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December 12, 2013 11:56 AM Keeping the Eye on the Confirmation Ball

By Ryan Cooper

Over at the Plum Line today I’ve got a post arguing that while Senate Dems’ new persistence on getting nominations through is laudable, they shouldn’t hesitate to further streamline the Senate rulebook to make things go faster.

You see, Democrats did roll back the filibuster, but it’s not totally dead, they just reduced the votes needed to break one from 60 to 50. We might as well axe it altogether, and just have regular old majority rule:

If we step even slightly back, there’s simply no reason in this age that the a minority of Senators should be able to force eight to 30 hours of “debate” on a simple nomination. If the majority so chooses, they ought to be able stop debate right away, and process these confirmations by the score. We’re headed to a world where if the a majority of Senators and the president agree, then they get to fill as many vacancies as exist, so we might as well just rip off the band-aid. This is quite obviously what Republicans would be doing if the tables were turned.

Unfortunately, the Senate is quite a stuffy institution whose members often have a sentimental attachment to its traditions regardless of whether they make sense or not. But one thing ought to stand out: the fact that if Republicans were running things, they would not hesitate a single nanosecond to slam through a big list of whoever they’re currently grooming in the basement of Heritage Action.

America is going to have a majority-rule Senate sooner or later. We might as well get a jump on it now, when President Obama’s second term agenda, particularly on climate change, hangs in the balance.

Ryan Cooper is a National Correspondent at The Week, and a former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @ryanlcooper

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