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Quote du Jour – Debt Ceiling Filibuster

“We’ve had not one minute of debate about the debt ceiling in any committee. We haven’t had a budget in two years. We haven’t had an appropriations bill in two years. So I’m part of the freshmen group in the Senate that’s saying, ‘no more.'”

“Next week, we will filibuster until we talk about the debt ceiling, until we talk about proposals.”

– Rand Paul (R – KY)

So next week is going to have a new reason to watch C-Span 2. Can’t wait.

No one deserves “Quote of the Day” recognition more than Bernie Sanders:

I watched a lot of the 8 1/2 hours that Bernie lectured the Senate in his epic “filibuster” on the proposed tax cut extension. Here is a really precise quote:

“But it is not just a disastrous trade policy that has brought us where we are today. The immediate cause of this crisis, and it gets me just sick talking about it … is what the crooks on Wall Street have done to the American people.”

– Senator Bernie Sanders (D – Vermont)

Whether his long speech will make a difference we will have to wait and see on Monday when the proposal comes up in the Senate. I hope people have called and emailed their Senators supporting Bernie’s position.

Quote for the Day – Heard this from our President:

“I will say that the damage that the filibuster I think has done to the workings of our democracy are at this point pretty profound. The rate at which it’s used just to delay and obstruct is unprecedented…

If we do not fix how the filibuster is used in the Senate, then it is going to be very difficult for us over the long term to compete in a very fast moving global environment.”

President Barack Obama

He also brought this up on Jon Stewart‘s show last night (if you missed it, they rerun it a couple of times a day starting at 10:00 AM on Comedy Central – neat interview). Harry Reid brought this up in his interview with Rachel Maddow as well. Instead of calling it a Filibuster (or referring to it as “needing 60 votes”), I’m going to start calling it the Mitch McConnell Muck.

Sorry, Senator Dorgan… No Cloture on Overseas Business Bill

Requiring a 60 vote plurality to avoid filibuster on the Senate bill S.3816 to tax overseas investments to keep jobs from being taken away from our shores (see yesterday’s post “Why it’s important that we get behind Senator Byron Dorgan…“), the opportunity to correct a real problem was killed by a when only 53 Senators voted for Cloture. This fell seven votes short of allowing the bill to even be discussed by the Senate.

Along with the Republicans who all voted this out was that traitor to the Middle Class  Joe Lieberman (Asshole – CT) who is, hopefully, going to be retired at the end of his term. A vote against this bill really indicates who may be in the pockets of big corporations that refuse to pay taxes to the country they made their mark in as they give 50¢ an hour jobs to Mexicans and the Chinese. I’m beginning to think that some of the Teaparty complaints may have some validity (it’s too bad they are so stupid about so many other things.)


Note: It has just been announced that former President Jimmy Carter has been hospitalized in Cleveland, OH. The former President has been on a book tour where he has been making three or more appearances a day… possibly draining on an 86-year-old.

We wish President Carter our best and hope he is back out on the tour soon.

Josh Marshall tells us “Why It’s All Up to the Prez Now”

John Boehner

John Boehner

Here’s the beginning of an article in today’s Talking Points Memo. Please go in and read it all:
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Political campaigns often include inflection points where key decisions on each side, taken over a short period of time, can have a vast effect on the outcome of the election. This looks like one of those moments. Despite being in the House leadership for over a decade, John Boehner‘s performance yesterday on Face the Nation showed he’s still out of his league as a party leader on the big stage. Boehner gave the president and the Democrats a big opening by conceding that he’d vote for an extension of only those tax cuts on incomes under $250,000 a year.
But the first response from the Senate Democratic leadership we’ve heard is that, in their view, Boehner’s concession is not particularly relevant since the real fight is in the Senate, and turns on whether the Democrats can overcome a Republican filibuster.
Legislation and politics aren’t two separate worlds. Each feeds off each other,…

any inability to grasp this can and usually is fatal.
Read MORE.
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Filibuster Number Three

For the third time, the Republicans in the Senate have Filibustered the opportunity to get the new Wall Street reform bill debated.

Harry Reid, commenting on today’s Republican stonewalling:

“All the talk by Republicans about wanting to do something about this bill before it gets on the floor is really anti-Senate, anti-American. It appears they’re more concerned about taking care of the fat cats on Wall Street.”

Commenting on the situation, Senator Claire McCaskill, outlined what the Democratic strategy would likely be to get debate to the floor:

“I think we’re going to go all night. I think we’ve made the decision that this is important enough that we’re going to stay up through the night and ask continually the Republicans to allow us to debate this bill out and open in front of the public. We need transparency on Wall Street, we ought to start right here in Washington.”

So keep an eye on the Senate tonight (good night to flick back and forth to C-Span 2 to see who will give in.

This just in (6:06 PM):

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After Weeks Of Negotiating, Republicans Block Debate On Financial Reform Bill
Senate Republicans followed through on their threat today to block debate on a financial regulatory reform bill authored by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT). The final tally on the vote to break the filibuster was 57 to 41, with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) joining the Republicans, but failed to meet the 60 vote threshold required to end debate.
The move ratchets up a political food fight between Democrats and Republicans, with Dems on the offense, charging that the GOP’s decision to block progress on the legislation puts them on the side of Wall Street.
Majority Leader Harry Reid also voted no — a procedural move he had to make in order to bring the motion up again later.
Majority Leader Harry Reid said the vote “reveal[s] who believes we need to strengthen oversight of Wall Street, and who does not [and] force[s] each Senator to publicly proclaim whether party unity is more important than economic security.”
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Well… now we know who is siding with the Wall Street Pigs and who is working for the people.

Or perhaps you can look a it this way:

What kind of publicity is Senator Jim Bunning getting from both sides?

Subtitled “Set him on fire”, this citation by Ken Layne is drawing lots of attention on Wonkette. Take a look at the Chicago Trib article he links to as well.

Here it is:

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Get out the baseball bats, America.JIM BUNNING IS AMERICA’S BIGGEST ASSHOLE: “The federal government Monday began to furlough workers, jobless Americans faced disruption of their unemployment checks and health insurance, and doctors saw Medicare fees decline — all as a result of a one-man roadblock for a Senate spending bill.” [Chicago Tribune]
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UPDATE  (3/3/2010):

Bunning pulled back from his objection last night and the Jobs Bill got passed… thus ending a great waste for the American taxpayer.

F@#K The Filibuster

Rachel Maddow did a great summary of the recent history of the Filibuster and why it has to be taken on… NOW!

Excellent news: Dodd gives up on the GOP

… says Andrew Leonard in Salon.

And at the end of the piece he adds:
“If the Democrats want to have any chance of salvaging the midterm elections, they need to show voters that they are willing to fight.”

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A sign of backbone from Chris Dodd?

Congressional Quarterly reports:

Bipartisan negotiations over a financial regulatory overhaul are at an “impasse,” Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd said Friday, adding ” have instructed my staff to begin drafting legislation to present to the committee later this month.The Connecticut Democrat said in a statement that while the panel’s ranking Republican, Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, “assured me that he is still committed to finding a consensus … it is time to move the process forward.”

Translation: The Republicans are refusing to budge on their determination to block any meaningful reform. And why not? They’ve made the political calculation that preventing the Obama administration from governing is their best electoral strategy — and it’s been working like a charm.

Bipartisan consensus in this Congress is impossible. Now is the time to bring a solid bill to the floor, and force Republicans to filibuster.
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Looks like another vote for Reciprocal strategy.

Tom Harkin may turn to filibuster in January

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Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) told the Washington Post that he would introduce legislation to reform the filibuster in January.

I’m going to reintroduce that again in January. And people are going to say I only worry about this because I’m in the majority. But I come with clean hands! I started when I was in the minority! …

We’ve entered a new era here of outright stoppage at all costs. So that’s what I’m trying to address with this amendment. I doubt anything will happen. But at least we’ll start the process.

Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa told reporters this weekend that he might reintroduce legislation to end the filibuster, something he first proposed in 1994. The Hawk Eye reports:

“I think there’s a reason for slowing things down … and getting the public aware of what’s happening and maybe even to change public sentiment, but not to just absolutely stop something.”

When Harkin fought the filibuster 15 years ago, one of his top allies was none other than Joe Lieberman.

Too many things turn round and round.

John Cole at Balloon Juice sums up the Health Care Bill situation pretty well:

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Repeat After Me

They are never going to vote for any health care bill.

They are never going to vote for any health care bill.

They are never going to vote for any health care bill.

They are never going to vote for any health care bill:

Two key senators criticized the most recent healthcare compromise Sunday, saying the policies replacing the public option are still unacceptable.

Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) both said a Medicare “buy-in” option for those aged 55-64 was a deal breaker.

“I’m concerned that it’s the forerunner of single payer, the ultimate single-payer plan, maybe even more directly than the public option,” Nelson said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Lieberman said Democrats should stop looking for a public option “compromise” and simply scrap the idea altogether.

Lieberman and Nelson were two of the ten Senators who crafted the god damned compromise. They are now shitting all over the compromise THEY crafted and saying it is a non-starter.
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There’s more in John’s post, so read it all. And perhaps you’d like to send Harry Reid a note asking him why Holy Joe keeps his Committee Chair.

Here’s what to look forward to in the Senate…

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Guaranteed; Initial Senate Bill Will Not Have A Public Option
By Rob Kall (about the author)

It’s just about a 100% certainty that the draft of the senate bill that goes out to the floor for a vote, first facing filibuster, will not include the public option.

That way, Lieberman, Baucus and the gang of Republicrats will have no excuse help prevent the GOP filibuster. There may even be Republicans who go along, like Olympia Snowe. They will have been given cover, allowed to only vote on a bill that met the criteria they “so boldly” set.
Once the bill gets into conference, the house and senate can get together and add the public option and it will only take 51 senate votes to pass. They might even try to pull out the anti-abortion amendment, since so many of them Bluedogs who voted for the house anti-abortion amendment failed to vote for the reform bill. That’s far less likely.

The question is in the way Harry Reid handles this.
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I have a lot of confidence in Rob Kall and I think he is calling it right on this one. If we can get to the point where it is only a 51% vote this has a chance to become law… and it won’t get there if we end up in a filibuster.

What do you think?