Filibuster Reform Coalition Creaking with a Week to Go

By: 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.


Ending the Filibuster: Strong Support Despite Lacking a Champion

By: Thursday January 13, 2011 3:15 pm

Even using just Quinnipiac’s numbers, I still find it impressive that there are almost as many people in the general public who support completely eliminating the filibuster and returning the Senate to majority rule as there are individuals who support the status quo. Totally ending the filibuster effectively lacks any even semi-prominent champion, outside a few bloggers.

Twenty-six Co-Sponsors for Senate Rules Reform; Ben Nelson Walks Back Opposition

By: 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.

Dems Decry Hostage-Taking – Is It Real Conviction or Convenient Rhetoric?

By: Wednesday December 15, 2010 1:45 pm

If Democrats actually feel they have something akin to a hostage crisis, they shouldn’t be paying ransom–this only encourages more hostage-taking in the future, with demands for even bigger ransoms. The proper response to a hostage crisis is to disarm the hostage takers. This is, in effect, what Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) push to end the current filibuster would do at the beginning of next year.

Democrats Set Date for Senate Rules Reform

By: Wednesday December 15, 2010 1:00 pm

Next year, at the beginning of the next Congress, the Senate has the opportunity to change its rules by a majority vote. Tom Udall has been pushing this all year; he calls it “the Constitutional option.” Udall would ask for a ruling from the chair, probably Joe Biden, to make a ruling on the ability of the Senate to change the rules. If Republicans object, Democrats will move to table their objection, and they only need 51 votes to uphold it. After that, the Senate can rewrite the rules.

Some old-line Democrats have been wary of this approach, but you get the sense that they are completely fed up with how the Senate operates. So they have set a date – January 5 – to attempt to change the rules.

Health Care Reform Reminder: Dems Could Still Pass Public Option Through Reconciliation

By: Tuesday December 7, 2010 12:15 pm

When health care reform was passed, we were told by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) it was only a “starter home” that would be improved later. We were also offered vague promises from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that we would get a vote on a public option in the months following the passage of the new law. Obviously this hasn’t happened.

But there is no reason why Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid couldn’t bring up the public option for an up or down vote next week.

Can Congress (Finally) Get Coal Mine Safety Right?

By: Monday July 12, 2010 6:30 pm

Tomorrow afternoon, Congress will once again take up new legislative proposals to improve coal mine safety. After decades of repeated mining disasters, countless unnecessary deaths and injuries, and continual demands for remedial action, can Congress finally get mining safety legislation right? The outward signs are not encouraging.

White House Botches State Aid For Teachers

By: Wednesday May 26, 2010 8:56 am

This administration has been through one budget cycle. Mistakes like this are either unconscionable or deliberate. The $500 million for border security attached to a National Guard presence gets tossed in at the last minute, and a teacher funding bill which has been on the priority list for two weeks gets scuttled amidst mixed messages. Can’t anyone here play this game?

Why Are Incumbents Faltering? Check Out The Election Night FinReg Massacre

By: Wednesday May 19, 2010 11:30 am

Yesterday’s results in the election showed what has now become conventional wisdom: an “anti-incumbent mood,” something the media will parrot from now to November. They can find the reason by looking no further than what they ignored during election coverage – last night’s debacle in the Senate on financial regulation reform.

Harkin Argues for Passing Reconciliation Bill Without Amendments; Hopes for Public Option Vote in Future

By: Wednesday March 24, 2010 2:59 pm

On a conference call sponsored by Families USA and HCAN, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) urged Democrats to pass the reconciliation bill of fixes to the health care law without any amendments or additions, so it can go directly to the President for his signature. When challenged on the likelihood of that happening, given the probability of small points of order from Republicans knocking out pieces of the bill, Harkin dismissed that as speculative.

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