Let Them Filibuster

strom thurmond Froma Harrop says it today in The Sunday ProJo, Doris Kearns Goodwin said it last week on The Daily Show, and I’ve been saying it for weeks — although I seem not to have actually written it down anywhere so I can’t prove it — let the Republicans be seen filibustering a Health Care Reform bill. One reason I prefer to wait for Harrop to write about important issues is that she does research and supports her arguments with facts and logic. I should try that sometime. Today she cites Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell,

Rendell urged Democrats to get the bill “as strong as they can” and put it through the Senate reconciliation process, which requires only 51 votes. Make the Republicans filibuster it, he said. “Call their bluff.”

Yeah, let ’em filibuster. Let Republicans filibuster a bill that would close the “doughnut” hole in Medicare drug benefits and add Medicare coverage for preventive screening services. Let them kill heath-care reform, without which the cost of employer-sponsored coverage for families would nearly double by 2019, and the number of Americans without coverage would balloon to 57 million. Let them support a system that in seven short years would leave $0 in the Medicare hospital-insurance trust fund.

As Doris KG explained it — They have to stay on their feet, only drink milk or water, and they can’t go to the bathroom. They’re gonna look like jerks! The Republicans still hold the record with Strom Thurmond at 24 hours and 18 minutes, but that was before Depends (now in small, medium, large, and the newly introduced Fill It Buster! with velcro cloture).

5 thoughts on “Let Them Filibuster”

  1. Wess, I’m on-board, but let’s get our facts straight: Mexico and Turkey are developed nations. When you start spouting non-truths you make our side look as bad as theirs.

  2. Since you’ve got your finger on the pulse, so to speak, could you answer something that’s been baffling me since this all started?

    Why is it that something that every other developed nation in the world can do, we can’t?

  3. There won’t be a filibuster. The bill won’t come to the floor. While many understand the need for health care reform, the vast majority of Americans don’t want the bill in anywhere near it’s current form. They will feel even more negative towards it when they learn that the debt ceiling will be raised to $14.3 TRILLION!!

    Luckily, the folks we elected to do our bidding may have decided to listen to what the majority who elected them actually wants. Hopefully, a sensible series of reforms will be drafted and enacted.

  4. In ‘Worse Than Watergate’ (2004), John W. Dean explains that in traditional filibusters, some members used a special bottle designed for cross-country motorcoach drivers, which could be concealed under clothing, so that they wouldn’t have to leave the floor.

    It’s my understanding, however, that current rules do not require these kinds of heroics, and are much more procedural in nature. This has apparently made the Senate more civil, but also made it much easier to engage in filibuster. In effect (and again, as I believe I understand it), the threat alone is the same as actually doing it.

    However, the rule can be changed by simple majority vote (requiring no cloture). Or maybe not, because of some rule requiring a three-fifths majority (60 votes) to change the rules. But that might be invalid. And there seem to be a couple unanswered questions about what certain constitutional provisions pertaining to Senate rules really require.

    I admit I’m confused. But I feel the same way, that Democrats should go find their spines, call the Republican bluff, and dare them to filibuster the proposed reforms.

    For myself, I’m very suspicious of the constitutionality of the cloture rule, and even the filibuster itself. But that’s a matter for the courts to decide, I suppose.

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