(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
The unintended consequence of the Republican threats, bluster and temper tantrums over President Obama’s cabinet nominees is helping Sen. Jeff Merkley make the case to pass filibuster reform among Senate Democrats.
Cabinet pushback and the case for filibuster reform
by Steve Benen, Maddow Blog
At a certain level, Senate Republicans huffing and puffing about President Obama’s recent nominations seems irrelevant, since the GOP has a 45-seat minority. Unless Republicans intend to start filibustering qualified nominees — a step without precedent in American history — it’s pretty likely the president will be able to pick the members of his own team.
And yet, the aggressive posturing continues. Republicans killed Susan Rice’s nomination before it even happened, based on nothing but misplaced spite. They started trying to crush Jack Lew’s nomination yesterday and Chuck Hagel’s nomination last week. And don’t even get me started on Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) tantrum on John Brennan’s CIA nomination.
There is, however, an unintended consequence to all of this chest-thumping: Republicans are making an excellent case for filibuster reform, just as Senate Democrats have to decide on how best to proceed.
Senate Repubs’ talk about opposing cabinet nominees is helping make the case for Merkley-Udall-Harkin filibuster reform among Senate Dems
— Steven S. Smith (@ProfStevenSmith) January 9, 2013
Republicans say they’ll block Chuck Hagel and Jack Lew. Democrats are using that threat to change the filibuster.
On Wednesday morning, most business reporters confirmed Barack Obama’s next choice to lead the Treasury Department: White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew. Within hours, the same reporters got a statement from Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Budget Committee and a man who’ll have some say over whether Lew gets the job. [..]
He would oppose Barack Obama’s nominee because the nominee had a dangerous amount in common with Barack Obama.
Sessions’ outrage was manna to an unexpected group of people: Democrats. For months, a group of freshman Democratic senators have been trying to nail down 51 votes to reform the filibuster. On Jan. 22, when the Senate votes on this congressional session’s rulebook, they’ll need to keep that group together. Every time a Republican threatens an Obama nominee, their job gets easier. [..]
“If they want more debate on Chuck Hagel at Defense or Jack Lew at Treasury, then let them talk through the weekend,” (Sen. Jeff) Merkley said. “If this former, conservative colleague is so outrageous … they can expend the energy and really filibuster him. Hopefully, then, we’d be able to at least have transparency.”
Keep stomping your feet and shouting your outrage with the our most sincere thanks for making the case to fix filibuster.