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McConnell Brags About Filibuster ‘Reform’ Bill

From DonkeyHotey at Flikr

From DonkeyHotey at Flikr

As reported by my colleague, Nathaniel Downes here at Addicting Infothe Senate passed a filibuster reform bill last Thursday receiving mixed reviews by both conservatives and progressives alike. According to The Heritage Foundation:

Reid envisions a Senate that procedurally mirrors the House of Representatives, not the Senatorial saucer where legislation is poured from the House to cool, as the Founders intended.

How is it that the Heritage Foundation knows the intentions of our Founders, especially since the word filibuster does not even appear in our Constitution? Answer: They couldn’t know, and they don’t! In fact, the filibuster remained nothing more than a theoretical notion until 1830, when it was first introduced into the legislative body.

Alternatively, progressives hoping to end what they perceived as an abuse of the procedural tool seem just as dismayed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), after several weeks of threatening filibuster reform while conveying he had the essential votes to pass a bill providing such serious reform, decided to compromise with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) instead. While the compromise provides change to the way measures are considered within the legislative body while expediting consideration of judicial nominees, the Bill falls short of what many progressives had hoped for. Ezra Klein, from the Washington Post reports:

But for now, Republicans have little to fear. The filibuster is safe. Even filibusters against the motion to proceed are safe. And filibuster reformers have lost once again.

So what happened? After hearing Senator Reid rant for several weeks about how things needed to change in the Senate–even going so far as to threaten the Republicans in the Senate with the “nuclear option“–why is it that the majority of the procedure remains intact? Senator Reid provided the following explanation to Klein:

I’m not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold.” He continued: “With the history of the Senate, we have to understand the Senate isn’t and shouldn’t be like the House. [sic]

Unfortunately, Reid’s explanation did not squelch criticism from progressive talking heads in the media such as Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, and a host of others. Below is perhaps one of the more emotional responses to Reid’s compromise with McConnell provided by Ed Schultz, host of The Ed Show on MSNBC:

One man, however, is extremely happy with the outcome of this compromise, so much so, that he had his Campaign Manager, Jesse Benton, fire out a smug email to supporters shortly after the measure passed early Thursday morning. His name? Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY).


The email–with the salutation “Dear Patriot”–has as its subject line “We Beat the Liberals” (emphasis McConnell’s). Despite the Senator’s victory, he apparently had a need to engage in hyperbole when attempting to describe precisely what progressives were seeking in this dispute: 

A group of the Senate’s most liberal Senators, fueled by left-wing groups like Move On, have been pushing a dangerous scheme to change the rules of the United States Senate and fundamentally alter the checks and balances of our system.

You see, they had been pushing a plan to end the filibuster, allowing Harry Reid and the Obama Democrats to pass their agenda with a simple majority.

Well, Mitch McConnell stood strong and stopped that scheme dead in its tracks.

But perhaps most telling about McConnell’s intentions are conveyed by Benton when he made this statement:

I am just a grassroots campaigner, so I am no expert on the finer points of Senate parliamentary procedure, but I can tell you this: bottom line, Mitch McConnell saved the ability of Republicans to filibuster any bill at 60 votes. Period.

You can read the entire email sent by McConnell’s campaign manager here.

So let me ask you, the reader: Did real reform take place with this compromise? Or, do you echo Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-IOWA) sentiment when, expressing dismay at the reached “compromise,” he said “the President may as well take a four-year vacation” should real filibuster reform not take place? I truly do look forward to your respective opinions regarding the matter!




Dr. Bear is a political writer for Addicting Info and Voice 4 America. He also contributes to a blog; Blogging Blue. Dr. Bear works in the field of Social and Consumer Psychology. He holds degrees in Psychology and Theology. In addition, Dr. Bear works as a professional consultant assisting organizations in improving their respective organizational culture and employee performance. As a proud progressive, Dr. Bear and his wife Susan, reside in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and have been happily married for 29 years. He has a passion for reading, history, research, statistical analysis and writing. He also has a love for dogs and has a Schnauzer named Shadow. Dr. Bear invites you to follow him on Facebook or Twitter so you can read all of his contributions.

6 comments to McConnell Brags About Filibuster ‘Reform’ Bill

  • John Casper

    Thanks Mark.

    The “original intent,” was for the Senate to be “majority rules.” This makes it less expensive for monopolies and oligopolies to buy government.


  • Mark Bear

    Good morning Folks,

    As you can see, I have provided a few newer things in my article in order to enhance the reading experience. It is my deepest hope that this provides each of you with a better experience. In addition, and I think nonquixote will be the most thrilled, the length of my article has been shortened too. I have purposefully done so, taking under counsel nonquixote’s advice regarding length. I continue striving to make your experience better, and I hope each of you will feel led to get engaged in the dialogue. I am in no way perfect, and I readily admit I am a continual work in progress.

    Regarding the content of this particular piece, I want to be grossly specific: I am disillusioned with Harry Reid, and feel he had an opportunity (unless he was full of you know what when saying he had the votes), and basically stuck a knife in the President’s back! I wholeheartedly DO agree with the minority having a way of contesting specific legislation which counters their position,, however, what has taken place during this previous session has been an outright joke. And for Reid to trust McConnell, well, it just makes him look either completely idiotic in my opinion, or naive. We heard for weeks how he was going to push for reform, and then he compromises with the very man who made life hell on that side of the nation’s legislature. As Senator Harkin states, the President very well may go on vacation for four years! I cannot imagine anything of Democratic significance getting passed especially since McConnell’s campaign manager has bragged publicly indicating no bills will get passed without 60 votes. Period! Please provide your feedback! Thanks as always folks!



  • Mark Bear

    John Casper,

    Exactly! Please read above as I was posting when you made your comment! By the way, please feel free to provide feedback regarding the article’s appearance and layout. I am truly making every attempt to enhance everyone’s experience. Many thanks for following me!



    • John Casper

      Doc, no problem. Thought your post was very strong, concise and well-argued.

      FWIW, below is a link to a legal opinion, which is more cynical.

      “…….Obama formally nominated Richard Cordray for regular confirmation as head of the CFPB. It was a nice little ceremony carried on television and everything. And then Harry Reid, Carl Levin, Pat Leahy and the old school Senate Democrats went out and killed every possible ability for Obama to actually get Cordray through the Senate Republican filibuster gauntlet when they refused to meaningfully reform the filibuster (see: here and here).

      Actions have consequences, and so do crustacean like inaction and fear as exhibited by the Old School Dems and the White House. You think the Senate No Men led by Mitch McConnell were obstructive of the CFPB and NLRB before? Just wait until now when they smell the agencies’ blood in the water…..”


      I support “OCCUPY,” because I see it as the only national alternative to Dems who appear only too happy to rake in donations from the 1% in return for governing a millimeter to the left of wingnuts.


  • nonquixote

    Title of your piece: Something I was well aware of. (Others may not have been)

    Characters: Nothing from the Heritage Foundation or its affiliates is to be believed and neither Rachel Maddow nor Ed Schultz are progressives in any sense of the word. Corporate shills happy in their careers and with their paychecks and personal access to the PTB to a limited extent based on popularity contest notoriety.

    Concluding paragraph: Just tell us your opinion. John Casper was correct with strong and concise, but well argued must have simply have meant offering equal information both for or against a premise, as Mark, you didn’t state a conclusion based on the arguments you presented. If you don’t have one, what’s your point? If we respond to your concluding questions posed, should we not be getting monetary compensation for being test subjects in what appears to be nothing more than a contrived analytical tool that you could conceivable be using for data collection for theological social or consumer psychological studies?


  • Mark Bear


    Trust me: YOU don’t want my opinion!



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