin Liu to Get Senate Vote

By: Wednesday May 18, 2011 6:12 am

This is a fairly astounding happening as Liu was first nominated to the 9th in February of 2010, but the nomination died at the end of the 2010 session from lack of even an attempt to call for a floor vote. President Obama promptly renominated Liu, and he was again promptly reported out of the Judiciary Committee on a straight party line vote, but it appeared as if the nomination would be again be left to die a quiet death. Apparently not.

Abolish the Senate: Truly Radical, Yet Wholly Sensible Reform

By: Monday January 10, 2011 7:15 pm

While there seems to be some growing intellectual consensus in support of slightly reforming Senate rules to modestly reduce obstructionism, the idea of returning the Senate to its original intent of a majority rule chamber is still labeled too radical. In reality there is nothing radical about merely bringing back the original Senate rule that allows a simple majority to end debate. Actual radical reform would be completely eliminating the Senate and making the country a more egalitarian democracy, with the House as a unicameral legislature.

How Senate Rules Are Changed Is Much More Important Than What Changes Are Made Now

By: Thursday December 30, 2010 7:00 pm

If the rules are changed at the beginning of the next Congress, it will happen one of only two ways: either they will employ the “Constitutional option” using a simple majority or there will be a bipartisan compromise using a traditional two-thirds vote. Given how modest the changes being debated are, both potential paths might produce very similar changes this time, but which process is used could have a huge long-term impact.

Dear Congress, Almost No One Knows or Cares About Your Kabuki

By: Thursday December 23, 2010 7:20 pm

My advice to any political party is to focus the bulk of their energy on doing what ever possible, as quickly as possible, to deliver real improvements for the electorate. People pay attention to how the government is affecting their lives, not the show politicians put on for each other.

If Democrats had spent even half as much time on getting more people help with their health care as soon as possible as they did getting that “pretty” CBO score for their bill, I suspect they would have had a better showing last November.

Radical Conservatives Make Sure Government Isn’t the Solution

By: Thursday July 22, 2010 9:45 am

From endless Senate Republican filibusters to hysterical attacks on relatively low-level government employees, this is collective action to stop the government from working, and an attempt to drive competent individuals out of civil service.

Byrd Did Not Just Write the Book on Senate, He Rewrote Its Rules

By: Monday June 28, 2010 12:50 pm

Many reports on the late Robert Byrd’s long career as a US Senator are pointing out that Byrd literally wrote the book on Senate rules and history. And while it is true that Byrd did write the quintessential four-part history of the chamber, his real importance comes from the fact that it was Byrd himself who rewrote Senate rules and precedent.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Gregory Koger, Filibustering: A Political History of Obstruction in the House and Senate

By: Sunday June 6, 2010 2:00 pm

[Welcome author, Gregory Koger, Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Miami, and Host Jonathan Bernstein , A Plain Blog About Politics] [As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread.  - bev] Filibustering: A Political History of Obstruction in the House and Senate Sometimes, [...]

Hey, New York Times: Why Don’t You Tell the Senate to Just Pass the House Health Bill?

By: Friday February 26, 2010 4:33 pm

While it might be a “fact” that the House could pass the Senate bill unchanged, it is also a “fact” that the Senate could quickly pass the House bill unchanged. Maybe the reason the Senate is so dysfunctional is that major news organizations like the New York Times seem to ignore the simple facts about what the Senate can actually do, and, instead, lets senators get away with pretending there are no ways around their own made-up rules. The 60-vote threshold is not part of the Constitution, nor is it carved in stone. It can be changed. It should be changed.

Cloture Is Now Officially Meaningless

By: Saturday December 26, 2009 5:25 pm

Here are two pairs of numbers which look awfully similar. The cloture vote for the Senate health care bill: 60-39. The vote for final passage of the Senate health care bill: 60-39. Thanks to Democratic caucus members like Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu, the distinction between cloture and the bill itself has disappeared.

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