Open Thread: The Filibuster

The filibuster is the issue I’m tracking today. There’s a lot going on with Senators seeking to change rules, Republicans threatening more filibusters and pundits trying to figure it all out.

Here’s what I have so far.

Former Senate parliamentarian: Biden could play big role in reconciliation process Washington Post

Former Senate parliamentarian Robert Dove discussed the history of reconciliation on MSNBC Monday morning. “Reconciliation has been used a lot, and I would never use the term illegitimate with regard to reconciliation,” he said of the Senate maneuver, which was created in 1974 and revised in 1980 to restrict it to purely budgetary matters.

Political systems of nations: Germany Ezra Klein Washington Post

As the dysfunctions of our political system have become a more prevalent theme on this blog, I’ve gotten a large number of requests for a series exploring the political systems of other countries. How England runs its health-care system is a lot better understood than how England passed the law that created its health-care system, even though the latter is arguably more important for our purposes.

Solid Evidence Emerges of Senate Republicans’ Unconstitutional Abuse of Power Alternet

Nearly 300 Bills Have Passed in House Since Current 111th Congress Took Office Nearly 14 Months Ago — Many With Broad Bipartisan Support — Only to be Tied Up by Unprecedented Brick Wall of Republican Filibusters in Senate; Minority Party Has No Constitutional Authority to Hold All Legislation Hostage by forcing 60-Vote ‘Super Majority’ in 100-Member Chamber

Should Democrats Call The GOP Filibuster Threat? Press

Holding up bills in the Senate is the Republican plan to prevent Obama and Democrats from scoring any political points. To accomplish this goal, Republicans are threatening to filibuster more than ever, and some Democrats want Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to call their bluff.

Hypocrisy abounds on filibuster issue Inside Bay Area

“THE RIGHT to extended debate is never more important than when one party controls Congress and the White House, and in these cases the filibuster serves as a check on power and preserves our limited government.”

“Change in the Senate rules — that really, I think, would change the character of the Senate forever (and would be) simply majoritarian absolute power on either side (of Congress), and that’s not what the Founders intended.”

Analysis: Republicans setting filibuster record Associate Press

The filibuster — tool of obstruction in the U.S. Senate — is alternately blamed and praised for wilting President Barack Obama’s ambitious agenda. Some even say it’s made the nation ungovernable.

Hartford Courant Crossing Party Lines

Monday, Republican Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Kit Bond of Missouri and George Voinovich of Ohio broke ranks with their party and voted to cut off debate on the jobs legislation. The vote to end debate was 62-30. The bill passed the Senate and now faces action in the House.

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