Robert Reich: Harry Reid may now be able to summon 51 votes to abolish the filibuster, at least for cabinet officials and other high-level policy makers. But that shouldn’t be considered a victory. It’s a sad commentary on where we’ve come to.
Carl Matthes: Since 1922, only 44 women have served as Senators. Today, in the United States Senate, the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” there are now twenty female Senators, the most ever serving at one time. While women total over 50% percent of the population, only 20% of Senators are female.
Joyce Appleby: Resistance to changing the pernicious rule that is stifling the will of the majority rests on a historical myth and both parties’ fear of being curtailed when they are in a minority.
Sherwood Ross: By now substantial majorities the American public, like their European cousins, want all their troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, yet their elected officials betray the sound instincts of their citizenry.
Rebecca Griffin: As we gear up to keep the pressure on following President Obama’s disappointing announcement of his plan for a modest withdrawal, we see once again how critical our congressional work has been.
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.”
It’s frightening to think that a judge you know next to nothing about but will vote for in November may ultimately find his way to the Supreme Court.
While this bill provides a strong starting point for Congress to honestly debate meaningful immigration reforms, many wonder whether obstructionists in Congress will continue to use immigration as a political piñata in the name of election politics or put partisanship aside and fix our broken immigration system.
Seth Hoy: Although the President has pledged his support for the DREAM Act, mounting GOP opposition will make it increasingly difficult for Sen. Harry Reid to find the 60 votes necessary for cloture on the amendment next week, assuming the Defense Authorization bill makes it through round one, the motion to proceed, next Tuesday.
Joel K. Goldstein: Critics ridiculed President Obama’s statement that judges should be empathetic. But as the Senate prepares to vote on the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, legal historian Joel Goldstein argues that senators should be looking for that very quality.
Richard M. Mathews: With the death of the public option in the Senate version of the health care reform bill, more attention is being paid to the budget reconciliation process. The House-Senate conference could bring back the public option, but a filibuster could still kill it. The reconciliation process would allow the bill to pass with a simple majority of 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.
But in considering what compromise measure Reid DID include in the bill to make it more acceptable to the right, and to attract votes that he isn’t going to get and doesn’t need, I am deeply disturbed by the way that we chose to identify this “trigger” as the deal-breaker at the expense of fighting something else which is indeed wholly unacceptable.
So it’s not just the senators’ credibility on the line if they fail to provide to all Americans a similar level of health care benefits that they themselves enjoy as senators. It’s the very democratic legitimacy of the body in which they serve.