Does anyone now if the Republicans of these Congress have used the Fillibuster more than any
Dems warn: McConnell will regret these filibusters
Mitch McConnell faces a warning from Democrats: Live by the filibuster, die by the filibuster. | AP Photo Close
By MANU RAJU | 12/7/11 11:26 PM EST
The White House and Senate Democrats are issuing a blunt warning to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans: You live by the filibuster, you’ll die by the filibuster.
Furious at Republicans for blocking votes on an appeals court nominee and the head of a new consumer watchdog agency, Democratic saber-rattling is intensifying, with fresh warnings that McConnell — or any new Republican administration — will face major repercussions if they come into power in 2013.
“The standard in the Senate is now being lowered so much so that opposition parties in the future will thwart the will of any administration,” said Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.).
“There’s an old saying, ‘What goes around, comes around,’” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler said the filibuster blocking a vote on D.C. Circuit Court nominee Caitlin Halligan amounted to a “new era of obstructionism.”
“That’s a standard that I don’t think Republicans are going to want to live with in the future if there is someday a Republican president who is going to be appointing nominees,” she said in an interview Wednesday.
To a tremendous degree, Republicans have relied on filibuster threats over the last three years to stop Democratic legislation in its tracks — but they’ve replicated stall tactics used by Democrats when they were in the minority.
Indeed, Republicans complain about Democratic filibusters on President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees, something that McConnell himself has said led to the situation the Senate finds itself in today. And the filibuster has been increasingly used for decades by the Senate minority party to block everything from routine motions to landmark bills, worsening the partisan gridlock.
If they return to the minority, Democrats say they won’t arbitrarily filibuster legislation because of a pure political vendetta.
But Don Stewart, McConnell’s spokesman, said the Democrats’ latest threats are nothing new, saying they launched “serial filibusters” when they were in the minority during the Bush years.
Tensions have been boiling over for the past several months, after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) employed a rarely used maneuver in October to change a Senate precedent by a majority vote of 51 senators, rather than the much higher standard of two-thirds support for changing a rule. Reid said the move was necessary to prevent frivolous tactics used by Republicans.
But that effort could make it much easier for senators to justify changing the rules that govern the institution, with potentially far-reaching implications on passing legislation in a body designed to protect the minority.
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