Thursday, February 14, 2013

Maybe Reid screwed the pooch on climate legislation in 2017, too

Talking Points Memo refers, on Reid's barely-anything changes to the Senate filibuster and how nothing is now happening on Obama's appointments.  To be fair, some of the problem is self-inflicted by Obama putting the task of nominating candidates to all positions somewhere below watching ESPN and filling out his college basketball tournament predictions.

The climate legislation hook is that 60 vote filibuster blockage to pass climate reform in the Senate.  Nothing is going to pass soon anyway, but we do have a shot in 2017.  Chances of success depend in part on how much the filibuster can still trip it up.  Even the strongest filibuster "reform" that was presented this year was weak tea.  I figured we have four years of trying something, finding it's not enough, and then trying something stronger.  By starting us out with barely-anything, we will end up fewer steps down the road to quasi-democratic procedures when climate legislation has a chance.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Democrat controlled Senate has failed to pass or even vote on the Federal Budget in four years and that cannot be filibustered it only requires 51 votes.

Your priorities are odd.

Anonymous said...

So TPM was "impressed" with Hagel's performance at the confirmation hearing? Really?

I as a veteran and a father of one who serves support the blocking of Hagel's confirmation as SOD.


The theory that Republicans will fillibuster any nomination is quickly busted when we look at Secratary of State John Kerry.


The nominations are being looked at individually, as they should. Hagel's performance was deplorable and showed high levels of incompetence. Is that how chuck would prepare to meet with foreign diplomats?


A lot of claims of partisianship from the left side, seems like major projection problem to me.

Anonymous said...

"Incompetence" meaning he is not afraid to mention the elephant in the room: Israel's interests and the USA's interests are not identical. But tell that the dismal morons who pledge allegiance to Benjamin Netanyahu on a regular basis.

The Secretary of Defence's prime task is to ensure readiness of the US armed forces to defend the country and its interests, not to meet diplomats. Hegel rose to Senator for being an enlisted man in a tragic, useless war. No better choice I suggest for the job.

Man with no Name

Anonymous said...

Who is Hegel?

The guy is a buffoon, he would instantly lose respect of the military.

His ever changing positions depending on audience would be a sign of weakness from both enlisted and officers.

I know you do not have the experience to understand this, but it is a very grave concern.


Your reasoning for supporting Hagel primarily comes from who is trying to appoint him. My opposition is from his past and current performance.

Steve Bloom said...

Brian, Reid and the Dem majority keep the filibuster because they like the privileges it and associated rules grant to individual senators. Let's be clear that they can change it any time they want with a simple majority vote. That retaining those rules is more important to them than passing a climate bill says pretty much everything we need to know about them.

dhogaza said...

I think that's really unfair, Steve. Yes, they could have done so, but in doing so, they would've destroyed the very basis underwhich the Senate operates. Yes, the Republican abuse of the filubuster also acts to undermine it. The problem is that if they'd passed the better reform notions put forward by my Senator (Merkley) and done so with majority rule only, a pandora's box would've been opened.

I supported Merkley's proposals, but passing it as had been proposed, well, future Senate mischief could've been very negative (repealing it with a simple majority vote, for starters, a few years from now).

Anonymous said...

When suggesting filibuster reform, Reid has been fooled twice now by the Republicans who said they wouldn't abuse the filibuster and then go right ahead with the abuse. With every passing election, more and more new progressive senators arrive in the chamber and find that nothing happens because of Republican filibuster abuse. Because of this, the talking filibuster will probably become the only tool left in the filibuster arsenal next time around if Reid expects to stay Democratic leader.

Dennis

Anonymous said...



The Constitution says the Senate can make its own rules.

Filibuster is a rule they could change with a simple majority (The "Constitutional" option)

It may be the way things have worked in the Senate for a long time, but it ain't working now at all.

Tradition should not trump everything else.

The Senate has become largely dysfunctional. Even worse: obstructionist.

I wonder what future generations will think about the reluctance (refusal, effectively) of folks like Harry Reid to change their "sacred" rules in order to preserve their influence should they fall into the minority.

I can guess that they will say they put their own selfish interests above those of their children and grandchildren -- and country.


Steve Bloom is right.

~@:>

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

The rethuglicans have no incentive to make things work--after all, their entire thesis is that government can never accomplish any good, and they devote all their efforts in government to proving that. Republicans have gone even beyond conservatism, beyond libertarianism to anarchism and nihilism. The are the enemies of civil society.

dhogaza said...

"Filibuster is a rule they could change with a simple majority (The "Constitutional" option)

It may be the way things have worked in the Senate for a long time, but it ain't working now at all.

Tradition should not trump everything else."

For starters, the very mild reform that took place this year is at least the fourth change.

The most radical change was when a trade-off was made to allow a filibuster to be stopped with a vote of 60 rather than a vote of a 2/3 majority (67), in return for no longer requiring those filibustering to debate on the floor. Also, the Senate changed procedural rules so the bill passing process is no longer single-path. Bills can flow around a filibuster while it couldn't before.

These two changes, which at first don't seem all that related, combined to make the mess we have today.

Merely re-establishing the need to hold the floor and actually debate would largely fix it.

Past changes have been made with the agreement of both parties, though, and ramming changes down the republicans throats is something Reid decided not to do (and I think he largely favors the status quo, unfortunately).

As I said above, though, changing senate rules at the whim of one party would open something of a pandora's box. I can understand the hesitancy of doing so.

Anonymous said...

The rethuglicans have no incentive to make things work--after all, their entire thesis is that government can never accomplish any good, and they devote all their efforts in government to proving that. Republicans have gone even beyond conservatism, beyond libertarianism to anarchism and nihilism. The are the enemies of civil society.

a_ray seems to be on his way to be the next mass shooter in the country.


Dhogaza,
We do not agree on much and this might get you in trouble with your pals here, but I agree with you 100% on the filibuster rules changes and do appreciate the accurate historical information that you provided.

dhogaza said...

"We do not agree on much and this might get you in trouble with your pals here, but I agree with you 100% on the filibuster rules changes and do appreciate the accurate historical information that you provided."

I'm always accurate. You could learn to be, too. It isn't as hard as might think.

Anonymous said...

"I'm always accurate. You could learn to be, too. It isn't as hard as might think."


;-)

That made me laugh in a good light hearted way.

Hey have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

OT: Extremely rare meteor event in Russia. Sonic boom from exploding fireball injured lots of people, mostly cuts from broken glass. No deaths reported. Loads of videos, lots of extraordinary data.
Be really cool if they can estimate the orbit and if they pick up pieces. The 'popping' noises after the boom are likely due to fragments exploding.

From Snow Bunny

Hank Roberts said...

... all that the vested interests need at this point is enough political power to prevent anything from changing much. And, well, well, what do you know?!!!

kT said...

There should be plenty of pieces to pick up. It went terminal and parabolic at the end of the run.

I already saw photos of a couple of pieces around the lake impact site. They could be carbonaceaous, they are rather dark and someone is already hawking black stones.

Smith and Rohrabacker are already calling for hearing too! I've got a space program to sell those guys. Too bad it all just got cut.

Anonymous said...

O/T

Further vindication for Dr Charles Monnett.

http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/2013/02/14/drowned-polar-bear-paper-vindicated-%E2%80%93-again/

barry.

trrll said...

Over the years, the Senate has made filibuster rules more and more friendly to obstructionism, thereby enhancing the power of individual Senators at the expense of the Senate and the nation as a whole. While the filibuster has some value, we need a return to the standard that the filibuster must require a real, ongoing commitment, requiring that Senators actually stand up and talk in order to engage in a filibuster.

Anonymous said...

Since Barry brought up Monnett.

Where has Union of Concerned Scientists been throughout the whole sorry Monnett inquisition?

It didn't take a genius to see from almost the getgo that Monnett was being unduly harassed for reasons that had nothing to do with science.

The "we need to let the investigation take its course" excuse that UCS effectively gave sounded like something straight from the mouth of George Bush during the Scooterpie Libby affair.

UCS might have to remove "concerned" from their name after this -- to avoid false advertising.

Seems like they just didn't give a damn in the case of Monnett.

~@:>

dhogaza said...

trrll:

"Over the years, the Senate has made filibuster rules more and more friendly to obstructionism, thereby enhancing the power of individual Senators at the expense of the Senate and the nation as a whole. "

The relevant changes were in the 1970s.

First came the changes in the 1970s to allow multi-tracking of senate bills. LBJ, as majority leader in the 1950s, had gotten the first civil rights bill passed through the senate in large part by manipulating the calendar so other legislation near-and-dear to dixiecrats were blocked until the civil rights bill was passed. Byrd, a Dixiecrat at the time, wrote the multi-track rules (which meant that filibustering didn't block other legislation) and helped get them passed in the early 1970s.

Then later in the 1970s came the second part, dropping the majority requirement from 2/3 to 3/5, but also removing the need to hold the floor while filibustring.

These three changes led to the unintended consequences we see today. At first those in the Senate didn't seem to understand the consequences of the three changes working in concert.

But, boy, have republicans figured it out now ...

There have been no recent changes responsible for the increase in filibustering.

dhogaza said...

Union of Concerned Scientists is concerned with policy, not the internal infighting of various US and state agencies, natural resource extraction industries, and individual scientists squeezed in the middle.

That's why PEER was originally formed (originally to protect USFS whistleblowers during the old-growth wars in the PNW, as the result of persecution of someone on the staff of the Willamette NF who spoke out about the lies being told by the forest and the entire USFS to the public and Congress).

Back in the 80s, in particular, speaking up against USFS old-growth management practices and the fact that the USFS overall harvest in the PNW was about twice that of legally-mandated sustained yield levels got you reassigned, demoted, or fired depending on the seriousness of your transaction (i.e. how loudly you spoke the truth).

The organization that grew to protect USFS whistleblowers then expanded to become PEER, as the problem in general was by no means restricted to the USFS.

Steve Bloom said...

"I supported Merkley's proposals, but passing it as had been proposed, well, future Senate mischief could've been very negative (repealing it with a simple majority vote, for starters, a few years from now)."

Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but did you think this through all the way, dhogaza? You seem to implying that once back in power Republicans might respond to a majority vote rule change (which Merkley's proposals fell short of, but that's beside the point) by reinstituting a supermajority. Really? And how is that a problem for anyone but themselves?

Anonymous said...

"Union of Concerned Scientists is concerned with policy, not the internal infighting of various US and state agencies, natural resource extraction industries, and individual scientists squeezed in the middle."

Well, during the Bush years they (UCS) seemed very "concerned" about the treatment of individual scientists (and rightly so) when that treatment appeared to pervert or undermine the integrity of the scientific process (which certainly seems to apply in the case of Monnett).


It's worth noting that UCS (specifically the scientific integrity division) have actually NOT claimed the case falls outside their purview, only that they wished to let the IG investigation run its course.

~@:>

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anon, do you really think the grunts give a flying fuck who the defense secretary is--or the Commander in Chief for that matter? Do you even know anyone in the military? Or are they beneath the notice of a privileged white assclam like you?

dhogaza said...

Steve Bloom:

"Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but did you think this through all the way, dhogaza? You seem to implying that once back in power Republicans might respond to a majority vote rule change (which Merkley's proposals fell short of, but that's beside the point) by reinstituting a supermajority. Really? And how is that a problem for anyone but themselves?"

Apparently some people think the only Senate rule worth dithering over is the filibuster, and if real reform (which I support) had been passed by simple majority rule, all would be fixed.

I've thought through, and regarding filibuster, have more or less reached the same conclusion, which is why I said I supported Merkely's proposal.

But, given how the current filibuster disaster was an unintended consequence of three separate Senate decisions in the past, EACH MEANT TO STREAMLINE THE PROCESS, and given how it has back-fired and done the opposite, making the filibuster even more effective than it was in the ante-bellum period ...

I think it's worthwhile to be cautious.

I'd love for it to be fixed in some way that a simple majority can't simply revoke it, but ... if you pass it thus, it can be repealed thus, and with many other evil things attached if our modern Republican Party gets control of the Senate.

dhogaza said...

"Well, during the Bush years they (UCS) seemed very "concerned" about the treatment of individual scientists (and rightly so) when that treatment appeared to pervert or undermine the integrity of the scientific process (which certainly seems to apply in the case of Monnett)."

Which agency scientist would this apply to? A cite would be nice.

"It's worth noting that UCS (specifically the scientific integrity division) have actually NOT claimed the case falls outside their purview, only that they wished to let the IG investigation run its course."

Which of course is totally consistent with their mission statement that they're a policy-oriented group, and not down in the nitty-gritty inter-agency fights which are, essentially, political.

PEER is younger than the UCS. If the UCS functioned as you believe it should, PEER would have no reason to exist.

Having a long-term background in the NGO world, this doesn't bother me a twit. NGOs tend to focus on relatively narrow areas, as they should. Just as companies should focus on what they're good at. UCS has a particular focus, PEER has another. A UCS advocate might well rant that PEER doesn't take a particular position on a particular policy, while PEER might say "as long as our members can speak out without being fired, it meets our charter".

Nothing wrong with that.
4

Anonymous said...

a_ray,

I am a veteran, my father was, his father was and I have a child their spouse actively serving.

And yes the enlisted (grunts is an affectionate term for Marines who are 03 infantry btw) do care about who the President and SOD are and what they say and do.

You may want to check the education level of enlisted personnel as a whole compared to the civilian population, it might just surprise you. The enlisted are not mindless drones you know.


"Educational Trends and Pay Targeting by DoD
The proportion of the enlisted force with postsecondary
education (some college, a two-year associate’s degree, a
bachelor’s degree, or higher) rose from 30 percent in
1985 to 74 percent in 1999 and continues to increase.
Among the most senior personnel—those in pay grades
E-8 and E-9—more than half now have at least an associate’s
degree.
The trend toward higher educational attainment is not
limited to the enlisted force. In the U.S. population as a
whole, the proportion of high school graduates between
the ages of 25 and 29 with at least some postsecondary
education rose from 52 percent in 1990 to 66 percent in
2000.3 That trend is driven in part by increases in the pay
of workers with postsecondary education relative to the
pay of high school graduates."

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/51xx/doc5108/02-23-enlistedpersonnel.pdf



You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

Changing the Senate filibuster rule to get a meaningful climate mitigation bill passed is far more important than any hypothetical "risk" associated with changing the rule.

Climate change is without a doubt THE most important issue that Congress faces (and perhaps will EVER face) and if the Democrats are really serious about addressing it, they should be willing to take the risk that they might lose some battles in the future on less critical issues if they change the filibuster rule.

~@:>

Anonymous said...

I see KT really goes off his rocker and now says the entire enlisted core of the US military are hired thugs.

Is there not a sane voice on this site?



Brian you are an elected official at this point it might be wise to come in and distance yourself from the KT comments.


Kt you seem to be a very bitter and hateful person, such a pity.

kT said...

Just the anonymous grunts like you. The upper echelons are merely bureaucrats for the military industrial complex.

you seem to be a very bitter and hateful person

No, I'm just an American citizen not afraid to exercise my constitutionally guaranteed right in insult the military. I am so appreciative that you all saved us from the invading North Vietnamese airforce and navy, nipping it so nicely in the bud at the Gulf of Tonkin, just so I can enjoy my freedom from North Vietnamese rule and insult your bravery with impunity. Ditto the gulf wars.

You want more? I've got plenty.

Anonymous said...

You seem to be a very bitter and hateful person, especially on the military.

Sad.

kT said...

Can you quantify that in terms of SI units of bitterness and hatefulness?

Why should I be bitter that a bunch of hired thugs masquarading under a veil of patriotism blew through many trillions of dollars of excess taxpayer funds with impunity, instead choosing to manufacture weapons for real wars against imaginary foes and then selling them in the aftermarket to the highest bidders? Nothing wrong with that, right? It's just business! And you grunts swallow the patriotic bullshit like it was a kind of holy wine and crackers.

I don't think it's sad at all, in fact, I view it as comedy since it was easily predictable that your behavior would eventually within decades come back and bite you in your fake patriotic red asses.

EliRabett said...

Boys (one assumes) this is already stupid and offputting. Go to your corners and come out making nice - Mom Rabett

Anonymous said...

KT,

When did I say I believed in God?


Just making things up, like all your claims.

All talk, no scorboard. In addition to being a hateful BS'er, you are a punk.


Glad you are on Eli's team. OTOH at least you are brave (dumb) enough to be blatantly open with how you feel. The other bunnies must be afraid to speak as clearly and openly as you. Since they have not disagreed with you at all, and they do like to disagree when people make stupid crazy posts, I accept taht as deep down they agree with you.


You guys at RR should make KT your Captain.

EliRabett said...

Mom Rabett agrees with Eli to truncate the KT Anon tete a tete with extreme prejudice. It is in a deep bunker and may return at the Rabett Hole when Eli has access to a faster connection