Well, well… seems like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid finally went through with his threat. I didn’t think he had it in him to actually do it.
Washington (CNN) – The Democratic-controlled Senate on Thursday voted to invoke the so-called nuclear option out of frustration over Republicans who have been blocking President Barack Obama’s nominees.
The controversial move is a rules change that could make a partisan environment even more divisive because it takes away a sacrosanct right for any party in the Senate minority–the right to filibuster.
Under the old rules it took 60 votes to break a filibuster. The change now allows most filibusters of Obama nominees to be stopped with 51 votes–a simple Senate majority.
The rules change only applies to executive and judicial nominees, not Supreme Court nominees.
This seems to be drastic action being foisted upon the minority party which is the GOP in this case, but when you actually read the Constitution and compare that to what’s been happening for the past decade or so, you realize the Senate has basically gotten too big for its britches. The Founding Fathers did not put the filibuster in the Constitution, nor do they even make reference to such a thing. That was a creation of Senators long after the Founding Fathers did their thing.
“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.”–Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution
I personally feel that when the president wins his election, he has the right to fill his positions as he sees fit. The Advice and Consent power of the Senate should be used to ensure that the person is not a threat to national security or something major like that. The current process where appointments are being held up because of political theater has corrupted the process to where it’s a joke now. Vacancies for appointed positions under Obama are reaching numbers not seen by most other recent presidents.
McConnell stated that Republicans were using the filibuster more moderately than the Democrats did previously, but the above chart shows that is a complete lie. Bush had a total of 91% of his nominees confirmed while Obama is currently sitting at 76%. That does not indicate more moderate use of the filibuster than the previous minority party. If you go back even further, Clinton’s confirmation percentage was 79%.
The number of vacancies under the previous two presidents, when compared to each other, shows how much of an obstacle the continuous use of the filibuster is to filling vacancies. At some point and time, Americans should have gotten fed up with the shenanigans of DC and demanded change. One would think that a president winning the popular vote in a fashion that only two other presidents did in the previous century would give the DC crowd an idea of what the country wanted. Both parties put forth candidates, and the voting public made its decision. It is now time for the House and Senate to honor that decision.
When elections are won, people expect things to happen. Lately, the only thing that has been happening is obstruction. There may be a day when the Democrats wish they had not done away with the filibuster in cases as they have just done. In the long-term, I honestly think it will be a good thing for America. Now, we will get the administration we voted for. If, or should I say when, a party overreaches, they will likely get smacked down by voters in the following election. That’s how our democracy is supposed to work.
- Democrats vote to curb filibusters on appointees (cnsnews.com)
- Why Harry Reid finally went nuclear on the Senate’s filibuster (theweek.com)
- With Nominees Stalled, Democrats Reprise Filibuster Threat (npr.org)