The Filibuster and "The Fermata"
January 22, 2013
Why time has stopped in the Senate, and why the filibuster will likely survive.
Welcome to Another Golden Era of Liberal Senators
January 08, 2013
The liberal bloc of the Senate today is up there with the early 1960s and mid-'70s.
The Sort-Of Demise of Sort-Of Senate Reform
January 24, 2011
Yes, it looks like Senate reformers are going to settle for, at best, a few crumbs. This is not a big deal. First, any reform, including moving to a pure majority-party-rules Senate, would not have made much of a difference as far as legislation is concerned in this Congress. There’s very little that could get 51 votes in the Senate, 218 in the House, and the president’s signature and not get 60 in the Senate. Reform could make a bit more difference on nominations, but the actual proposals involved were unlikely to get there.
Will Senate Reform Happen?
December 23, 2010
One little-known fact about the filibuster is that it no longer requires the minority to hold the floor and make long speeches. It actually requires the supermajority to assemble and hold the floor to break it. Here's some good news.
It's Time for Harry Reid to Nuke the Senate
December 02, 2010
Greg Sargent has been reporting today about Jeff Merkley's new filibuster reform plan; in an update, Sargent writes about the question of how many votes it would take to change Senate rules (see here for my reaction to the substance of Merkley's proposal).
Packer On The Broken Senate
August 03, 2010
In George Packer's excellent New Yorker piece about the Senate's dysfunction, Lamar Alexander is quoted at the end offering a rebuttal: None of the Republicans I spoke to agreed with the contention that the Senate is “broken.” Alexander claimed that he and other Republicans were exercising the moderating, thoughtful influence on legislation that the founders wanted in the Senate. “The Senate wasn’t created to be efficient,” he argued.
The talks over the Senate energy/climate bill are still very, very fluid. A whole lot could change in the next ten days as Harry Reid's office tries to cut and paste from different pieces of legislation and assemble something that can garner 60 votes. But, right now, the odds look pretty bleak that a cap-and-trade system will make it into the final bill. Which raises the obvious question: If there's no cap on carbon, what else is there?