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-   -   Why isn't the filibuster "nuclear option" just standard procedure now? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=881754)

KidCharlemagne 09-09-2019 04:44 PM

Why isn't the filibuster "nuclear option" just standard procedure now?
 
I'm looking for information here, not making an argument, but I figured this thread best go here.

The filibuster was originally just a loophole that ultimately became standard procedure. It went from being used rarely to common practice. It's so standard that most people seem to believe that 60 votes are a technical rather than practical requirement for a vote to pass the Senate.

The "nuclear option" has now been used by both parties. Why isn't this becoming the new standard? Fear that it won't ultmately hold up in court?

HurricaneDitka 09-09-2019 04:50 PM

The only thing left to "nuclear option" is the legislative filibuster, and both sides have been a bit gun-shy about forever ending a Senate minority's ability to stop legislation.

iiandyiiii 09-09-2019 04:58 PM

Getting rid of, or significantly modifying (e.g. requiring actual talking and endurance) the filibuster is inevitable, IMO. McConnell has proven there's pretty much zero consequences to violating "norms" of the Senate -- for example, blocking pretty much every single Obama nominee for anything.

HurricaneDitka 09-09-2019 05:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 21850294)
... blocking pretty much every single Obama nominee for anything.

That isn't accurate. Even before Harry Reid first used the "nuclear option":

It's a figment of overactive liberal imaginations that Senator McConnell was "blocking pretty much every single Obama nominee for anything" prior to the nuclear option.

iiandyiiii 09-09-2019 06:07 PM

A bit of hyperbole, perhaps, but McConnell has allowed roughly twice as many judicial nominees to be approved (or even considered!) under Trump than Obama, per year: https://www.vox.com/2018/12/27/18136...ublican-judges

In any case, this doesn't change my point at all -- there are no consequences for violating these norms, and McConnell has shown this again and again. There's no point in pretending that any remaining supposed "norms" will last long, and no point in pretending that this is anything other than a political knife fight. The Democrats should do anything they can get away with to get any advantage they can, since that's what the Republicans are doing.

iiandyiiii 09-09-2019 06:21 PM

The filibuster is much, much more useful to the Republican party than the Democratic party. Democrats have a lot more, and a lot bigger, legislative goals than the Republicans, in general. Keeping it helps the Republicans more than the Democrats.

HurricaneDitka 09-09-2019 07:10 PM

It's worth keeping in mind that the filibuster is also a significant obstacle in the path of Republicans repealing those more & bigger legislative goals.

Wesley Clark 09-09-2019 07:57 PM

The filibuster didn't really get used until 2007 when the democrats obtained control of the senate. Usage doubled.

https://images.theweek.com/sites/def...filibuster.jpg

Neither party wants to get rid of it, because the grip on power is fleeting and neither side wants to lose the ability to obstruct when they lose power in a few years. In the last 30 years we've gone from democratic control of both houses and the executive, to GOP control of it all, back to democratic control, then republican control of it all, and after 2020 we may be looking at democratic control of it all again.

And its a safe bet the GOP will regain control of it all within a few years of that. People don't seem to like one party in charge for too long, so they vote too much for the other side and then it all starts again.

iiandyiiii 09-09-2019 08:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wesley Clark (Post 21850567)
The filibuster didn't really get used until 2007 when the democrats obtained control of the senate. Usage doubled.

https://images.theweek.com/sites/def...filibuster.jpg

Neither party wants to get rid of it, because the grip on power is fleeting and neither side wants to lose the ability to obstruct when they lose power in a few years. In the last 30 years we've gone from democratic control of both houses and the executive, to GOP control of it all, back to democratic control, then republican control of it all, and after 2020 we may be looking at democratic control of it all again.

And its a safe bet the GOP will regain control of it all within a few years of that. People don't seem to like one party in charge for too long, so they vote too much for the other side and then it all starts again.

Probably. But a minimum wage hike will be awfully hard to repeal. Same goes for better health care. Maybe even universal background checks. Lots of stuff the Democrats want to do poll very, very popularly. Swing state Senators up for re-election aren't going to want to vote to repeal those things, in general. I think it would be dumb for the Democrats to waste an opportunity to get that stuff passed, should they get control of all three.

Hari Seldon 09-09-2019 08:38 PM

As far as I am aware, the "filibuster" rule is only that there is no limit on speechifying, but has somehow morphed to the point that all you have to do is announce that you are filibustering, not actually do it. So let them talk forever if that's what they want to do. They will do it less often.

What has really happened in my view is that the parties have now hardened their positions to the point that practically everything is a straight party line vote or nearly so. This never happened when I was growing up 70 years ago. I think the Newt and then the Tea party has brought this about. Even though Obamacare was essentially a Republican proposal to avoid universal medicare and Obama clearly thought it would get bipartisan approval, not one single Republican congressman or senator voted for it. This unanimity would have been unheard of in 1950.

KidCharlemagne 09-09-2019 09:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wesley Clark (Post 21850567)
The filibuster didn't really get used until 2007 when the democrats obtained control of the senate. Usage doubled.

https://images.theweek.com/sites/def...filibuster.jpg

Neither party wants to get rid of it, because the grip on power is fleeting and neither side wants to lose the ability to obstruct when they lose power in a few years. In the last 30 years we've gone from democratic control of both houses and the executive, to GOP control of it all, back to democratic control, then republican control of it all, and after 2020 we may be looking at democratic control of it all again.

And its a safe bet the GOP will regain control of it all within a few years of that. People don't seem to like one party in charge for too long, so they vote too much for the other side and then it all starts again.

McConnell is probably scared of opening that Pandora's Box because, like someone else already said, the filibuster benefits Republicans more than Democrats. I hope we take the Senate and nuke the shit out of every conceivable option.

septimus 09-10-2019 08:10 AM

Even if the D's get 50 Senate seats, will every single one of them vote to release the Senate from the iron fist of Moscow Mitch? I'm afraid not.

What I would propose, to give the D's cover, would be to
Preserve the filibuster concept (perhaps forcing 24 hour speeches with the R urinating in a cloakroom bucket as Strom Thurmond(?) did). BUT, the cloture requirement for this session only will be a simple majority instead of 60%.
Senators would be "on the honor system" to allow debate to proceed if they think there's an ounce of integrity in the opposition's objections.


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