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July 17, 2013 5:30 PM Filibuster Agreement Shaky?

By Ed Kilgore

So today in the second cloture vote following yesterday’s “deal” guaranteeing up-or-down votes on seven Obama nominations, the deal barely held, with 60 senators agreeing to proceed to a vote on confirmation of Tom Perez as Secretary of Labor. That means 40 out of 46 Republican senators voted against allowing the up-or-down vote Mitch McConnell promised Harry Reid to forestall the “nuclear option.”

Perhaps this just represented careful vote-counting by McConnell to spare as many GOP senators as possible the wrath of conservative activists furious about the “deal.” But if Perez was truly a difficult sell, what will happen when the Senate gets around to the two NLRB nominees (one an attorney for the AFL-CIO) who will re-invigorate enforcement of that socialist abomination, the National Labor Relations Act of 1935?

It’s especially interesting to note that down there on the floor leading the shouts against cloture for Perez was none other than that supposed darling of the Republican Establishment, Marco Rubio. Indeed, he posted a Tweet about his anger at the success of cloture to the hashtag #surrender. What we don’t know is whether this latest loud pandering to “the base” by Rubio—rather transparently motivated by his near-excommunication from the conservative movement over his involvement in immigration reform legislation—is a genuine act of defiance against the leadership or a sanctioned demonstration designed to help him politically. Either way, it’s yet another sign, if you need one, of the gulf between the minimally responsible behavior forced upon the Republican Senate leadership and the true desires of the “base” voters on which they depend.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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