ubikcan

September 20, 2007

Essential commentary on yesterday’s votes

Filed under: politics — ubikcan @ 10:33 am

Kagro X at Daily Kos provides some essential commentary on yesterday’s two votes.

Senator Jim Webb’s “dwell time” amendment failed yesterday by a vote of 56-44.

Yes, it failed by garnering 12 more yes votes than no votes.

By now, though, most of us are used to seeing this sort of thing. “Everyone knows” that it takes 60 votes to pass anything in the Senate. Because that’s how many votes it takes to invoke cloture, and cloture is how you break a filibuster. Right?

Sure.

But that ain’t what’s happening.

Explanation follows, and it’s not kind to Dems.

Instead, the reason the Webb amendment failed even though it got 56 votes was that Senators agreed by unanimous consent that the amendment should have to get 60 votes to pass, even without a filibuster.

But why would anyone agree to allow Republicans, who are already on pace to shatter all previous filibuster records, to stop an amendment this important and this sensible without even lifting a finger? And the question here is not just why anyone would allow it, but why everyone did. A single Senator could have put a stop to this simply by saying, “I object” when the unanimous consent request was made. Just one Senator.

Yet none did.

Not Harry Reid. Not Russ Feingold. Not Bernie Sanders.

Nobody.

Until recently, cloture votes were the easy way out of a filibuster. Forty-one Senators had only to make their protest last long enough to make it to the cloture vote, beat it, and then bask in their victory as the majority pulled the “defeated” legislation from the floor and slunk away. But believe it or not, Senate Democrats have found an easier way to do this, and begin slinking even earlier.

Bravo.

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