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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Who Could Have Foreseen It?

TPM: Banner Week for the Filibuster
We’ve been monitoring the collapse of January’s Senate rules reform agreement... mostly through the lens of presidential nominations. But this week brings... exciting new examples of its colossal failure.... [F]or instance... recent... must-pass legislation to avoid a government shutdown.... [S]ome Republicans weren’t allowed votes on their amendments. Then instead of accepting the fact that the bill has supermajority support, they wasted three legislative days [in] protest... [T]he filibuster reform flop is also partially to blame for the early demise of Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons ban.... One of the putative goals of the new rules was to limit the minority’s ability to filibuster what’s known as the motion to proceed -- to stop the minority from preventing the Senate from simply debating an issue. The compromise essentially gave the majority and minority leaders more control over that choke point, but didn’t eliminate it entirely. Then on Tuesday, Harry Reid said the A[ssault]W[eapons]B[an] couldn’t be included in the underlying bill because if it were it would succumb to a filibuster on the motion to proceed.
Republicans indulging in historically unprecedented abuse of the filibuster to obstruct popular commonsense Democratic policies promise to behave better if reforms to make them behave better are not enacted immediately break their promise and behave just as badly anyway? Who could have foreseen it?

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