Friday, October 07, 2011

Congressional Games

Setting aside the fact that I apparently know very little about Congressional rules, and the fact that Mitch McConnell is a repugnant ass...

All day -- and really all week -- Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have been involved in a procedural jousting match. McConnell's goal has been to embarrass Democrats -- to force a vote of some kind on the jobs bill President Obama sent to Congress weeks ago, and watch it go down in flames. Reid's goal has been to thwart McConnell, and to call his own vote in the coming days on a modified version of Obama's bill with broad caucus support. That will help Democrats make the case that Republicans alone stand in the way of the American Jobs Act.


And nobody, but nobody, up there on The Hill is actually doing something about the mess we’re in. They’re totally focused on their own game of getting and keeping control of the reins of power. The irony is that once they have them, they have them in title only, because the other “team” then expends all their energy trying to knock them off the hill.

After going back and forth for a couple rounds, detailed here and here, everything seemed to be set in stone. McConnell wouldn't get his vote on Obama's jobs bill directly, but he would use his prerogatives under the Senate rule to force a vote on what's known as a "motion to suspend the rules" -- an arcane tactic that requires a two-thirds vote for passage, and was destined to fail.
A motion to suspend the rules. Now I see why our government doesn’t work the way it should.

McConnell had the Senate rules on his side. His motion, however mischievous, was ruled in order. The stage was set for a vote. That's when Reid whipped out an ace he's had up his sleeve since he became majority leader -- [...] Reid and 50 of his Democrats simply voted to overrule the parliamentarian's decision that McConnell's motion was in order. Presto, McConnell's motion could not come to a vote, and Reid had avoided a political embarrassment -- and eliminated a very small minority right in the Senate.

Jesus. I’m beginning to think we may as well just go ahead and have a dictatorship. On the other hand, if they can pull these sorts of shenanigans, why have they waited until now? Oh, wait. Perhaps because they truly did agree with all the Republican moves they previously pretended to abhor?

Reid has wiped out an extremely small minority right (technically, the right to force a vote on a motion to suspend the rules after cloture has been invoked on a bill to consider a non-germane amendment). But he's done so at the nadir of Democratic power with Republicans strongly positioned to assume the majority in 2012. Republicans are furious about it. And now that Reid's done something that hasn't been done in at least 30 years -- and may be unprecedented -- a narrow GOP majority in 2013 could use it as cover to affect much broader changes to the Senate rules.

As far as I can see, there really aren’t any rules.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. There may be some delay before your comment is published. It all depends on how much time M has in the day. But please comment!