Thursday, February 18, 2010

Republicans use filibuster in record numbers

The Republicans in the Senate have done a good job at obstructing President Barack Obama's agenda as this graphic showing the number of filibusters demonstrates:

Senate tied up in knots with filibusters

Source: McClatchy

However, voters in November may not accept this as an excuse for Obama not getting enough done. The president does have the ability to act using executive orders and recent reports indicate he is ready to use this power. Democrats in the Senate can also push through legislation using the reconciliation process that requires only 51 votes rather than the 60 votes needed for cloture, the process by which a filibuster is ended.


Torgny said...

I do not want to interfer in Obama's politic. But since the Republicans have showed that they have hardly any interest in cooperation, I think it is now time for being toughter. Executive orders and other means.

Mark Scoville said...

Is there any precedent for allowing a secret-ballot vote in the senate that would:

1. free senators from the pressure of lobbyists and the media;

2. hold the senate as a whole responsible for being dysfunctional if not reflective of individual constituencies and;

3. avoid the appearance of heavy-handedness that might worry some democrats come November elections.

Let's face it, openess in government is no guarantee of integrity. Just knowing 'how' a particular senator voted says nothing about 'why' they cast a yea or nay. Any vote may be spun so as to look principalled when in reality it may be cast out of self-interest.

Why not put a little fear into the dark heart of those lobbyists who use openness as a weapon of control over the public. A little secrecy--on select occasions-- may prove useful, as it will inject some doubt into the notion that senators are up for sale and that they can be relied upon to give them a "bang for their buck".

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