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home : opinions : opinions May 29, 2016

11/23/2013 1:59:00 PM
Letter: Senate Forced to Go Nuclear


The U.S. Senate has invoked the so called nuclear option which forces a majority vote as opposed to a 'super majority' - in effect it demands the Senate vote up or down on certain motions, not merely to block motions such as Government agency head sand judicial appointees.

It is unfortunate that the Republican Party forced this vote, which is not taken lightly. Only after vote after vote after vote has resulted in a small minority blocking any action on appointees did Harry Reid take this action. If the Republicans would only have insisted their members vote as they were elected to, yea or nay, this action would have been unnecessary.

The opposition to anything that has Obama's name on it is staggering. One of the straws that broke the back was the refusal of the GOP to vote on the nomination of Patricia Millett to serve on the D.C. Circuit court. Millett has argued over 30 cases before the U. S. Supreme court, and her qualifications were unquestioned, even by Republicans. To hear the Republicans tell it she was blocked due to a need for fewer judges on that court; the reality is the Republicans didn't like her potential stand on abortion. Did they vote nay on her confirmation? No - they blocked it. As Harry Reid stated, Republicans have turned 'advise and consent' into 'deny and obstruct'.

Republicans are still trying to disallow the will of the people through the highest number of filibusters in recent memory. The elimination of the 60 vote rule will now require a majority vote to confirm and not allow a small minority of one, two, or three intransigents to, as the President said, 'gum up the works'. The Republican response is, of course, to promise even more obstructionism, and even less of a willingness to work with Democrats to solve the problems of the Country. Can't wait for 2014.

Bob Burke

Beaver Creek

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Article comment by: M J

poor poor mary jane
ooooo she squeeeeeeels
us lazy parasitic leech liberals can get someone else to work and pay for our healthcare while I sit on the coach in my section 8 housing, smokin' medical marjuanna, watchin' jerry springer and screech for one of my lazy 7 kids to take the food stamps and go to the store for another box of ho hos

tick tick tick
time is runnin' short for ☭ bamacare's website 2.0 roll out....
tick tick tick

Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Article comment by: @m j

Yet again, you display a peculiarly wonderful inability to comprehend.

Good job.

Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Jane

@ mj

Talk about confused! You can't have two favorite colors for Christmas. You must choose between Red and Green. Hurry now, which one? Hahahahahahahahaha

Poor, poor T-baggers. The health care exchanges are up and running and the idea that only the rich should have health card has all but been repudiated by Americans as a whole! What ever is a fascist T-bagger to do when their lies have been found out?

'What do you mean when you say that I don't get preferential treatment cuz everyone has access to health care?" says the rich hypochondriac conservative. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha

What good is all that money if you can't buy better access, or happiness for that matter?

The camera fades away and the lights dim as the T-Baggin' curmudgeons shake their fists in frustration at their failure to disenfranchise mainstream America....

The 8% are dwindling fast for a reason!

Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013
Article comment by: Carl Nye

Maybe I wasn't paying close attention, but as I understand it, passing any law, or approving any nomination, has always only required a simple majority, which is 51 votes. The situation has been, however, that the issue in question could not get to the Senate floor for a vote because of threatened (or actual) filibusters by the minority party. In order to break the filibuster, a 'cloture' motion had to be voted upon. Cloture originally required a 2/3 vote (67 Senators) in order to stop a filibuster. In 1975, the number was reduced, so that just 60 Senators voting for cloture could stop the filibuster. This 60 vote "supermajority" became incorrectly believed to be the required number of votes to pass bills. Not so. The supermajority vote was only required to get the bill (or the nomination) onto the floor, where a simple majority vote could pass it. With the continued threats of filibustering everything, it seemed that the only way anything could be voted on (passed or rejected) would be to first clear the supermajority hurdle. The recent Senate vote to change the filibuster rules only apply to nominees to executive department positions and judicial positions (with the exception of the Supreme Court). So in fact, as before, the minority party still can prevent any bill from coming to the floor (including another repeal attempt of the ACA) by filibustering it, and it will still require 60 votes to invoke cloture. The change only makes it easier to get approval for nominees to be voted on, and does nothing different on bills.

Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013
Article comment by: M J

dear poor pf

U seem a bit more confused than usual
in one post you gloat how demorats gave the finger to those big meanie republicans!
and bragged how liberals finally grew a set!
poor picked on stupid and short sighted harry "skeletor" reid was FORCED to pull off a raw power grab and change the senate rules...
and a day later you cry and snivel that republicans will be the ones to benefit

so which is it?
grab U'R special thinkin' cap...
and give her a real good think...

tick tick tick
time is runnin' short for ☭ bamacare's website 2.0 to roll out....
tick tick tick

Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013
Article comment by: O-care repeal easier? -

Perhaps you missed the part about it only applying to judicial appointments other than the supreme court?

This bomb was more of a firecracker than anything.

But at least something is happening now- the GOP was to afraid to even have a real filibuster... they just wanted to do it in the dark so nobody could see them.

So don't get your hopes up... thankfully O-Care is here and not going away.

Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013
Article comment by: @ Frank

Good question, Frank: "So you've got to ask...why did Republicans roll over...who benefits?..."

The repubs will benefit.

How? when they use the precedent just set by the dems to change the vote requirements, yet again, to confirm their next Scalia/Roberts/Alito-like right wing not-so-supreme court injustice.

I hope the dems beat them to it this term.


Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2013
Article comment by: Bob says...the Republican Party forced this vote, ....

If you watched the parliamentary slip and slide
show on C-Span...you would have seen the Dem
and Republican leaders along with the Chair of
the Senate followed a "scripted" set of motions
where the Republicans did NOT object...hence
removing the need of a 2/3 vote!

So you've got to ask...why did Republicans roll
over...who benefits?...the Dems?...the Repubs?
...or maybe the people?

The Good News...is they did get rid of the 60
vote rule for some of their acts....some day they
should get rid of the present 60 vote rule. But,
allow for active stand-on-the floor filibustering.

Good Luck for our Gov-At-Work.

Frank Henry

Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2013
Article comment by: MInority rule was alive and well

Well, well.

The timid dems finally held up their middle finger to the obstructionist republican'ts.

It is about time liberal cajones were grown. I was beginning to wonder.

For the past 5 years, we could see the cynical smiles on tea party faces as they imagined they could filibuster their way to maintaining governing control.


Government shutdown?

No problem! After all, those are the not-so-holy Grails of the far-right.

Sadly, it is their only plan for 'governing.'

Perhaps their bloodless coup might fail, after all.

Folks, they want smaller, less intrusive government, less money spent on education and infrastructure, lower taxes, unregulated business, relaxed environmental standards, no EPA, no FDA, no consumer protection, no worker's rights, no healthcare, no Social safety net and tighter restrictions on voting.

These are just a few of the right wing demands.

Perhaps they can save themselves, and the rest of us, the political strife and economic angst by moving to that nirvana-like country that already exists.

It is exactly like the place they would change the US into: Mexico.


Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2013
Article comment by: Obamacare repeal now easier

The writer must have a very short memory to apparently have no recollection of how badly Democrats abused this provision during the terms of Republican presidents.

Our system works best when all sides of an issue are represented and respected, and when we craft bipartisan political solutions.

Our system does not work best when the majority side shoves their agenda down the country's throat, demonizes the minority, and practices scorched earth politics.

This is the what the selfish, short-sighted Chicago-style politics of Barack Obama has brought to our country.

I agree that 2014 can't come soon enough. Better yet, can't wait for 2016 when we'll have a new resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. God help us 'til then.

And the nuclear response? Democrats have just paved the way to repealing Obamacare with just 51 votes.

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