After Hagel’s Ordeal, Why Would Anyone Want to Serve in Washington?

By: Friday February 22, 2013 9:09 am

Now that a few more Republicans have said they will vote for cloture on Chuck Hagel’s nomination the filibuster against him should end. Next week the Senate will likely again vote on Hagel and he should soon become the next Secretary of Defense. In the short term the Republican’s unprecedented move of blocking the first [...]

Remember When Republicans Thought It “Wrong for a Partisan Minority” to Stop a Judicial Nominee?

By: Thursday May 19, 2011 3:17 pm

Even though judicial nominee Goodwin Liu received the support of a majority of senators today, he will not yet be confirmed to the bench because over 40 Republicans joined in a filibuster to stop his confirmation. This is a good time to remember that a mere six years ago, most Senate Republicans thought it unacceptable [...]

Abolish the Senate: Truly Radical, Yet Wholly Sensible Reform

By: Monday January 10, 2011 4:09 pm

While there seems to be some growing intellectual consensus in support of slightly reforming Senate rules to modestly reduce obstructionism, the idea of returning the Senate to its original intent of a majority rule chamber is still labeled too radical. In reality there is nothing radical about merely bringing back the original Senate rule that [...]

Franken Wants to End Filibuster by Vacation

By: Thursday January 6, 2011 2:49 pm

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is trying to gain support for a modest proposal to change Senate rules to deal with the issue of filibuster support by proxy. The current arrangement allows Senators to support a filibuster even while on a tropical vacation. The rules regarding cloture in the Senate are unlike almost any other rules [...]

New Senate Rules Could Mean Important New Precedents

By: Friday December 31, 2010 10:39 am

The Senate is run on precedent as much as it is governed by its official rules. Precedents will sometimes almost directly contradict the actual rules but the precedents actually govern the behavior of the chamber. In fact, using a ruling from the chair upheld by a simple majority, the Senate can set a precedent that [...]

Don’t Know Much About History: Chris Dodd Defends Filibuster with Fiction

By: Thursday August 5, 2010 6:30 am

It is intolerable to hear senators go on about the importance and traditions of their chamber when they seem to not understand or to willfully ignore both. The latest example is Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) defending the 60-vote threshold for cloture (put in place roughly 40 years ago) by essentially citing made-up history about Congress. [...]

Radical Conservatives Make Sure Government Isn’t the Solution

By: Thursday July 22, 2010 5:00 am

Radical conservatives in the Senate are contributing to unemployment in their own novel way: They are so devoted to blocking action that they extend it even to filling relatively low-level government jobs. They want to prove that government can’t work, by stopping it from working. They’re dedicated to ruining it as part of their nihilistic, self-fulfilling anti-government prophesies.

Byrd Did Not Just Write the Book on Senate, He Rewrote Its Rules

By: Monday June 28, 2010 9:54 am

Many reports on the late Robert Byrd’s long career as a US Senator are pointing out that Byrd literally wrote the book on Senate rules and history. And while it is true that Byrd did write the quintessential four-part history of the chamber, his real importance comes from the fact that it was Byrd himself [...]

Michael Bennet Calls For Mild Filibuster Reform

By: Friday March 5, 2010 10:01 am

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) has a new article in the Huffington Post calling for reforming the filibuster. I’m always glad to hear that more senators realize the Senate rules are broken and need to be changed. At the same time, I’m a little disappointed that Bennet does not just call for restoring the Senate to [...]

Hey, New York Times: Why Don’t You Tell the Senate to Just Pass the House Health Bill?

By: Friday February 26, 2010 1:34 pm

The New York Times editorial page is now basically demanding that the House of Representatives effectively give up their constitutional rights and powers. No longer will they be the writer of laws and originator of all bills dealing with taxes, like the founders intended, but instead they should serve only as a rubber stamp for [...]