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Tilting at Windmills

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December 17, 2009

NELSON PREPARED TO JOIN GOP FILIBUSTER.... Going into the week, Senate Democrats were still hoping to get support for health care reform from Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). After making some very painful concessions, Lieberman seemed happy.

Nelson, meanwhile, isn't willing to compromise, and is prepared to kill the entire year-long effort.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson -- the moderate Democrat whose opposition is holding up the Senate's health care bill -- says new language on abortion doesn't satisfy his concerns.

Nelson told KLIN radio in Lincoln, Nebraska, Thursday that an attempt at compromise doesn't get to the fundamental issue of barring federal funding for abortions.

Nelson says without further changes the compromise isn't sufficient.

Remember, literally one month ago today, CNN reported that Nelson was satisfied with the compromise language from the Senate Finance Committee. Now he's decided the Finance Committee compromise not only isn't good enough, but he's also prepared to kill health care reform over it.

What's more, let's also not forget that while Nelson isn't making any real effort to seek common ground, he's also rejecting compromises of compromises -- Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), another pro-life Dem, offered Nelson a new proposal with additional restrictions on federal financing of abortion. As of today, Nelson said the compromise on a compromise still isn't good enough, and he won't even let the Senate vote on the bill because of it.

And while we're at it, let's also not forget that just a few weeks ago, Nelson said he doesn't like the existing restrictions on abortion funding, but added, "If there's no public option, perhaps some of the [abortion] problem goes away." It suggested this wasn't the issue he was prepared to kill health care reform over. And now it is.

Indeed, as of today, Nelson sounded like he's giving up altogether. He said Democratic offers are "not enough," and suggested it might be time to go "back to the drawing board in some areas."

The hope was that Nelson would, when push came to shove, not want to be the one responsible for killing health care. But as the deadline approaches, the conservative Democrat no longer seems to care, putting this once-in-a-generation opportunity in peril.

Where does that leave us? Either a) someone can convince Nelson to change his mind; b) someone can convince Nelson to oppose the bill but let the Senate vote on it; or c) Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) breaks ranks.

If the Christmas deadline is going to be reached, one of these three will have to happen over the next 24 hours. If the bill is going to survive at all, one of these three will have to happen eventually or the entire initiative fails.

Steve Benen 2:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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Comments

Well, Nelson doesn't put me in a tolerant mood, so yes, I'll say it: his mother should have had one.

Posted by: rbe1 on December 17, 2009 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Perfect. Let him kill it. Then we can all blame him and his anti-abortion zealots.

Posted by: SW on December 17, 2009 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Keep calm -- healthcare resorm is going to pass.

Posted by: Ed Whitson on December 17, 2009 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Next, Lieberman will come forward saying he will "kill the bill" unless it includes strong language calling for the impeachment of Barack Obama because, he hasn't provided his birth certificate.

You see, it's the principle of the thing.

Harry Reid will compromise to move the bill forward.

Posted by: Winkandanod on December 17, 2009 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

At this point, why do we care? It's a hollow shell, likely to do more harm than good. Let him kill it. As a small business owner who self-insures, I am particularly worried about what will happen to my premiums if this ridiculous, ineffective, piece of garbage excuse for health care reform passes. So disappointed...

Posted by: WB on December 17, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Why isn't Reid forcing Nelson and the Republicans to perform an actual filibuster? If they can break tradition and invoke filibuster for virtually any reason, why can't he break with tradition and make them actually do it?

Posted by: Coop on December 17, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

This is what happens when you let a non-Democrat, Lieberman, publicly demonstrates how desperate the Dems are to pass something they can claim as a health care reform bill. As Keith Olberman put it, this is neither healthcare nor reform. It's a giveaway to insurance companies.

Posted by: rational on December 17, 2009 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

The best argument for killing HCR from the left is that the centrists won't stop eating away at the bill until they think they can't cut out any more. Rather than making the bill progressively worse to get Senators on board who will fillibuster it anyway, make this the worst bill we're willing to pass, and be willing to let it die. Then, let them stand on the brink and decide if it's better to have this bill or nothing.

Since the "kill the bill" crowd spoke up, its been the first momentum we've had pushing for a better rather than a worse bill. Until the "kill the bill" people win the argument, then the compromises aren't over. We need progressives refusing to vote for this bill so that the party is catering to their wishes rather than letting the Republicans write the bill for us that not one of them is going to vote for.

Posted by: Memekiller on December 17, 2009 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, Steve, Steve...

Terminology is damn near everything. Nelson, Casey, et. al. are NOT pro-life! They are anti-choice!

I am pro-life and I am opposed to abortion on moral grounds. I am NOT ANTI-CHOICE! I believe that old white men who share my moral beliefs have NO business dictating medical options to women! I support the right of women to consult with their doctors and their consciences and make decisions based upon that.

When you use the terminology of choice of the reich-wing, you cede the argument from the start!

Posted by: AngryOldVet on December 17, 2009 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Ben Nelson wants the same media coverage as J. Lieberman; wants to be known for stopping the bill; Obama should be working with his sleeves rolled up for reconciliation and changing m'care fine print verbiage to give insurance to all. Will this happen? Obama works hard but is too wrapped up with corporate , politicians earmarks to provide anything for Americans.He spends time selling a waterdown bill as predicted by the republicans in July. This is disgusting Democrtats should use ALL the tools and plan ahead. But that takes spine and principle over party; the democratic party doesn't have that.The Democratic party prefers the insurance company over the moral right of health care.Congress continues to skewer Americans in a bi partisan way

Posted by: mljohnston on December 17, 2009 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

It looks like the Democratic "leadership" has two choices:

1- They can capitulate to Nelson and Lieberman, and then to what Lincoln and maybe Baucus demand when they step up to the microphone. But what will get 60 votes will almost certainly get voted down by the House.

2- They can draft the best reform bill that they can, and when it gets filibustered in the Senate they can blame obstructionist Republicans who've held an unprecedented number of filibusters and blame the egos a few soon-to-be former members of the Democratic caucus.

In one scenario, Democrats take the full blame and suffer for it in 2010. In the other, blame is shared equally, Democrats don't lose quite a many seats, and the Democrats haven't conceded that from now until the end of time that they need 60 votes to pass anything in the Senate.


Posted by: SteveT on December 17, 2009 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

And you expected something different? When you start with 60 senators and immediately rule out reconciliation-- the only method of passing something with less than 60 votes-- any senator can kill you.

Oh, and before you, Matt, Ezra, Booman, Rahm and Barack get going, let me tell you something. Progressives are not going to roll back Roe v Wade so we can get "The Insurance Company Profit Preservation Act of 2009" through. Na ga ha pen.

Besides, once you made Ben happy, Blanche Lincoln would just want language stating that the US is a "Christian Nation" that only celebrates Christmas.

Posted by: Woodrow L. Goode, IV on December 17, 2009 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

You forgot d) give him what he wants. That's what's most likely to happen.

Posted by: Twinky P on December 17, 2009 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you, AngryOldVet. Both this time and in a previous post when Benen referred to Casey that way, I had the same reaction. It's definitely anti-choice. Let's call it what it is.

Posted by: Missouri Mule on December 17, 2009 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe we can convince Quentin Tarantino to make a movie about it. Any suggestions on casting ?

Posted by: rbe1 on December 17, 2009 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

I used to think the Dems were on the take. But nobody would actually pay money for such an abysmal performance, they just must be total nitwits.

Posted by: TJ on December 17, 2009 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

No mention of reconciliation? You've just laid out the scenario for why reform is impossible in this corrupt Senate. And yet, it is still possible to force a bill through using reconciliation.

Yes, I understand it's always been the last resort. I'd say we're there already. The Senate Democrats' dismissal of that option is at the root of their embarrassing failure so far.

Posted by: Big River Bandido on December 17, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Why is Nelson called a "moderate" Democrat?

Posted by: HaroldinBuffalo on December 17, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, your three options aren't nearly enough. There are numerous senators playing whack-a-mole on this thing. What in the hell makes you think there will EVER be 60 lined up?

A better strategy is to vote for cloture on a very strong HCR with a very good CBO rating. It will make all those senators actually be on record for/against a bill that can easily be defended come this fall's elections. It will have credibility in that provisions are made for containing drug prices, a formative alternative to existing policy options will be available and serve as a check against gouging, and best of all, the CBO estimate will provide a firewall against any stupid claims about cost.

Run a serious campaign against the obstructionists and you might get the margin necessary to enact progressive legislation on HCR and global warming and wall street oversight/regulation. Lose the base and you ain't got squat.

Posted by: Chopin on December 17, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Those aren't the choices because Nelson isn't negotiating in good faith any more than Lieberman. Whatever concession is made will not satisfy him, and the bill will be made worse. All the people arguing for why this is still a good bill and marginally better forget that we aren't done ruining it yet, and will never, ever be done until we're willing to let it die.

Reform will not pass until the Left agrees its not worth passing, because that's always been the yardstick by which the village and centrists judge "sensible".

The sooner we're opposed, the sooner the Village will climb on board. Nelson doesn't stop carving until we stop carving. Snowe won't climb on board until there's nothing left to hold out for and she has to choose between voting for this bill, or being the one to kill it.

Caving into Nelson will just tell him he didn't ask for enough. At some point we have to stop negotiating with ourselves and stop letting them move goalpoasts.

Before the pass the bill crowd tells us what little improvements we're still going to get need to wait until we're done giving it away.

Posted by: Memekiller on December 17, 2009 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

When you really try to think about it... the Stooges, the Marx Bros, Abbott and Costello...but nothing... nothing... not even Chaplin, Buster Keaton... nothing comes close...

Nothing can prevail agst the Clown Car United States Senate. The god damn planet is dying; the whole of western civilization is crumbling; 45,000 dead a year due to a "slight mis-distribution of health care."
...and we got mounds of horse shit like benny-boy the child of the corn, and joey of the jerusalem aetna office dictating how it's gonna be...

now that's entertainment!

whatta country!

Posted by: neill on December 17, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I assume Gibbs will imply that he is irrational?

Posted by: Jay on December 17, 2009 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

At this point there is almost nothing left except an individual mandate for the uninsured to buy a crappy product from monopolist insurers and a vacuum hose attached from those same insurers to the US Treasury.

There are some cost reduction efforts that are certain to be bargained away in the the next temper tantrum from Nelson or Lieberman. There are negligible protections from recission, as the insurers are still allowed to rescind for "fraud", which is the same ploy they use today.

Pre-existing conditions are banned, but insurers are allowed to charge more for "high risk individuals". Anyone want to bet what percentage of the population will be found to be "high risk"? In applying for individual insurance last year I was found to be "high risk" because I had a pinched nerve in my foot that was cured with arch supports. Seriously.

There are limits on lifetime out of pockets, but not yearly ones, so medical BKs are still going to be common.

Really, honestly, what's left? A tax on the lower middle class, a huge tax-payer give-away to the insurers, and some minor pieces of regulation sure to be bargained away or evaded.

Let Nelson kill it and take the blame.

Posted by: an old guy on December 17, 2009 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Who is calling this jackass a "moderate Democrat"? I hope you never do Steve, unless quoting.

Posted by: delver on December 17, 2009 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

And you expected something different? When you start with 60 senators and immediately rule out reconciliation-- the only method of passing something with less than 60 votes-- any senator can kill you.

Goode's point is, well, good. Reid has been signaling publicly all along that he wasn't interested in reconciliation, even as he occasionally fulminated to the stenographer mainstream press about it. As you yourself pointed out, Steve--and others, such as Matt--when one side indicates its readiness to sacrifice anything to get a bill, while the other doesn't care, you're not going to get anything remotely approaching a satisfactory bill.

And if the Dems cave in and go with what's now in the Senate, or even worse, they'll end up losing their base. Which is already displeased with their inability to climb over the molehill of bipartisanship to achieve some very necessary systemic reforms.

But they don't appear to understand this. The current demonization of Dean is a perfect example of this, and it will be very interesting to watch how it plays out.

Posted by: Balakirev on December 17, 2009 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Chopin re three options, couldn't have said it better.

Posted by: rbe1 on December 17, 2009 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

At this point a lot of progressives are pulling for Nelson. Stick to your guns Senator. Maybe you can kill the bill and take all the blame.

Then maybe the Democratic base won't sit on its hands next election. As it stands if this monster is passed, the Republicans will make great gains next year.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 17, 2009 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Tell me again that passing the bill through reconciliation is just too hard to accomplish.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on December 17, 2009 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

We should keep giving in until we can pass something, and any so called progressive who says otherwise needs to get out of the way while we cave to the demands of conservatives. Drawing a line in the sand and standing up for what you believe in is no way to get what you want.

Posted by: doubtful on December 17, 2009 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Why is Nelson called a "moderate" Democrat?

Why is he called a Democrat? He's a goddamned Republican.

We need progressives refusing to vote for this bill so that the party is catering to their wishes rather than letting the Republicans write the bill for us that not one of them is going to vote for.

You're kidding, right? The Dems cater to the base? I'll tell you what's going to happen if progressives (the people who run away from the word "liberal" because they're scared shitless of what a Republican might think of them) vote the bill down. Health care reform dies. The Democratic majority goes with it in 2010. Barack Obama follows in 2012. The Republicans take over, and health care reform doesn't happen, period.

If you're prepared for that eventuality, then have at at. I'll be on a plane bound for New Zealand before the next GOP speaker of the house is sworn in. I'm definitely not sticking around for the inauguration of President Sarah Palin. If you think THAT can't ever happen, then you were asleep from 2000 to 2009.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on December 17, 2009 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Told Ya. Now that these conservadems know liberals will accept ANYTHING just to pass a bill...now they think they can reverse Roe v Wade through an amendment to HC "reform" bill.

How much more will we tolerate? Screw Nelson...let him go down in History as the man who killed HC reform. No doubt he already has a lucrative position with HC ins. already picked out. Bastard.

Posted by: bjobotts on December 17, 2009 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

HCR died when Obama struck his deal with Big Pharma before we even started negotiating. And it's going to get more dead in the next few days.

You're right, this is probably the last real chance at reform -- the planets will not align this well again, and Obama already blew it. It's just a matter of whether we give them cover to pretend to have reformed the system or not.

The first time Landrieu went from a hold out to defending HCR and championing it was when they put her against Howard Dean. Intersting, that. Imagine if they had to try to corral votes from progressives instead of Nelson. Imagine if they were having to fight to get Fiengold rather than Snowe.

But it doesn't matter, HCR is already lost. The only small, tiny glimmer of hope is that enough progressives abandon ship that they salvage something a little better than we have now, but it's looking like they're more worried about getting rid of whatever other marginal improvements to get Nelson and company on board who aren't going to stop asking until we stop giving.

Dean arrived too late, but at least he showed how we could have negotiated this thing, with Landrieu and Nelson defending HCR rather than getting us to suck up to them.

Posted by: Memekiller on December 17, 2009 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

By the time some of these asshat obstructionistas come around for reelection the cost of health insurance will have risen dramatically. The number of people broken by the system will have risen dramatically and the number of outright uninsured and underinsured will have risen dramtically. Every single one of us have to target these anti-american corporate schills in every election for defeart.

Posted by: Gandalf` on December 17, 2009 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Come the next election cycles I am gonna give all my political donations dollars to opponents of any and all Democrats that have blocked health care reform. And I don't expect any grief from the White House. After all, just like Ben Nelson, Max Baucus, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, and Joe Lieberman I may not support the White House in everything, but I do support them in something. We'll figure out what that something is later, down the road, at some point.

Posted by: Lab Partner on December 17, 2009 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on December 17, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Nonsense. Like saying our sheriff didn't prosecute the rapist so let's put the rapist back in office again to finish the job.

Posted by: bjobotts on December 17, 2009 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

And you expected something different? When you start with 60 senators and immediately rule out reconciliation-- the only method of passing something with less than 60 votes-- any senator can kill you.

The reason reconciliation was ruled out had everything to do with self-interest. With such a large, complex bill, the Senate parliamentarian could easily have struck any portion of it that has no direct bearing on the federal budget. If Reid submitted it for reconciliation - who knows what would have emerged. Its regulatory features? Likely gone. Coverage for pre-existing conditions? Gone. Etc, etc. That's why reconciliation was off the table.

Posted by: abj on December 17, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Vote Dem - they bail out the banks and force peopel to buy insurance from a monopoly.

Posted by: Harry Reid on December 17, 2009 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Why are you buying into the "once in a generation chance" crapola? There is absolutely no reason health care reform including single payer could not be brought up again as soon as this bill passes or fails. If the public demands it then it can be done. The insurance companies would love to only have to fight this battle once in a generation. I'm sure they are the ones spreading this "conventional wisdom". Don't help them by repeating this self-fulfilling nonsense.

Posted by: nameless bob on December 17, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Change the rules to 55 to invoke cloture. Do it now. Today.

Posted by: Patrick on December 17, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Why does everyone refer to Ben Nelson as a "moderate" Democrat? He is a conservative Democrat, and barely a Democrat at all. Sen. Nelson listens only to Nebraska Right to Life and the insurance lobby. The Nebraska Democrats who elected him have been betrayed again.

Posted by: NE skeptic on December 17, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

At this point a lot of progressives are pulling for Nelson. Stick to your guns Senator. Maybe you can kill the bill and take all the blame.

I'm sure pulling for him, since no supposed "progressives" will do it. Who cares what his reasons are? He's unwittingly doing what most pro-choice and pro-reform progressives want at this point--killing the bill.

I find it amusing that Steve, JMM, and others continue with posts implying that we actually want the 60 votes needed for this abomination to pass.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 17, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I don't want to do the math, but somebody should dig up the ratio of U.S. citizens represented by GOP senators vs. Democratic senators. I'd be surprised if Republican senators represent even 1/4 of the total U.S. population. So it's not like they're just resisting the will of 58% of the country. More like 75-80%, really. Real statesmanship, there.

Posted by: beejeez on December 17, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

@abj: I see you haven't read the Senate bill. None of that stuff is in there.

I'm getting tired of being patronized by people who who have less experience with the legislative process and a weaker understanding of the history.

And, not to be too rude, have a track history of being wrong. Most of the people chiding progressives about being reasonable on health care were also pushing to get into Afghanistan and Iraq.

Oh, by the way, this is the second time Rahm Emanuel has sunk a health care initiative-- he was the White House Political Director under Clinton.

Since he was also the most vehement opponent of Howard Dean's 50-state strategy-- which is how we got this majority-- is it too much to ask that we have someone who does not have cranial-rectal inversion in charge of this process?

Posted by: Woodrow L. Goode, IV on December 17, 2009 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson -- the moderate Democrat

Moderate my lily-white ass.

Posted by: ckelly on December 17, 2009 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

They can capitulate to Nelson and Lieberman, and then to what Lincoln and maybe Baucus demand when they step up to the microphone.

Oh, come off it. Baucus is pretty obviously not going to make any trouble about anything. And Lincoln hasn't said a word since the group of 10 compromise came out, and isn't going to. That you would seriously consider that Baucus might try to kill this at this point just shows that you have no idea what you're talking about.

Posted by: John on December 17, 2009 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Qué será, será, Señor Benen.

There comes a time when hard-pressed good people of conscience must draw a line in the sand, place the well-being of the country over the desires of both political party establishments and their corporate benefactors, and stand our ground. I refuse to compromise any more. I've had my fill of bait-and-switch politicians with two faces and two tongues.

If the health care reform effort dies, it's on the heads of President Obama and his wheeling / dealing chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, as well as Sens. Reid, Nelson, Landrieu, Lincoln, Baucus, Lieberman and the entire GOP House and Senate caucuses. Rather than do what's right by their constituents, they've once again chosen to sell us out for their thirty pieces of corporate silver.

"I have shaken hands with a good many friends, but there are some things I want to know which no one seems able to explain. ... I cannot understand why so many chiefs are allowed to talk so many different ways, and promise so many different things. I have seen President Hayes; the Secretary of the Interior; the Commissioner; the Attorney General; and many Congressmen; and they all say they are my friends, and that I shall have justice, but while all their mouths talk right I do not understand why nothing is done for my people. I have heard talk and talk but nothing is done. Good words do not last long unless they amount to something. Good words will not make good your promises without any action on your part. Good words will not give my people a home where they can live in peace and take care of themselves. I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises. There has been too much talking by men who had no right to talk." - Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, Washington, D.C. (1879)
Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 17, 2009 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Change the rules to 55 to invoke cloture. Do it now. Today. -Patrick

And just where will you get the 67 Senators that rule change requires?

Posted by: doubtful on December 17, 2009 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with HCR is not that we have to compromise. Compromise is what keeps us from killing each other. The problem is that the progressive side is the only side giving up anything.

I read today that some Conservative journalist is reported that Nelson was having his arm seriously twisted by the White House. Both Nelson and the White House deny any arm twisting. Sadly, I believe the denials. If anybody in the White House had any balls they would be twisting a lot of arms. They don't and they aren't. Nothing much is being accomplished except the American people are about to be visited with the worst parts of Romney care.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 17, 2009 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Nuclear option?

Posted by: Sojourner on December 17, 2009 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

whack-a-mole is a good descriptor of the situation. It doesn't matter which mole pops up, they can repeat until time is no more.

[tongue in cheek]
Since the point of this legislation has lost its edge, why not a group of libs get off their duffs and say ya know, this isn't looking like anything we were striving for and demand a few concessions, like the PO and such. That would shake up the discussion for a moment giving the right almost enough time to think they are off the hook for killing this monster. Then sit down saying just kidding, this goose isn't thoroughly cooked yet, please continue.

Posted by: Kevin on December 17, 2009 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Doubtful, if it really takes 67 votes to change the cloture system then why did Repubs threaten "the nuclear option" - I don't know much about the system, but I doubt they would unless they could have made it work with the votes they had.

Posted by: neil b on December 17, 2009 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

So the way I understand it is that Ben Nelson doesn't want women to receive either abortions or pre-natal care? I'm having trouble understanding that, but I guess I'm not smart enough to be a senator.

Posted by: J Bean on December 17, 2009 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

It takes 51 votes to change the rules on filibuster. I have no idea where doubtful got his information.

Posted by: Barbara on December 17, 2009 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

It takes 51 votes to change the rules on filibuster. I have no idea where doubtful got his information. -Barbara

No. 67 votes are required.

...on a measure or motion to amend the Senate rules, in which case the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the Senators present and voting...

Is that a good enough fucking source for you?

neil b,

They threatened it without counting the votes because they knew the media was on their side and the Democrats would back down.

Posted by: doubtful on December 17, 2009 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

doubtful, it takes 2/3 of the senators PRESENT? Hell, there's your solution. The progressive Dems should call the senate into session on Christmas day and change the filibuster rules unanimously. I suppose the next rule will be it takes a quorum to convene the senate and a quorum is defined as a GOP majority. Damn rules.

Posted by: Chopin on December 17, 2009 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

I love the sophistry of being "pro-life", but also "pro-choice"! What a hoot! You are either for (or against) the killing of an unborn baby. That's the decision. If you (old Vet or whatever your name is) support the privilege of a woman to kill her unborn baby, then, be a man and say so. But you're most definitely NOT "pro-life" with that stance.

Posted by: Dr. David Secord on December 17, 2009 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Chopin: good catch! Sure enough, only 2/3 of the senators present is needed. But the Senate needs a quorum to conduct business, so there have to be 51 senators present. If there are exactly 51, then only 34 senators need to vote "yes" to change the rules.

Oops: I can think of several sneaky tricks that could be used, but maybe it's not a good idea to discuss them in a public forum.

Posted by: Joe Buck on December 17, 2009 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ok. But what about the strategy that EVERY SINGLE BILL next year will be somehow written as appropriations, so that 50+1 is all that is needed through reconcilliation. This would marginalize the 8 or so "moderate" wingnuts, and all the R's.

Posted by: bigwisc on December 17, 2009 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

So, what about the United States Constitution? Any word on that...at all?

Posted by: Mark L Harvey (aka Snooper) on December 18, 2009 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

I love the sophistry of being "pro-life", but also "pro-choice"! What a hoot! You are either for (or against) the killing of an unborn baby.
Posted by: Dr. David Secord

I love the sophistry of the "pro-lifers" aligning themselves with a political party that is pro-capital punishment, pro-war, and pro-rob the sick and dying to give to the rich. Now that's what I call a "hoot".

Pro-life-only-when-it-suites-our-political interests-Jesus-be-damned, is what the movement should be called.

If you (old Vet or whatever your name is) support the privilege of a woman to kill her unborn baby, then, be a man and say so. But you're most definitely NOT "pro-life" with that stance.

Privilege? Really?

And, I suppose your being a real "man" and an ardent "pro-lifer", you'd gladly sacrifice 45,000 living people a year over language in a bill that already has non-existent abortion funding?

And, As a "man", I'm sure you yourself have opted out of all health insurance for you and your family, since insurance companies offer abortion coverage and pay for it by pooling premiums. You do realize that even if you opt out of abortion coverage your premium dollars could still be going to fund an abortion dont', you?

Posted by: oh my on December 18, 2009 at 3:27 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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