When I first sat down in Sen. Jeff Merkley’s Washington office and asked about the #OccupyWallStreet protests, he immediately said, “Portland’s starting on Thursday!” I asked him if he’d go down to a protest? “It’s worth exploring. . . .The system is broken.”
|By: David Dayen Wednesday October 5, 2011 6:15 am|
|By: David Dayen Thursday September 15, 2011 9:45 am|
The attempt to meet looming deadlines and avoid shutdowns of part (or all) of the government resembles the aftermath of a car wreck right now. It’s unclear whether the Senate can move the broken-down vehicles off the road in time to let the traffic move through.
|By: David Dayen Thursday January 27, 2011 11:45 am|
Make no mistake – the Senate, and all its members, are getting precisely what they deserve. Any future whining about how difficult it is to break a filibuster will go in one ear and out the other. They had their chance to fix this, and they punted. I don’t believe Republicans will be as generous.
|By: David Dayen Monday January 24, 2011 6:05 am|
Paul Kane has a piece in Sunday’s Washington Post that seems to be the kind of take on the Senate rules reform fight you’d expect someone who hasn’t been following it at all and gets most of his information from lobbyists. He accepts the contributions of senior Senate aides that the effort led by some Democrats to change the Senate rules will fail because “party leaders want to protect the right of the Senate’s minority party to sometimes force a supermajority of 60 votes to approve legislation.” But of course, the rules changes on the table would still allow that right. This confusion may indeed sink the Merkley/Harkin/Udall effort, but it’s a willful confusion.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday January 19, 2011 8:40 am|
Sen. Jeff Merkley acknowledged that one component of the consensus plan on Senate rules reform put together by him, Tom Udall and Tom Harkin would probably get tweaked, and that the biggest concern for skittish Democratic lawmakers was changing the rules at all, lest they be changed on them when Republicans take over. Which is kind of an amazing commentary on the state of the Democratic Party, when you think about it.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday January 18, 2011 7:54 am|
A week from today, the Senate will reconvene, and the first item of business will be how to deal with the rules for the 112th Congress. Three Senators – Tom Udall, Jeff Merkley and Tom Harkin – will spearhead an effort to change the Senate rules that would attempt to achieve two goals – 1) make it faster to complete legislation and confirmations on which there is broad agreement, and 2) make it harder for obstructionists to carry out filibusters, or at least to make it opaque who is doing the filibustering and why.
|By: David Dayen Thursday January 13, 2011 6:08 am|
One of the things that maybe surprised everyone after the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords is the fact that the United States has not had a confirmed director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for four and a half years. Potential directors nominated by George Bush and Barack Obama alike, both of whom seemed to have the proper credentials for the job, were immediately opposed by the NRA. They objected to unbelievably minor transgressions on the part of the nominees, like revoking gun licenses of sellers who broke the law, and opposing giant .50 caliber bullets. And they were quickly able to find a US Senator to take up their cause and block confirmation.
|By: David Dayen Thursday January 6, 2011 6:00 pm|
Senators Tom Udall, Jeff Merkley and Tom Harkin have announced that their proposal for reforming the Senate rules now has 26 co-sponsors, all Democrats. But they represent a healthy ideological cross-section of the entire caucus.
Ben Nelson’s spokesman seriously walked back his opposition today.
|By: David Dayen Thursday January 6, 2011 2:35 pm|
It’s tempting to just laugh at the hapless Republicans who are flailing away at their initial promises, and to conclude that they don’t care about the deficit. This is all true, and they don’t. But that doesn’t mean they won’t engage in very consequential spending cuts.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday January 5, 2011 10:30 am|
Tom Udall has released the Senate rules reform package that he will introduce today for a vote, which he believes he can get passed with a simple majority. It includes most of the features that had been bandied about throughout the last couple weeks.