No Filibuster Reform This Year

Call it an unfortunate display of bi-partisanship, but Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell announced a five-point agreement on Senate rules reform.  And it didn’t include filibuster reform.

So much for trying to break through the logjam in Congress.

Instead what the Senators agreed to are less sweeping changes.  Among the agreed changes currently reported include limiting the ability of lawmakers to halt votes on bills and nominations through anonymous objections and ending the ability of senators to eat time by requiring the reading of lengthy amendments if they had been publicly available for sufficient time.  The Senate would also no longer require votes to confirm about 400 White House nominees, including midlevel positions.

According to reports, the compromise hinges on plans for Senate leaders to informally agree to allow Republicans the chance to offer more amendments to measures in return for a pledge not to block bills from coming to the floor.

But such a compromise begs the question of whether or not Senate Republicans can be trusted to keep their word.

That filibuster reform is dead is not really that surprising.  Enacting a true reform would have effectively ended the tyranny of the minority that’s driven Senate procedure as of late.  And while the 111th Congress saw plenty of bills die in the Senate that, under simple majority voting,  had the votes to pass but couldn’t beat a filibuster threat, clearly Reid and other Democrats were concerned that their status as the majority party may be about to change.

So, once again, when bold action was required the Senate decided to punt.

photo courtesy of steakpinball via Flickr

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Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey2 years ago

Harry Reid you made an epic mistake.

Ann G.
Ann G.4 years ago

"But such a compromise begs the question of whether or not Senate Republicans can be trusted to keep their word." If we are truly trying to promote a climate in which we can be bipartisan and fair, shouldn't we start with ourselves? Although I do think that Republicans are significantly worse in terms of calling Dems bad names, the pot shouldn't call the kettle black. We have, perhaps, reason to be suspicious of Republican promises- but then, they have reason to be suspicious of ours. We aren't perfect. What about if we mourned filibuster reform and at the same time celebrated this for the positive, though small, step that it is?

Lynn C.
Lynn C.4 years ago

Why am I not surprised..

John N.
John Nester4 years ago

Republicans can not be expected to keep their word. A mere nod of the head of one of their contributors is all it will take for this agreement to be worthless.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle4 years ago

Guess I'm naive, but I expected filibuster reform, REAL reform. Because we have a lot of work to do to get America back on the rails. Silly me.

Ralph R Sutton
Ralph R Sutton4 years ago

Did anyone truly expect filibuster reform? I certainly didn't. Democrats are once again giving up without a fight and that is their weakness and will be the reason they will find themselves on the short end of the stick after the 2012 election.

Mary L.
Mary L.4 years ago

It's absurd, and the Senate Democrats should all have their manhood questioned. Anonymous hold my rear end. Someone else knows and that's a town full of gossip.

If someone can put a hold on helping someone besides the rich, someone else can leak it to the Dubuque Telegraph Herald or the Kansas City Star or any other paper that isn't in Washington DC or New York, New York.

Hartson Doak
Hartson Doak4 years ago

OH? We didn't really expect that the corrupt Congress would really do anything to make it easier to run our government.

Sound Mind
Ronald E.4 years ago

Sure! Trust a politician to keep their word. In a pig's eye.

Joshua I.
Joshua I.4 years ago

As you see, they used good-sounding-words to win the election; but in reality, their cheater status-quo remains the same, when are you going to learn-? The events in Egypt is a prelude to the USA, so is that what it's going to take, or are you going to demand the change you voted for-?...