Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Slate Magazine: David Weigel: ‘Filibuster Reform Kicks Open the Coffin and Returns From the Dead’

Source:Slate Magazine- Richard Cordray is President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Consumer Financial Bureau.

Source:FRS FreeState

“So far, it seems like only Greg Sargent and HuffPost are noticing: Democrats are talking about filibuster reform again. The latest progress report comes in this story from Ryan Grim and Jennifer Bendery, who find Democratic senators newly frustrated by their failure to pass bills or confirm nominees, especially CFPB head Richard Cordray.

Reid indicated Tuesday that he would bring Cordray’s nomination to a vote in July, and a Senate Democratic aide said that vote will come at a time when Reid is ready to launch into a broader fight over all of Obama’s stalled nominees. The “plan is to wait until immigration is complete before engaging in total all-out nom[ination] fight,” said the aide.

What kind of fight are we talking about? It starts with Democrats claiming to hold 51 votes to end the filibuster on executive branch nominees, because Republicans are being unreasonable. Republicans have tried to blunt the attack by proving that, hey, they’re letting people through and you’re not noticing.

“This President is being treated exceptionally fairly,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, on the floor this week. “The President has recently submitted a few new nominations. I know I have been reminding him that we can’t do anything about vacancies without him first sending up nominees. But again, even with the recent nominations, 58 of 82 nominations still have no nominee.”

Basically, Republicans need to lower the temperature and portray Democrats as unreasonable liars. “More executive branch appointments, confirmations, by and large – it’s been handled in a very bipartisan way,” said Mitch McConnell yesterday in his brief weekly on-camera press conference. This is one reason you saw so much harrumphing when Sen. Ted Cruz bragged to Texas conservatives that “squishes” sold him out on his filibuster of the motion to proceed to debate on guns. That fed into the public impression that Republicans were obstructionists – and, well, they are, for lots of good reasons, but it’s tough to sell when something popular is being obstructed.

So Republicans hype the nominees they let through, ask why Obama isn’t sending more nominees, and (as Daniel Foster pointed out in National Review) nominating conservatives for mandatory seats on bipartisan panels, whenever possible. They also express shock that Democrats would change the rules, or think about it.
“The majority leader said earlier this year that he would not change the rules in any extraordinary way, the nuclear option, in this Congress,” said McConnell on Tuesday. “I take him at his word. The assumption is that will not be done.”

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) clearly explains how the republican minority was abusing senate rules at historic levels, leaving the democrats no choice but to change those rules and lower the number of votes needed from 60 to 51 to overcome obstructionist filibusters of presidential nominees.” 

Source:TDC- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Reid (Democrat, Nevada)

From TDC 

To be completely fair and to put everything out there and I do agree with probably everything that Majority Leader Harry Reid said in his speech, but Senate Democrats led first by Tom Daschle in 2003-04 and later Harry Reid when he was Senate Minority Leader from 2005-06, did the exact same thing that Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell are doing now, that Republicans are in the minority. They’re blocking nominees simply because they don’t like them, or are worried that Democrats will get a partisan advantage in the Federal court system. Which is exactly what Senate Democrats first led by Tom Daschle and later Harry Reid, did to then President George W. Bush, when Democrats were in the minority in the mid 2000s.

I think the only solution here is really clear and I also agree with Leader Reid on this as well. There should be no more filibusters on any executive or judicial nominee, that clears the committee with a majority vote. And in exchange, the minority party led by the Minority Leader can offer amendments to all the nominees that they disapprove of. Amendments like before this nominee is approve, the Senate needs answers to these questions or have these documents turned over first. But those amendments would just need majority approval as well. But at the end of the day, if the President and the Senate has a majority vote for the nominees, they should be approved.

ABC News: ABC Evening News, January 11, 1978

Source:ABC News anchor Frank Reynolds.
"ABC Evening News, January 11, 1978 with Harry Reasoner, Bawa, Frank Reynolds, Howard K Smith" 

The economy was probably the biggest story of 1978, because that’s went it went down hill and didn’t come back until late 1983. In the late 1970s, America had high unemployment, high interest rates, high inflation, and energy shortage and a recession in 1979-80, and all these things started in 1978. 

It was called the Great Deflation that started with the 1973 oil embargo that led to energy shortages. America was getting out of Vietnam and jobs were no longer being created from that war. Economic growth slowing down, unemployment going up. As well as the Federal budget deficit, interest rates and inflation. Even if the economy looked solid in January, of 78 with fairly low unemployment that was about to change very quickly by the spring that year.

As far as the smoking report: I’m not a fan of the nanny state and anyone who is familiar with by blogging knows that. But I am a big fan of education and commonsense regulation and that is what the Carter Administration was doing here. Tobacco obviously comes with serious health risks even if you don’t smoke, but hang out with people who smoke around you. So of course Americans have a right to know what they’re putting in their bodies before they do that, along with having the right to make the decision themselves what exactly they should put in their bodies. So of course no to prohibition when it comes to tobacco and no to the nanny state in general. But Americans have a right to breathe clean air and not to have to pay for others bad decisions. Which is where commonsense regulations and taxes come in.

What was otherwise a pretty bad year politically for President Jimmy Carter and his administration with the economy about to tank, which by itself may have cost President Carter his reelection, was actually pretty good for him in foreign affairs. With the Camp David Accords that he and his administration helped negotiate between Israel and Egypt. A peace agreement that got Egypt to recognize the only Jewish country in the world in Israel and the only Jewish state in the entire Middle East. That is surrounded by big Arab countries like Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, a big Egyptian country in Egypt, and a big Persian country in Iran and a big Turkish country in Turkey. And that peace agreement almost forty-years later has held ever since. President Carter also got the Panama Canal Treaty passed by the Senate as well.

1978, the start of the second year of the Carter Administration that had an economy that was about to go south. Rising interest rates, inflation, rising energy costs and an energy shortage, but they did manage to get some important legislation through Congress. An energy bill and they got the airline industry deregulated which created a lot more competition there. They kept us out of war, they kept the deficit down even dealing with a left-wing leading  Democratic Congress, at least in the House, that wanted all sorts of new spending and new taxes to finance their new programs. So President Carter and his administration, actually managed to get a lot done in their four years.

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