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End the filibuster?

lpetrich

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Manchin and Sinema have been allowed to lie about the filibuster - Raw Story - Celebrating 17 Years of Independent Journalism
We’ve now reached a critical stage in which President Biden went full force in attacking those standing in the way of voting rights, comparing them to the racists of the past, including George Wallace. And the president, in his powerful speech in Georgia yesterday in which he demanded the Senate create a filibuster carve-out for voting rights, didn’t distinguish between Republicans and those two Senate Democrats, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who refuse to back a carve-out.
JM:
[The filibuster is] the tradition of the Senate here in 232 years now. … We need to be very cautious what we do. … That’s what we’ve always had for 232 years. That’s what makes us different than any place else in the world.
A demonstrably false statement. Some fact checking:

The filibuster, contrary to Manchin’s suggestion, is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, which went into effect 232 years ago…
…[I]t was decades — 1856 — before the Senate established a right of unlimited debate…The word “filibustering” was first used on the Senate floor to connote unlimited debate in 1853, according to [legal scholars Catherine] Fisk and [Erwin] Chemerinsky. But it was not until the 1880s that filibusters were successful in derailing legislation…

Chad Pergram on Twitter: "Manchin on the filibuster. Says it's been "The tradition of the Senate here in 232 years now..we need to be very cautious what we do..That's what we've always had for 232 years. That's what makes us different than any place else in the world." / Twitter
then
Max Kennerly on Twitter: "232 years ago, in 1790, a simple majority could end any debate. ..." / Twitter
232 years ago, in 1790, a simple majority could end any debate.

The current form of filibuster that Manchin is protecting—in which votes can't happen until 60 Senators agree—didn't exist until 1975. Hundreds of exceptions have been made to it, including one last month.

The filibuster arose by accident: in 1805, the Senate streamlined its rules at the urging of Aaron Burr. Nobody thought they were creating a vehicle for obstruction, and no one used it that way until 1837, after the Framers were dead.
The History of the Filibuster at the Brookings Institution

The first filibuster, in 1837, failed. It included a Senator being dragged into the Senate by the Sergeant-at-Arms then dragged back out again when he got saucy with the presiding officer. “Am I not permitted to speak in my own defense?” he cried, and the answer was no.

Up until the 20th Century, most filibusters failed. They required holding the Senate floor and compliance with every rule. An 1893 filibuster on a silver bill went on for 46 days and failed. A 1908 filibuster failed by an accidental yielding to a Senator who had stepped out.

Even after the initial cloture rule in 1917, filibusters were still rare, and still typically failed except in the lone area of civil rights laws.

When Joe Manchin was born in 1947, the Senate still operated almost entirely by majority-rule.

The few successful filibusters had a theme: anti-lynching legislation in 1922, 1935, and 1938. Anti-poll-tax legislation in 1942, 1944, 1946, 1948, and 1962. Civil rights legislation in 1946, 1950, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1972, and 1975. Some tradition, huh?

The very first time in American history that Senators could block legislation *without* indefinitely holding the Senate floor (while also complying with all Senate rules) was 1972: (article at the Cornell University Law Library)

It's all been downhill since then.

There's no "tradition" to the current filibuster, and it has been constantly modified. The only real Senate tradition, as Byrd himself recognized, was that a majority could invoke cloture whenever it wanted by changing the rules. Which it has. Repeatedly. Like last month.

There's no principled or historical justification for the current filibuster in which GOP priorities—judges, tax cuts, drilling on fed land, regulatory rollbacks—go to a majority vote but voting rights, minimum wage, and immigration can't get a vote until 60 Senators agree.
 

Elixir

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Looks like it’s going to be left to the Republicans to do away with the filibuster again, once they take over. Which they will, thanks to their insiders in the Dem Party.
 

lpetrich

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‘Needs to resign or be removed from office’: Sinema scorched for ‘stupidest speech by a Democrat’ - Raw Story - Celebrating 17 Years of Independent Journalism
"We must address the disease itself, the disease of division to protect our democracy," Sinema told the mostly-Republican audience. "It cannot be achieved by one party alone."

"We need robust, sustained strategies that put aside party labels and focus on our democracy because these challenges are bigger than party affiliation. We must commit to a long term approach as serious as the problems we seek to solve. One that prioritizes listening and understanding one that embraces making progress on shared priorities and finding common ground on issues where we hold differing and diverse views."

The two voting rights bills – which Sinema claimed to support – have the support of the majority of Americans. Her call for "finding common ground" that she claims is necessary ignores the very will of the people she was elected to serve. Instead, she is seeking the approval of just Republican Party lawmakers.

Democrats of all stripes, from political experts to casual social media commentators blasted her.
What does she plan to do? Collect all these criticisms and use them in her next campaign as "proof" that she is a sensible moderate who rejects all this Democratic extremism?
 

lpetrich

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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 1/13/22
He mentioned KS in 2010 saying that one can use reconciliation to get around the filibuster, and some 160 filibuster exceptions have been created over the last half-century, most recently for the debt ceiling.

Then from that recent KS interview,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SINEMA: I share the disappointment of many that we`ve not found more support on the other side of the aisle for legislative responses to state level voting restrictions. I wish that were not the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)
What a posture of helplessness. Did her voters send her to DC to wring her hands all day?
O`DONNELL: Disappointed. She`s disappointed in Republicans. When Kyrsten Sinema ran for the United States Senate, she did not say that she would bring all her legislative and policy goals in the United States Senate to the Republican leader of the Senate and try to get Republican approval of her agenda. That`s not what she told Arizona voters.

But that is her position now. Republicans have to approve everything Kyrsten Sinema wants to do, or she won`t even try to do it. She will just stand at her desk in the United States Senate and be disappointed.

And she will give up if Republicans don`t want to do what she wants to do. She will give up. That`s what she`s saying today. President Joe Biden today said he is not giving up. President Joe Biden attended the Democrats` luncheon today where it is reported that Kyrsten Sinema sat looking at her phone for most of the time.

Senator Sinema`s speech on the Senate floor before the luncheon did not dissuade Senator Jon Ossoff from delivering a passionate talk during that lunch about changing the voting rules, and that speech received a standing ovation in that moment.
 

lpetrich

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Schumer finally reveals his plan to get voting rights passed — and get Manchin and Sinema on board - Raw Story - Celebrating 17 Years of Independent Journalism
noting
Manu Raju on Twitter: "New - In memo, ..." / Twitter
New - In memo, Sen. Chuck Schumer tells Democrats this is the process to change the rules
- The House will act first. The chamber will send over a piece of legislation that includes both the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act. House Rules may act tonight
— Once the House passes the bill, it will come over in the form of a “message from the House.” That allows them to skip the first procedural vote in the Senate and get onto the bill with 51 votes.
- To get off the bill and move to final passage, they would need 60 votes to break a filibuster, and getting 60 votes won’t happen.
- At that point, Schumer would likely move to change rules — but Manchin and Sinema are opposed
- This process will take several days to play out

Schumer: “Of course, to ultimately end debate and pass the voting rights legislation, we will need 10 Republicans to join us – which we know from past experience will not happen – or we will need to change the Senate rules as has been done many times before.”
Rather ingenious, I must say.
 

Jarhyn

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I've given mine if that helps.

What's your opinion on the filibuster, Jason?
So, what words might be offered to describe succinctly "those who want a thing of others but never see fit to offer it of themselves"?

Personally: I would see fit to make them stand and not campaign if they wish to filibuster, and make them stand present if they wish to count against cloture.
 

Rhea

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Trausti’s quote of a tweet:
Dems used the filibuster 2 block it because they…

That’s not why they did it, of course; the person who wrote this tweet is lying and Trausti is repeating that lie.
 

Jarhyn

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Trausti’s quote of a tweet:
Dems used the filibuster 2 block it because they…

That’s not why they did it, of course; the person who wrote this tweet is lying and Trausti is repeating that lie.
Now the bigger question is: will they double down? Or will they cease to make the claim and find a similar one to replace it with ad infinitum? Or will they retract the claim.

I feel like if they retract the claim, I may also win the lottery* today, Mitch McConnell might realize how much of a piece of shit he is and donate all his ill-gotten donor money to real charities while voting for cloture on every dem bill, and Donald Trump might say "hey guys I lost the election".

*This would be a real trick, in fact, as I don't play the lottery nor buy tickets, and other forms of "lottery" I would use all power and true magic that might exist in my sphere to not win any time soon
 

lpetrich

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Senator Kyrsten Sinema's filibuster speech was maddening
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., helped deliver a lethal blow on Thursday to desperately needed legislation to protect voting rights in America.

It wasn’t exactly surprising, given her previous positions on reforming the filibuster. But the way she did it — with a dramatic Senate floor speech that argued that it would be too divisive to pass voting rights protections by creating an exception to the filibuster — was a blow to our political culture as a whole. Sinema counseled her party to show tolerance of anti-democratic politics — an outlook that will not save this republic, but accelerate its decline.

...
Sinema rejected it. (As did Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, but more quietly in a statement issued later in the day.) When she took the Senate floor Thursday, she voiced support for the voting rights bills, but she rejected the idea of the filibuster carve-out. And her argument on behalf of the filibuster, delivered in a tone that conveyed tremendous distress, was, well, maddening.
Greg Price on Twitter: "SINEMA: "There's no need for me to restate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation."

There it is. (vid link)" / Twitter

Her main argument was that supporting an exception to the filibuster would “worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country" by allowing the laws to pass without bipartisanship. “We have but one democracy,” she said. “We can only survive, we can only keep her, if we do so together.”

Here’s the problem: The Republican Party — from its most influential leader to its federal lawmakers to its state politicians — is unified in the belief that making voting universally accessible threatens its electoral strength, and that making it harder for people who aren’t Republicans to vote is crucial for maintaining power.
 

lpetrich

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Manchin and Sinema's love of the filibuster doesn't make them allies
They have not teamed up on major legislation beyond the bipartisan infrastructure bill that became law last year.

...
And looking at their policies, there’s not a clear area for them to cooperate on in the future either. ...

(about Build Back Better)
“Manchin and Sinema want very different things, both in terms of revenue and programs,” said a source close to Biden who spent the last few days talking to senior White House officials. “If you just took their currently presented red lines you wouldn’t have enough left to get this past progressives in the House and Senate. It wouldn’t raise enough money and it wouldn’t do enough big programs.”

There are two main places where the split is the most apparent: taxes and climate change.
JM has been willing to accept more taxes on the wealthy, while KS hasn't.
On the climate front, yes, Manchin is responsible for nixing the Clean Electricity Payment Program, a provision that experts say would have the greatest single impact on reducing U.S. carbon emissions. That still would have left a multitude of climate provisions on the table, which Manchin has expressed openness to supporting. “There’s a lot of good things in there,” he said last month. “I’ve always said, you know, we have a lot of money in there for innovation, technology, tax credits for basically clean technologies and clean environment.”

Sinema, on the other hand, at least theoretically supports more action on preventing and mitigating climate change. A review from E&E News last year suggested “she generally favors climate action, though often through clean energy tax breaks and targeted spending rather than pushing major regulatory action to curb emissions — the route favored by many Democrats.” But she’s made silence into an art form, dodging press interviews and constituents alike, leaving nobody knowing exactly where she stands these days.
 

lpetrich

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Manchinism can help the Democrats. Sinema’s politics are a dead end. - The Washington Post by Matthew Yglesias
A reputation for independence, by itself, can have some electoral allure. But Manchin’s departure from the Democratic mainstream — however much it infuriates progressives — offers something of a road map for appealing to less-educated and rural voters, especially White ones, whom the party badly needs to win if it wants to hold future Senate majorities. Sinema, by contrast, offers little beyond vague fiscal conservatism. She chooses politically perverse topics on which to make a stand, blocking some of Biden’s most popular ideas, and offers nothing for the party to build on.
MY then notes the difference between the two legislators' styles.
Manchin is a proud gun owner, a supporter of the Hyde Amendment — which bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortion — and someone who talks exclusively about brass-tacks economic issues rather than racial politics or other social and cultural matters. He seems like the kind of guy who wouldn’t introduce himself with his pronouns. And however you feel about this personally, it’s proved to be a winning formula in the very red state of West Virginia, where Manchin massively overperforms national Democrats.
Thus acting much like the right-wing idea of a Real American.

Sinema, by contrast, has all the personal style cues of a stereotypical urban educated liberal, and breaks with her party primarily to defend unpopular business interests.
 

lpetrich

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So by Matt Yglesias's analysis, it's hard to think of a good political home for Kyrsten Sinema. The Libertarian Party?

I went to senate.gov and I couldn't find anything on the vote in "Votes". I'd have to search through "Floor Proceedings", and I'm not sure that I'd be willing to do that.
 

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lpetrich

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Kyrsten Sinema's activist supporters are turning against her. EMILY’s List Statement on Voting Rights | EMILY's List -- EL was one of her biggest donors in 2018, and that PAC won't support her if she continues to place some arcane procedural rule above voting rights.

NARAL on Twitter: "There's no reproductive freedom without the freedom to vote. With both freedoms at stake, we’re changing our endorsement criteria. We’ll only endorse U.S. senators who support changing the Senate rules to pass the critical legislation that will protect voting rights." / Twitter

Top donors threaten to cut off funding to Sinema - POLITICO - "The donors said they will support a primary challenge, and demanded that the senator refund their contributions."
Many of them feel betrayed by her recent stances. They didn't knock on lots of people's doors and contribute large sums of money just to be stabbed in the back by her.

They composed this letter: Final Sinema Letter - donor-letter-to-sen-kyrsten-sinema.pdf making these points:
  • First, you do not acknowledge the gravity of the threat to fair elections, and that it is a result of a unilateral Republican campaign being conducted in broad daylight.
  • Second, we disagree with your contention that legislation passed unilaterally by one party is itself a form of extremism.
  • Third, we disagree that both parties are equally to blame for the present failure to find compromise on the voting bills, and that Democratic leadership did not try hard enough to forge consensus with Republicans.
  • Fourth, you hold that the filibuster incentivizes cooperation and compromise, while we believe the opposite to be true.
  • Fifth, we believe Republicans will end or modify the filibuster as they see fit regardless of what course Democrats may take.
  • Sixth, and more fundamentally, the founding framers required supermajorities for only a handful of exceptional cases like treaty ratification.
  • Finally, the bipartisan dialogue you and we want to be the norm will become less likely, not more, if you let these two bills die.
The escalating threats against Sinema have also come from some of Sinema’s colleagues. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Tuesday he is open to endorsing primary challengers to Sinema and Manchin. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also did not rule out supporting such a challenge, saying that “we'll address that when we get past this week” when asked if Sinema and Manchin should be primaried.
 
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