The other filibusters you didn't hear about
by David Atkins
Thirteen hours after it began, the talking filibuster initiated by Rand Paul is over. It was a classic filibuster done the way it should be done, if the filibuster is to exist at all. Moreover, it was on an issue that does deserve further scrutiny on both left and right.
But what you may not have heard about is the other, quieter filibusters. From Steve Benen:
This morning, Senate Republicans filibustered a qualified judicial nominee, basically because the NRA told them to. Last month, for the first time in American history, a cabinet nominee was denied an up-or-down vote due to a Republican filibuster. Last week, a judicial nominee recommended -- by the GOP and facing zero opposition -- was forced to wait 263 days for a confirmation vote, during which time he faced Republican filibusters. Republicans also vowed last month to use filibusters to stop the Obama administration from enforcing the law as it relates to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and to stop the president's nominee to lead the ATF.The Lucy-snatching-the-football-from-Charlie-Brown moment has to go to Dick Durbin, who actually said this:
And today, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and some of his friends are on the Senate floor, launching what is effectively an old-school, speak-for-hours filibuster, blocking John Brennan's nomination to head the CIA.
"I hate to suggest this, but if this is an indication of where we're headed, we need to revisit the rules again," the Illinois Democrat said. "We need to go back to it again. I'm sorry to say it because I was hopeful that a bipartisan approach to dealing with these issues would work."The progressives are always right. The bipartisan fetish centrists are always wrong. It would be nice if they handed over the steering wheel from time to time. Merkley and the Senate reformers aren't going away quietly:
In an interview on Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), the author of a proposal to place more of the burden of sustaining a filibuster on the minority party, including forcing filibustering senators to speak on the floor, echoed remarks by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) earlier in the day about the need to revisit filibuster reform.Every filibuster should look like Rand Paul's filibuster. Or they shouldn't happen at all.
“Senate Republicans have demonstrated that they have absolutely no intention of ending their assault on the ability of the U.S. Senate to function,” Merkley told TPM, saying he had hoped the bipartisan rules change would ease gridlock. “Many of my colleagues are absolutely beside themselves with frustration, and that frustration is rapidly turning to fury.”