Filibuster Reform Dies a Quiet Death

Congress

Paul Hogarth: By a slim vote of 46-49 on Thursday, the U.S. Senate defeated a proposal by Jeff Merkley (D-OR) to actually require filibusters (as opposed to mere filibuster threats) before a 60-vote threshold is needed to end debate.

The Founders Cared about the Majority Principle

james madison

Joyce Appleby: Senators are pondering partial reform of the filibuster, which is now routinely used to block Senate action. Historian Joyce Appleby suggests that if they want to bring the Senate in line with the founders’ original intent they might follow the lead of the Tea Party and go back to the beginning. In its early decades the U.S. Senate operated on the simple majority principle: no supermajorities, no filibusters.

The Urgency of a Senate Rule Change

senate gridlock

Joyce Appleby: More than 300 historians, political scientists, and law profs from colleges and universities throughout the country have signed a petition calling upon their Senators “to restore majority rule to the United States Senate by revising the rules that now require the concurrence of 60 members before legislation can be brought to the floor.”

How’s Europe Doing?

Taksim Square

Steven Hill: When puzzled Europeans ask me to explain the American voter, the best metaphor I can give for understanding the American electorate right now is that of a coyote with its leg caught in a trap, suffering in pain, so now it is chewing off its own leg to get out of the trap.

Party Like It’s 1994

barack obama bill clinton

The vast majority of Americans never supported a “privatize-and-pillage” attack on Social Security. Yet many of the Republican candidates in 2010 are on record supporting all manner of schemes to dismember Social Security.

Repubs Winning, Dems Whining

tea party

Michael Sigman: The Right’s genius for manipulating people’s sense of grievance — combined with liberals’ weak brew of tepid policy proposals and corporate coziness — leads ordinary voters to cast their ballots against their own economic interests time and time again.

Republican Economics as Social Darwinism

john-boehner

Robert Reich: John Boehner, the Republican House leader who will become Speaker if Democrats lose control of the House in the upcoming midterms, recently offered his solution to the current economic crisis: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmer, liquidate real estate. It will purge the rottenness out of the system. People will work harder, lead a more moral life.”

It’s Time To Enact Health Care With 51 Senate Votes

GOP-empty-heads

Robert Reich: My free advice to the President: If you want to get healthcare enacted you must use reconciliation and quickly. Host your bipartisan gab fest at the White House on Thursday. Then tell the House and Senate to get to work on putting their bills together (or tell the House Dems to enact the Senate bill and then save their disagreements for reconciliation), and tell Harry Reid you want the Senate bill on a fast track of reconciliation.

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