Senators defend filibuster vote, cite ‘obstruction’

Both Colorado senators voted for a rule change that eliminates the opportunity for Senate minorities to stave off certain votes by the filibuster.

U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, both Democrats, voted for the rules change.

Udall said he didn’t relish the vote, “but it is necessary to protect the promise of the U.S. Constitution and to get government working again.”

Udall chided Senate Republicans’ “ongoing and historic obstruction of highly qualified nominees” that allows a minority in the legislative branch to prevent the executive branch from doing its job.

The Constitution allows the Senate to decide its own rules by a simple majority.

The rules change affects presidential appointments to the federal courts and for the executive branch.

Votes on legislation and nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court are still subject to the filibuster, meaning that a minimum of 60 senators must agree to allow a vote on an appointment or bill.

Bennet, in a statement that repeated his description of Washington, D.C., as the “land of flickering lights,” said the Senate Republicans’ “abuse of the filibuster rule” has been part of the problem leading to Congress’ inability to approve an energy strategy, changes to the immigration system or pass a farm bill.

“This obstruction of so many nominees is essentially a partial shutdown of our government that hurts our small businesses, our economy, and our ability to remain competitive around the world,” Bennet said in explaining his vote.

Neither Udall nor Bennet was in the Senate when Democrats, as a minority party, opposed eliminating the filibuster when Republicans considered it.

The Republicans, however, never put the question to a vote.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., at the time opposed eliminating the filibuster.


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obstruction my rear. just two more voting along party lines that havent a clue. a procedure that has been in place for 200 years and the democraps changed it to allow hussein to progress his agenda. they should be voted out and sent to siberia.

Cite the article and clause in the US Constitution by which the Founding Fathers indicated they supported super majority requirements for senate confirmations.  As the FF did in fact outline cases they thought required such a high bar, it seems unlikely they left that out by mistake.

While the Sentinel’s editorial on filibuster reform (“Senate goes nuclear”) aptly observes that both Democrats and Republicans have “routinely used the filibuster to block” and/or delay presidential appointments to executive and judicial positions requiring the Senate to “advise and consent”, it implies a “false equivalency” by disingenuously downplaying the extent to which Republicans have unprecedentedly escalated the proliferation of purely obstructive (with no claim of substantive basis) filibusters to stymie President Obama.

Thus, Republican President George Bush encountered only 130 cloture votes in response to Democrats’ filibusters, while President Obama has confronted 307 (by some counts, over 400) such votes as to Republicans’ filibusters – of virtually every kind if legislative initiative except renaming post offices.  Indeed, Republican Senators have repeatedly filibustered their own bills – as soon as President Obama embraced their proposals. 

As to presidential judicial and executive branch appointments, Bush endured only 38 such filibusters in eight years, while President Obama has been subjected to 81 in less than five years.  In fact, in the entire history of the U.S. Senate, only 68 presidential nominees were filibustered prior to President Obama’s inauguration, but 79 since then.  Moreover, on average, President Obama’s judicial nominees have waited roughly three times longer for eventual confirmation than did Bush’s. 

Therefore, as Gary Harmon reports (“Senators defend filibuster vote, cite ‘obstruction’”), Colorado’s two Democratic Senators have articulately defended their filibuster-changing votes”), reforms that are clearly authorized by Article I, Section 5, of our Constitution – and which restored constitutionally-sanctioned “majority rule”.

Meanwhile, PolitiFacts rates Republicans’ excuses for their conduct as “mostly false”.

Nevertheless, at least one woefully misinformed Sentinel reader believes that Democrats actually “changed the U.S. Constitution” by reforming the Senate’s filibuster rules, while Josh Penry ignorantly claims that the Affordable Care Act constitutes “socialism”.

Perhaps the Daily Sentinel should report more facts.

yes indeed. and every damned democap reid,hussein, schumer, and on and on and on and on and on raised holy hell when the republicans tried this when barry hussein soetoro mister nocare obama was a senator.

There we have it.  If a self-proclaimed (and perhaps decorated) combat veteran insists on referring to our twice-elected President and Commander-in-Chief using childish and racist epithets, then it is only right and proper to hereafter address him as Jerry “Sand-for-Brains”.

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