Republicans Prepare to Kill Jobs; Democrats Angle for Majority Leader

Brian Beutler reports that the Republicans are prepping to make sure no additional support for jobs gets passed next week.

Senate Democrats want to vote on the first installment of a jobs package as early as Monday, amping up the pressure on Republicans to get aboard. But for the moment, they’re not biting.

“We’ll have a vote on a jobs bill on Monday,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said at a press conference today.

There’s just one wrinkle: According to the Senate’s top vote counter, there is currently no Republican support for the proposal Democrats are putting forth–and with Scott Brown to be seated today as the 41st Republican Senator, they’ll need at least one member of the minority to come aboard.

“You need two to tango. And you need Republicans for bipartisanship,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Now, there’s an interesting subplot to this.

Current Majority Leader (and very endangered incumbent) Harry Reid says no Republicans currently support the bill.

Majority Whip and second-most senior Democratic Senator Dick Durbin suggests there are no Republicans supporting the bill.

Meanwhile, Vice Chairman and third-most senior Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has been working on a deal–at least for tax credits for businesses that create jobs–with Republican Orrin Hatch.

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) released a plan Wednesday to give tax breaks to companies that add new workers, a proposal that is likely to become a key component of the jobs bill Senate Democratic leaders are hoping to unveil this week.President Obama has called for employers to receive a $5,000 tax credit for each new employee they hire, while other lawmakers have floated different proposals for a job tax credit. The Schumer-Hatch plan, which would allow companies to avoid paying Social Security taxes for the duration of 2010 on each unemployed worker they hire, appears to have the most momentum in the Senate.

“Our payroll tax cut is a simple, cost-effective and bipartisan solution. It will help put more Americans to work right away,” Schumer said in a press release. Hatch added: “While Senator Schumer and I disagree on most issues, we’ve been able to come together on an affordable, effective and targeted proposal to get the American people back to work.”

Democratic leaders emphasize that they haven’t yet settled on an exact combination of items that will go in the Senate’s jobs package, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested Wednesday that he was taking a close look at the Schumer-Hatch bill.

Mind you, the Schumer-Hatch deal only deals with one aspect of the deal, not with things like COBRA subsidy extension. And I’ve got concerns about any plan that defunds social security.

Nevertheless, it seems that the drama over whether Democrats will squabble themselves into irrelevance–and/or whether Republicans will sacrifice the interests of their constituents for partisan gain is playing out large on the jobs front.

Whatever is happening, it is preventing Americans from getting back to work.

    • DWBartoo says:

      The fate of the Roman Republic was, once upon a time, “instructive”, Jim, occupying the concerns of a number of those we term the “founding fathers” …

      However, Rome was neither exceptional nor Gawd’s chosen people … and the worries and concerns once deeply considered, are, in today’s America, of no moment whatsoever.

      Only a few of us have these thoughts, or find them creeping into our sweet dreams of world domination and unfettered greed …

      Ignore them, and they will go away.

      (Not really, but then … it is not our fate …)


  1. BayStateLibrul says:

    Many economists predict a “job-less” economic scene for the next 3-5 years.

    How do we deal with that reality?

    One thing is certain, don’t ask the Junior Senator, Mr. Brown.

    His solution and every other fucking repub is to reduce taxes.

    • MarkH says:

      They’re so so one-track minded. Remember, Clinton did both spending cuts and tax raises to get the right results. Today we have different challenges and as far as I know none of them involves ONLY tax cuts.

  2. selise says:

    There’s just one wrinkle: According to the Senate’s top vote counter, there is currently no Republican support for the proposal Democrats are putting forth–and with Scott Brown to be seated today as the 41st Republican Senator, they’ll need at least one member of the minority to come aboard

    marcy, have you been reading powwow’s research and analysis on this? i’ll get you some good links if not — it really seems that according to the senate rules, as they currently exist, the dems could just let the republicans filibuster — if they dared — and at the end (in addition to the physical demands of a filibuster, there are limits in the rules) the dem could pass their legislation by simple majority. this is the alternative procedure to a cloture vote, which functions to prevent a filibuster.

    if powwow is right, and to my knowledge powwow has never been wrong about senate procedure, then the dems don’t actually need 60 votes to pass anything. just a simple majority.

    • bmaz says:

      I believe that is correct and have been trying to convey that somewhere else this morning. Playing it out does consume a LOT of time though, and has not been done in a long time. Also takes a little guts by Harry Reid, and he has none.

      • selise says:

        excellent! thank you! thank you!

        i don’t think it needs to consume more than a few weeks (at the very most if there is a determined and united republican caucus), and at this point after wasting months, a few weeks to really accomplish something good would be imo be a major success to cheer.

        Also takes a little guts by Harry Reid, and he has none.

        there, i think, you’ve identified a real part of the problem. would reid go against the wishes of his caucus and his party (led by obama) to let the republicans filibuster? i don’t know, but i think we should try to shame them into it — and certainly not let him get away with lying to us regarding the bs “need” for 60 votes.

        the dem campaign to end the filibuster (that hasn’t been used in years) is really pissing me off. it’s just another attempt to distract us on a wild goose chase (or with a shiny object if you prefer that metaphor), so that we’re too busy and distracted to instead hold the dems accountable.

        thank you bmaz! is there anything i can do to help? i’m fired up and pissed off *g*

          • selise says:

            how can we find out for sure? i asked kagro x, but there was no response. powwow’s suggestion was to try to find someone to question a senator on the issue:

            What I am sorry not to see come out of my repeated explanations here, or from those of others elsewhere, is at least one reporter, somewhere, putting a Democratic Senator on the spot about the issue, with informed, pointed questions and follow-ups that would expose misdirection or sleights-of-hand in the Senate majority’s position about the filibuster – to, at a minimum, help advance the argument. But Party loyalists obviously don’t want to embarrass Party leadership or powerful people who grant them an interview – and most of the few non-MSM reporters with access to Senators who would be likely candidates to ask such questions qualify as Democratic loyalists, I think, and/or don’t feel well-enough informed to broach the topic with a skilled politician’s BS lying in wait. So, there’s that too.

            anyway, here is the latest discussion thread with powwow in case it is of any use to you:


          • WilliamOckham says:

            They only way to make that really work would be to create one giant bundle of legislation (HCR, Jobs, energy, the whole works) and have the House pass it first. Then, you can let them filibuster. When you break that, you recess the Senate and Obama recess appoints all his nominees.

            • MarkH says:

              Now THAT is what I would call hard-ball politics.

              Seriously though, I don’t think Dems need to do that just yet.

        • Jane Hamsher says:

          Selise, can you do a post on Seminal about this? I’ve been trying to understand how this works and can’t get a clear point of debate. You are very good at documenting these things and that would be very helpful.

          • selise says:

            powwow is the expert but here’s what i can probably do: i can study everything powwow has written and linked to this weekend (fortunately some of the background i’ve read before) and write a summary (hopefully powwow will be around to check my work). then i can call the senate parliamentarian on monday and post a diary with or without their response (with it if i can get one). would that be helpful?

            i sure would like to find out for sure if powwow has it right (i haven’t seen anything to contradict it yet).

            • powwow says:

              selise, if you do indeed decide to go ahead with that plan, I’ll happily do my best to clarify anything you need more information or feedback about, during the research and drafting of your diary, here in this thread. I assume the comments here will remain open for the next day or two, so I’ll check back regularly to look for any questions you may post. [Many thanks for even offering to take the project on. If you can actually get concrete feedback to your (obviously informed) questions from the Senate Parliamentarian on this topic, to boot, you should definitely make some news…]

              For anyone who can’t yet get a clear vision of how a real filibuster would work, I reworded things somewhat in another stab at clarifying the issue in a comment (#45, I think) in dday’s front-page thread about Shelby today.

              IF we ever do get everyone on the same page about the basic facts of Senate process and rules, I think the real issue of contention will be revealed to be the issue that undergirds selise’s preference for the real filibuster: more informed debate, not less, regardless of which Party it might favor.

              Note, in that regard, that, based on this article recounting a Q&A that Klein held with an author writing a book about the filibuster (at least part of which I think Klein had read), since November 13, 2009 Ezra Klein has to have known that a “real” filibuster can still be forced in the Senate. I don’t know exactly what Klein’s been saying since then about the filibuster (though I’ve absorbed the fact that he seems to very much follow the Democratic Party leadership line), but I have the impression that he’s been strongly advocating rule changes to somehow ease cloture and/or impede real filibusters, rather than that Democrats actually start forcing real filibusters (if not saying that real filibusters themselves are no longer possible, as he was at one point).

              The author in Klein’s Q&A made the following statement about the seven-week-plus filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act:

              The best example of this is the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It was the longest debate in the Senate’s history. But the majority wasn’t trying to wait out the Southerners. Instead, they just let them talk, and would send their guys down, and argue against them when they would, for instance, deny that lynchings happen in the South. This helped public opinion turn.

              I don’t think that’s a very precise description, actually, although apparently the majority did make the long filibuster less onerous by not forcing all-night sessions, etc., and there was definitely some back and forth in the debate. Basically the majority committed to letting the Southerners talk themselves out, while also countering their arguments in the media, if not on the Senate floor. Until finally the majority filed, and passed with more than 67 votes, a cloture motion, to end the weeks-long filibuster. The dissertation I linked to in Jon’s recent thread is an excellent resource for learning how that debate and filibuster transpired – starting at about PDF Page 321, through PDF Page 326 for the actual cloture vote (a “gag rule,” as the Southerners called it, which passed 71-29), following which more than 100 pending amendments were finally addressed.

              After final passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Finley importantly notes:

              [Georgia’s Richard] Russell fully believed that Hubert Humphrey’s handling of the civil rights fight ultimately played the largest role in limiting southern violence. By allowing the [Southern] caucus considerable time to debate the measure, the Minnesotan helped white southerners to recognize that their region had been accorded the necessary freedom to state its case in the court of public opinion. As a result, the defenders of segregation could not claim that the measure was railroaded through the Senate. Being an honorable people, the region’s white citizenry, Russell believed, would accept the chamber’s verdict because it resulted from a fair fight in which their intrepid senators had an unfettered forum to defend segregation.
              – Keith M. Finley

              Thus, the majority wasn’t afraid of giving the minority a platform to make their case to the best of their ability, even on a white-hot subject and for weeks at a time, because they were confident in the majority position and were willing to debate and defend it on its merits. Whereas if you read many of the warnings about allowing real filibusters today from Democratic Party backers, you see a fear and trepidation about giving Republicans any such platform to make their case to the public. That’s either unwarranted fear of letting the people make up their own minds, or concern that the Democratic position is somehow less popular, and can’t be strongly defended and argued to a successful conclusion (or it’s some other, even less commendable, motivation).

              Eventually, a clearcut difference of opinion – between those who are most focused on protecting Party power, and those who are most focused on seeking the best legislative solutions regardless of Party – about who should be allowed to “get” Senate floor time to make their case to the public – regardless of whether or not they can win the day in actual votes – is probably where this debate about the “filibuster” is headed.

              • selise says:

                thank you powwow!!!

                this reminds me of aug 2007 when your research/analysis/comments on the passage of the PAA prompted me to look more deeply than i had been and document what i found (eventually in three diaries covering almost a year of legislative battles).

                i have very occasionally called the senate parliamentarian’s office in the past and usually have been connected with someone not at all adverse to sharing senate process minutia sometimes at length and with more detail that i’m capable of absorbing quickly (a couple of times i’ve the bad luck to get someone who seemed to think that talking with an interested citizen was beneath was a waste of their time.) anyway, i don’t call until i’m stymied — so first order of business is to attempt to educate myself.

                IF we ever do get everyone on the same page about the basic facts of Senate process and rules, I think the real issue of contention will be revealed to be the issue that undergirds selise’s preference for the real filibuster: more informed debate, not less, regardless of which Party it might favor.

                i agree there are two components: clarifying the basic facts of senate rules and then each person’s individual preferences (and you’ve got mine down exactly: “more informed debate, not less”). my thinking at the moment is to attempt to steer clear of the second issue and just focus on the first for this weekend. i usually spend far more time reading and thinking before trying to write up anything of substance, but i’ll do what i can and many many thanks for your offer to check back here to help with questions, etc. just so you don’t feel obliged to keep checking back more frequently than necessary, here is my tentative plan: i’m going to try to finish organizing my sources and do some reading today (also have real life chores and some other matters to attend to) and have most of tomorrow free to focus. at the moment i’m thinking that i’ll post a list of sources tomorrow morning so that you could, if convenient, take a look at them at some point tomorrow just to let me know if there is anything of significance i’m missing and should read also. depending on how that goes i may have questions on the reading later tomorrow and i’ll try to post something here in the comments tomorrow evening or early mon morning for your review/discussion if convenient (before calling the senate parliamentarian’s office and before posting a diary.)

                later, powwow. and again, many thanks!

                • powwow says:

                  Sounds like a plan to me, selise.

                  I think your idea of going directly to the Senate Parliamentarian, if need be, is a great one. Knowing that you’ve had success going that route before – no need to try to pin down some slippery politician – only adds to its attraction.

                  I agree that the second ‘pro/con genuine debate’ component is a separate one that would likely only confusingly complicate a rule-focused diary at this time. Though I hope you don’t completely omit your own advocacy for debate: It’s something that many desperate for good ends tend to deride (‘move the question already!’ kind of impatience) – but when almost half the nation’s people passionately believe one thing, and the other, larger half really wants something that threatens those passionate beliefs, if that’s reflected in the Senate, as it should be, it seems likely to be counterproductive to argue that the larger group should – even if they numerically have the power and ability to do so – force their preferred policy, superficially-debated, on the opposing Senate minority, without at least first letting that minority, and thus the large portion of the nation it represents, fully and fairly vent its criticisms.

                  I will check back in again regularly tomorrow and also Monday to see what’s what (but please don’t feel any pressure from me to speed things up to keep to your proposed schedule, if you get bogged down). Since this comment thread may close by late Sunday or Monday, as a Plan B, I’ll suggest leaving your question(s) in whatever Emptywheel/bmaz thread is then current (with their forebearance), and we can pick up the discussion again there.

                  Good Luck!

                  • bayofarizona says:

                    I have been reading your posts. I believe you are mistaken in your analysis of the “two-speech rule.” A pdf CRS-RL30360 that you posted in one of your comments says on page 16 that 1) Current effective precedents have held that suggesting the absence of a quorum does not constitute a speech 2)the 2 speech limit per legislative day is on the current question – introducing an amendment would be a new question, and all senators would be able to give 2 speeches on that, and so on.

                    So Cons can endlessly call for quorum and attempt to attach flag burning and abortion amendments forever. The Senate’s permanent state is debate.

                    Another important thing to note about the 1975 reforms is the change from Senators present and voting to all Senators duly sworn in. This puts the burden on the majority rather than the minority as previously – otherwise we could just wait for 2 R’s to go to the bathroom and 59 votes get us to 3/5ths.

                    • powwow says:

                      Thanks for the feedback, bayofarizona. You are focusing on one of the key procedures at issue in the conduct of a “real” filibuster.

                      That CRS report (RL30360) is indeed the report I excerpted in this Seminal diary. I assume that’s where you saw the link, and so you don’t need me to repeat the rest of what I wrote in that diary and its comments.

                      There are two options for a cite to “Page 16” in that CRS report – the PDF page number, or the report page number (“CRS-16”). But both CRS-16 and PDF Page 16 of 27 (which is CRS-13) are discussing the cloture process (under Rule 22) – a process which is not relevant to an actual, non-Rule 22 filibuster. [See below for the page excerpt I think you meant.]

                      If you read my diary carefully, you’ll note that I do not say that suggesting the absence of a quorum is a “speech.” I say that requesting the absence of a quorum causes the Senator doing so to yield the floor, thereby making whatever comments he or she had been making before that request count as one of their two speeches on the question. Furthermore, repeated live quorum calls can not be made (enforceable by a point of order) unless intervening business takes place between them – and debate or speech does not qualify as such “intervening business.”

                      You are absolutely right that the “two-speech” rule applies to the current question in front of the Senate – meaning a motion to proceed, or an amendment, or the underlying bill or conference report itself. So there could indeed be multiple opportunities for one Senator to have “two speeches” (on each of those questions) if and when the Senate moves from one matter to another. But the majority has the ability (by withholding unanimous consent and using other parliamentary tactics) to prevent the Senate from moving from one question to the next if they care to do so. [As an example, during the weeks-long 1964 Civil Rights Act filibuster, something like 400 amendments were filed on the underlying bill, but none were called up or made a part of the filibuster until the filibuster had ended (after the minority had had its say, the majority finally filed a cloture motion on the underlying bill as introduced, which passed, and thus brought the filibuster debate to a close, at which point the Senate started debating and voting on some of those amendments).]

                      No single Senator has the right to set aside the pending business of the Senate to call up an amendment if another Senator objects, so the minority can’t do much to play games in that regard with the two-speech rule. [Note too that calling up an amendment, if no objection is made, causes the Senator to lose the floor, even if unanimous consent is received to dispense with its reading.] And a debatable question has to be formally before the Senate before anyone can attempt to “permanently debate” it.

                      Yes, 60 is now the fixed, minimum number for passage of a cloture motion, regardless of absences, etc. But, again, if you read more of my comments (in this case #45 in the dday Shelby thread I noted above in 35, might be most helpful), you’ll see, if you don’t already, that I am advocating a non-cloture process, where a simple Constitutional majority (51) is all that the majority needs to maintain during a real filibuster, whenever the absence of a quorum is suggested by those filibustering.

                      Something else to note about the “two-speech” rule is that Senate precedent plays an important part in how it is defined and enforced (such as the precedent that speech or debate does not qualify as “intervening business,” which must transpire between one live quorum call and the next). And the Senate majority, again, has the ability to prevent (most) qualifying “intervening business” from being presented, if it works the floor well.

                      Which reminds me that I should leave these important “Riddick’s Senate Procedure” links for selise, with a caution that it’s easy to get lost in all the separate PDFs (everyone in the Senate with access to a hard copy of this Riddick’s Manual is way ahead of us):


                      This link may be clearer and easier to use:


                      [The cited CRS report links to different pages in Riddick’s Manual, and Riddick’s Manual is the source that the Senate Parliamentarian would be citing to on most questions that are not about simple Senate rules.]

                      I think this is probably the section that you were referring to as Page “16,” bayofarizona – from PDF Page 6 of 27 [CRS-3] in that CRS report:

                      Senators rarely invoke the two-speech rule because they generally do not believe that there is any need to do so. Sometimes, however, they may insist that the two-speech rule be enforced, as a means of attempting to overcome a filibuster. On such occasions, nevertheless, Senators often can circumvent the two-speech rule by making a motion or offering an amendment that constitutes a new and different debatable question. For example, each Senator can make two speeches on each bill, each first-degree amendment to a bill, and each second-degree amendment to each of those amendments as well.

                      In recent practice, the Senate considers that being recognized and engaging in debate constitutes a speech. The Senate, however, does not consider “that recognition for any purpose [constitutes] a speech.” Currently effective precedents have held that “certain procedural motions and requests were examples of actions that did not constitute speeches for purposes of the two speech rule.” These matters include such things as making a parliamentary inquiry and suggesting the absence of a quorum.3 Nevertheless, if a Senator is recognized for a substantive comment, however brief, on the pending question, that remark may count as a speech.

                      I hope it’s clear to you now, or will be if you read a bit further in some of the recent threads where we’ve discussed this, that I haven’t been saying anything contrary to that information in my comments or diaries about the real filibuster. Based on that excerpt alone, you were right to note the fact that the endless-amendment approach described there makes it sound like a feasible way to avoid the two-speech rule – but it is not as big a loophole as it sounds. [As an aside to selise, here, note that I don’t think that I’ve explicitly sourced the latter fact to anything except the actual (non-filibuster) floor debate on the health care bill – where, say, Grassley would ask to call up an amendment, and Baucus would object, so Grassley couldn’t get his amendment before the Senate. So a Riddick’s or other cite for that would probably be a good idea.]

                      Another FYI note for selise: You’ll probably run into references to the “Journal of Proceedings” and the “Morning Hour” that used to be regular parts of daily floor time in the Senate. But today the following is the absolutely routine method of dispensing with those opportunities for floor time or debate, as unanimously agreed to each day when the Senate adjourns:

                      Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that when the Senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 2 p.m., Monday, February 8; that following the prayer and pledge, the Journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and the Senate proceed to executive session, as provided for under the previous order.

                      The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.



    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Yes, and if it is true, we need to lobby for a new Majority Leader.

      One with a pile driver, and a gun-slinger…

      A Post Reid Era…

      • bobschacht says:

        One thing we’re all losing sight of, here, ISTM, is that Reid’s position is *elective*. The Senate has the leadership it wants. Apparently, the Senate Democratic caucus *wants* a weak leader.

        Bob in AZ

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Yeah, that was a phenomenal post by powwow.
      And the Dems have to fish or cut bait. No more blaming GOP without making them show up and yammer on the senate floor if Reid decides to go the filibuster route.

      My take, FWIW: Shelby has now set up the conditions to expose the corporatist depravity of the GOP, and it’s a symptom of how clueless and arrogant he and the Senate GOP are.

      However, the Dems will lose the opportunity if they fail to MAKE the GOP talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk… on the floor of the Senate so that even the Fox News anchors see the role that the GOP is playing in obstructing finance reform.

      (Fox would probably be thrilled to watch the GOP obstruct jobs bills and global warming, but I’ll bet that even Fox could choke on the idea that the GOP is allowing the daily rampant selling of swaps, and avarice of hedge funds, by their obstructionist strategies.

  3. Peterr says:

    And I’ve got concerns about any plan that defunds social security.

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how are you enjoying the play?

    And I’m sure there’s no loophole in the bill, so that a company would “fire” its employees on Friday and then hire them back on Monday, thus cutting their payroll costs by 6.2% for the rest of the year.

  4. behindthefall says:

    And I’ve got concerns about any plan that defunds social security.

    Right. Pesky Social Security. All those deductions over all those years and all those jobs. The “government’s cut” that never went away. Well, those little numbers all added up, and somebody kept them for you, and now they are giving them back, like clockwork, more every year, and they keep coming, no matter what the stock market does (which, it turned out, that fancy retirement plan does react to and which kicked a hole in the monthly income recently) — bad ol’ Social Security. Mess with Social Security and you are messing with the security of those in our society who are retired.

    And don’t look at the retired as though they are a burden; they put in years of their time and effort, and now they are getting back something proportional to their remuneration at the time, and it’s helping to keep them going.

    Social Security is the car that always starts. It’s the rope that doesn’t break. For some, it’s the life preserver on the rail. For others, it’s their boat. But it’s there.

    • DWBartoo says:

      Thanks, skdadl.

      In a sane, just, and rational world, it would be a fact that someone would have some “explaining” to do.


      • skdadl says:

        Funny how the military keep losing essential documents, isn’t it? Prisoners’ statements, compulsory statements from site personnel — bad filing systems, I guess.

  5. GulfCoastPirate says:

    What’s to keep an employer from laying off a number of people and replacing them with people currently unemployed to pick up the tax goodies?

    • eCAHNomics says:

      That’s one of the consequences they got covered. Not up on the details, but I think it has to be a net add over a certain base period.

  6. WTFOver says:

    Secretive Conservative Group Counseled Sanfords

    ‘The Fellowship’ Offers Spiritual Guidance, Relationship Advice for Elite; Jenny Sanford Advised on Sex Life

    Jenny Sanford, wife of South Carolina Republican Governor Mark Sanford, said her husband looked to leaders of an elite, conservative, Christian group known as “The Fellowship” for guidance during a rough patch in their marriage.

  7. WTFOver says:

    always lovely to see everybody’s favorite dual citizenship idf zionist / FIP in charge and the person actually running the country.

    excuse me but was his name even ever mentioned during the campaign ???

    i would have not voted for the current admin if i had known that this asshat was gonna be anywhere near the steering wheel.


    new Jane Mayer in the new yorker

    The Trial

    Eric Holder and the battle over Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

  8. Bluetoe2 says:

    Surely after President Obama’s bipartisan Super Bowl party love fest at least a dozen Republicans will jump on board.

  9. murphthesurf says:

    If the tea bag philosophy has represented by Mr. Tancredo triumphs:

    A) Tear down the statue of liberty, its promise will be false.

    B) Undo civil rights legislation that banned literacy testing and return to jim crow.

    C) Rewrite the declaration of independence and the constitution. With their language of equality; their promise of protection to each and every citizen; and their guarantee of free speech they are clearly tools to be used by socialists and marxists.

    D) Segregate society. A return to all white, and all black schools, and the development all hispanic and all asian institutions will be the hallmark of the new america. Soon our neighborhoods will return to the purity of race and culture that the founders and framers intended.

    E) There will be no sharing of this nation’s hope, promise, purpose or destiny with those who do not pass our tests. Yes, South Africa in 1980 is an excellent role model.

  10. Ryan says:

    Why even bother trusting them? If Schumer thinks that he’ll even get this one Republican on board with the bill, by inserting this tax credit, he’s incredibly naive. Even if he’s received personal reassurances, they won’t last long as the Republican Party and Teabaggers go after Hatch. It’s a futile cause to even try for bipartisanship — and it could only serve to make the bill weaker, less effective and more politically painful as we scrounge for votes.

    No. Every bill that can be passed via reconciliation should be — and this bill could clearly go through reconciliation. Pass a real jobs bill — forget about going after Republican votes. Let’s show the American people the real difference between our party and the GOP’s — the party that wants to create jobs and get this country moving again, versus the Party of No.

    • seabos84 says:

      raygun and bush didn’t worm around snivelling, they stuffed their fascist lies and fascist bullshit down our throats.

      trying to dream up winning strategies for political incompetents and sell outs is like trying to dream up the winning lottery number – there are more useful things to do with your time.


  11. hazmaq says:

    Great discussion.

    First, I trust any deals between Hatch and Schumer as far as I can spit. Fading stars trying to remain relevant don’t have other people’s interests at heart.

    Re the Senate rules, can’t find the link but a great wonk at Huff Po once did a detailed analysis on the filibuster rule and concluded the ML has the lone authority to change the rules – at any time.
    Reid knows the rules backwards, but is such a pathetic Moderate he’d never invoke such a rule to help the Left.
    Sen. Udall of New Mexico was the first one to announce publicly his intentions to change the rule at the start of the 112th.
    But we know too well, what happens to new Senators with good intentions.

    Re the Senate ML: I can’t stress the importance of that job to us, over and above all the others. Reid has so fu**ed it up he should step down, but he won’t until voters rip him down in November.
    We have to fight now to keep hacks and Moderates from taking his place.

    The Progressive side of the Left is all that remains to salvage the Democratic party’s platform from from total oblivion and the Senate ML holds the key to our ultimate success or failure.

  12. captjjyossarian says:

    Bah, they don’t even have a coherent policy to push. At least not one that would get us on the road to a healthy full employment economy.

    Jobs are important, but they have to be productive jobs. In that sense our political leaders do have to pick winners and losers.

    The winners need to include the rail industry and the losers need to include the financial sector.

  13. selise says:

    thanks for the info and additional links, powwow. in addition to the links you’ve provided in this thread, here is the reading list i’m working off today. it is mostly just previous threads where you’ve commented substantially on the topic and a few additional links. please add to it anything you think relevant for reading today and tomorrow (thanks!):


    ok, i give up. at least for a while. can’t seem to post my list of links due to the inexplicable (at least to me) occasionally occurring “database connection error”. argh!!!

    will try again later today……


    edit to add: if anyone has any ideas about what i can do to fix or work around the problem (other than put one link in each comment, which has in the past sometimes worked when i was getting this error msg), i’d be grateful for suggestions.

    • powwow says:

      selise, that error message – which lets you post only part of your comment – sounds like something I’ve gotten occasionally when trying to preview a Seminal diary. After a fair amount of detective work (selectively omitting passages of the diary), I found that certain legal citation abbreviations, and once a stray ‘<', confounded the software, and prevented the comment from posting, until those sections were removed or edited. So you may have one link that's doing that, but not others. Why don't you just try to post each individual link in a separate comment, as you've done in the past, and see if that takes [that approach should identify the problem child, which otherwise would be hard to ID, I think – except perhaps that it's a link that hasn't posted successfully at FDL before].

      I should slightly reword a paragraph in my comment @ 43, for clarity's sake (by replacing "requesting" with "suggesting") as follows [I was merging 'suggesting the absence of a quorum’ with ‘requesting a quorum call’ – the latter being the effect of the former]:

      If you read my diary carefully, you’ll note that I do not say that suggesting the absence of a quorum is a “speech.” I say that suggesting the absence of a quorum causes the Senator doing so to yield the floor, thereby making whatever comments he or she had been making before that suggestion count as one of their two speeches on the question. Furthermore, repeated live quorum calls can not be made (enforceable by a point of order) unless intervening business takes place between them – and debate or speech does not qualify as such “intervening business.”

      • powwow says:

        Another thought:

        You may well be able to post all the links in one comment if you only name the source, and link it, rather than posting the URLs of each source [assuming that isn’t what you were already trying to do].

  14. powwow says:

    To save you some searching, selise, here’s one Riddick’s cite for how amendments may, or may not, be made the pending business of the Senate, from the “Amendments” section PDF of Riddick’s (see the second Riddick’s link in comment 43 above):

    Page 32 [PDF Page 9 of 102]:

    “Unanimous consent is required to submit an amendment, have it read, and ordered printed and lie on the table, to be offered at a later date, or to make it eligible for consideration under cloture procedure before a cloture motion is filed.

    Amendments which have been ordered to lie on the table and be printed, intended to be proposed to a bill subsequently, have no parliamentary standing, and cannot be regarded as pending amendments for consideration under the rule; they are not automatically laid before the Senate for consideration.”

    Further, from Page 34 [PDF Page 11 of 102]:

    “A bill must be under consideration by the Senate before it is in order to offer amendments to it, and two bills may not be under consideration at the same time.”

  15. powwow says:

    The discussion about ‘endless amendments’ raised by bayofarizona’s comment @ 42 could definitely use further elaboration, beyond what I said in my reply @ 43. This is an issue where the Senate Parliamentarian’s office might be a big help to us. [For example: Have filibustering Senators who managed to offer an amendment generally wanted to proceed to a vote on their amendment, and thus cease debating it, or did they simply use the amendment to add a couple more speeches to their filibuster time in lieu of handing the floor off to someone else?]

    This Congressional Research Service report is an important resource on the complicated Amending Process. It begins:

    A bill is subject to amendment as soon as the Senate begins to consider it. Committee amendments are considered first; then Senators can offer amendments to any part of the bill in any order. Senators may debate each amendment without limit unless the Senate (1) agrees to a motion to table (kill) the amendment, (2) agrees to a unanimous consent request to limit debate on the amendment, or (3) invokes cloture, limiting debate on the amendment or on the bill and all amendments to it.

    My flat assertion in comment 43 that “No single Senator has the right to set aside the pending business of the Senate to call up an amendment if another Senator objects, so the minority can’t do much to play games in that regard with the two-speech rule” is a bit too sweeping. I believe there are a handful of amendments that can be offered (before the ‘tree is filled’), even when another amendment is pending, by a Senator who holds the floor, without the need for unanimous consent. But serial first-degree amendments are not such amendments (only one such can be pending at a time).

    So the amending process, and how it could be shut down during a real filibuster, would benefit from a good deal more elaboration in your diary, I think, selise, hopefully with input from the Senate Parliamentarian. During normal, functioning democratic floor debate and amendment in the Senate, each amendment in its turn would receive debate (limited by unanimous consent agreement) and a vote, and the Senate would proceed to the next subsequent amendment – called up without the need for unanimous consent, provided the amendment was offered/called up in the order required. For example:

    The amendments that are in order at any one time depend on the form and scope of the first amendment to be proposed, and then on the form, type, and degree of subsequent amendments. Thus, depending on the form and type of the first amendment to be offered, as few as two or as many as ten other amendments may be offered before the Senate must vote on any one of them. But whether all of these amendments actually will be pending depends on what amendments Senators wish to offer and the order in which they are recognized to do so.

    An amendment to insert additional matter in a measure is a first degree perfecting amendment. While such an amendment to the text of the measure is pending, no other first degree amendments may be offered (because no other first degree amendment has precedence over such a perfecting amendment to a measure). However, the amendment to insert, as a first degree amendment, is open to an amendment in the second degree, which may be either a perfecting amendment or a substitute amendment.

    So my assertion was more an amalgamation of the way things would actually function during a filibuster, that might be resummarized this way:

    Depending on what procedural posture a measure under consideration is in on the Senate floor (has the majority leader already “filled the amendment tree,” have committee amendments already been dealt with, what type of amendment, if any, is presently pending, etc.), unanimous consent may be required for a Senator who holds the floor to call up an, or another, amendment. In addition, any time the majority wants to dispose of a pending amendment without debating it, the Majority Leader may move to table the amendment, by simple-majority vote (after being recognized by the Presiding Officer, say immediately after the amendment is offered/called up or after a live quorum call).

    As spelled out in much greater detail in the CRS report about the amendment process:

    Depending on the kinds of amendments that Senators offer and the order in which they are recognized to offer their amendments, Senators can offer anywhere from three to 11 amendments before the Senate has to vote on any of them. “Amendment trees” are the graphic ways of depicting these possible situations.

    The Senate only requires that amendments be germane when amendments are offered (1) to general appropriations bills and budget measures, (2) under cloture, or (3) under certain unanimous consent agreements and certain statutes. Otherwise, Senators can offer amendments on any subject to any bill.


    A Senator may stop debate on an amendment by being recognized and then moving to lay it on the table. If the Senate agrees to this non-debatable motion, the amendment is considered to be rejected, or tabled. (The Senate may vote to table a first degree amendment while a second degree amendment to it is pending.) If the tabling motion is defeated, debate on the amendment may resume. However, the vote on a motion to table an amendment often is considered to be a decisive test vote on the amendment; if the tabling motion is defeated on a roll call vote, the amendment itself may be agreed to by voice vote shortly thereafter. Moving to table an amendment is essentially a negative action, and there is no other motion available in the Senate to bring the body to an immediate vote to dispose of a pending amendment.

    The notion of precedence has an important effect on the amending process. Paragraph 1 of Rule XXII specifies an order of precedence among motions, including the motion to amend. Under the terms of this paragraph, a motion to adjourn or recess is in order while an amendment is pending. It is in order also to move to lay a pending amendment on the table. In fact, all the other motions listed in Rule XXII have precedence over the motion to amend.

    So, in short, the amending process during a real filibuster is another parliamentary situation where the majority will need to be on the ball, and thinking ahead, to avoid giving the minority the opportunity to expand the two-speech rule.

    In the end, though, I’m not sure that even if the minority managed to get some amendments serially called up as part of their filibuster of the underlying bill, it would really make much difference in the length of the filibuster. Yes, some Senators might extend the number of times they could be recognized to speak, but there seem to be multiple ways that the majority can limit the minority’s ability to meaningfully avoid the limits of the two-speech rule, so as to prevent the minority from being able to extend their opportunities to speak. [Meantime, of course, people looking in from the outside aren’t likely to distinguish between filibuster debate on an amendment and filibuster debate on the underlying measure.] When Baucus objected to Grassley, in the example I cited (which is in my most-recent diary, I believe), I can’t be sure that either was aware of the precise procedural posture of the Reid managers’ amendment (which I believe was then the pending business before the Senate, and on which Reid had already “filled the amendment tree”), as regards further amending, but that was apparently an example of a situation where unanimous consent would have been required for Grassley to be able to make his amendment pending.

    Though it’s complicated and confusing, though standardized, since it is a core part of the potential process in a real filibuster, it would be worth the effort to spell this out at some length, I think, selise, in addition to getting feedback about it from the Senate Parliamentarian, if possible.

    • bmaz says:

      You guys are kicking ass and taking names. One thing you have not yet mentioned, however, is that Mitch McConnell alone is five times smarter and more effective than the entire Democratic leadership on effective and tactical manipulation and use of the rules. The Dems are at a sever disadvantage here.

      • selise says:

        powwow is the one kicking ass! i’m the one trying not to get too far behind, benefiting from all the research and analysis and learning more than i ever expected to on this topic, what fun!

        • powwow says:

          “Fun”?! Well, that’s debatable, I suppose, but I won’t filibuster the question…

          But thanks for the moral support, bmaz @ 51 – as you can see, selise has need of it, given the task at hand. True that – about McConnell – but I wouldn’t underestimate Reid too much. When he wants to manipulate the rules, Reid can do it with the best of them – as he showed with his filling of the tree, and immediate cloture motions, on his health care reform bill managers’ amendment. The harder problem may be getting Reid to stop trying to score goals for the other team, for a change. (Which reminds me – there’s a Superbowl underway somewhere, isn’t there.)

          wanted also to check with you about an idea i had today (since i am used to spending weeks not days thinking before writing something like this so far out of my training). i thought to label tomorrow’s diary as a working thread (as marcy has done, especially for doc analysis) with the post as we planned, a list of references and an invitation for community discussion. that, i think, might be useful as a prior step or check. what are your thoughts on this idea?

          See how you feel when you’re drafting it, selise. [And don’t forget that it’s basically a subject that’s outside everyone’s training – so you wouldn’t likely get many takers, including among Members of Congress, to challenge the factual basis of your presentation.] If you can get the Senate Parliamentarian to clearly confirm some of the core detail for you, I think you’d have enough to make a ‘news’ scoop of sorts, rather than making a more tentative presentation. You could always use the apparent facts confirmed by the Senate Parliamentarian to lay out the case, and close by inviting contrary views, to get the best of both worlds. But I think how confident you feel about your case when you’re writing it should probably drive how you present the diary.

          That’s a pretty impressive (daunting…) reading list of sources/links @ 52.

          I think I should probably single out this one, to warn you about using judgements or deductions, as opposed to basic facts, from this source:


          I found it an imprecise, aggressively cherry-picked version, missing a lot of context, of the Senate history it recites, and its authors clearly had a decided agenda: Make what looks like a respectable legal case, based on some Senate precedent, for Majority Leader Frist to abuse his power and end-run Senate rules to force simple-majority will on the Senate, in the face of clear, longstanding Senate rules preventing it. One of its co-authors was the Majority Counsel on the Senate Rules Committee under the Republicans. There’s a lot of informative detail in it, but it’s just not a good faith, impartial review of the subject it covers, in my opinion. [Unlike the Finley dissertation, which I found to be an outstanding overview of his subject, which he obviously culled from a lot of reading of the Congressional Record. Note that there was no Congressional Record before 1873, so a lot of pre-1873 parliamentary process in the Senate and House is shrouded in mystery.]

          I also have to say that I think the two or three law professors at Balkinization who have been advocating on this subject have done an appalling job of making their cases – not carefully reasoned, or well argued at all. They’ve been making more of a political argument, really, with a few process arguments thrown in for good measure, basically.

          Cites of CRS reports, backed up by Riddick cites (plus any verbal or written Senate Parliamentarian feedback), should get you most of the way to where you need to go, I think. In that way the only “opinion” you’ll be basing things on is “official” opinion, as it were. And Finley seems an excellent, if “unofficial,” source for any cites you need to the long Civil Rights era filibuster history. Other than that, other cited sources will obviously depend on what else you decide to include in the diary.

          I think you’ve got a great grasp of the big picture, already. Filling in the details, in a way that those less immersed can grasp, is the challenge, it appears. If it helps, freely build on anything in my “C-SPAN” diary (or anything else obviously) that works for you, selise. It will be very interesting to see where the process takes you.

          I’ll check in again tomorrow, here, or in a newer thread.

          • selise says:

            Well, that’s debatable, I suppose, but I won’t filibuster the question…

            heeheehee. second only to gallows humor, geeky humor tickles my funny bone. somehow you worked in both.

            i was thinking in order of authority it went riddick’s and the senate parliamentarian, next the crs, and then the unofficial sources. i purposely including references you had panned, only because i wanted to make sure i read some of the counter references that had been used. i suppose it’s a habit (the necessity of searching for contrary data as well as supportive) and it doesn’t hurt to have an idea what arguments are being used.

            They’ve been making more of a political argument, really, with a few process arguments thrown in for good measure, basically.

            i have a friend (trained in science and science teaching) who likes to point out the different ways scientists and lawyers are supposed to make arguments. i’ll have to ask her about politicians. *g*

            You could always use the apparent facts confirmed by the Senate Parliamentarian to lay out the case, and close by inviting contrary views, to get the best of both world

            excellent advice. thanks.

            But I think how confident you feel about your case when you’re writing it should probably drive how you present the diary

            this is my problem. i’m way over on the P side of the P/J divide (meyers-briggs. i have no idea of the validity of any of it, but find the language helpful —P: ” They want to gather more information before making a decision.”) before i wrote a little diary on the the decision not to regulate otc derivatives, i spent weeks researching it and probably included less then 5% of what i’d learned. that’s when i start to feel confident. not going to happen this time, so i’m just going to try not to worry about it.

            thanks again! more, hopefully with substance, tomorrow….

  16. selise says:


    How we might break the merciless stranglehold that the two corrupt Parties maintain on our Congress and nation.
    By: powwow Wednesday October 28, 2009

    You Can’t Be A Progressive And Support The Filibuster
    By: Jon Walker Monday November 23, 2009

    Harry Reid Plays A Game Of Chutes And Ladders Instead Of Saving American Lives
    By: Jon Walker Tuesday November 24, 2009

    The Nascent Movement to End the Filibuster
    By: David Dayen Friday November 27, 2009

    “Debating” health care reform: Party abuse of Senate procedure serves the President and concentrated power at the expense of the People.
    By: powwow Sunday December 13, 2009

    SEIU’s Stern: Pass The Bill Out Of Senate, Fix It In Conference
    By: David Dayen Thursday December 17, 2009

    35 Ways To Fix The Bad Senate Health Bill
    By: Jon Walker Monday December 21, 2009

    Let the C-SPAN cameras in, Democrats. [The Party’s “Open Government” bluff just got called.]
    By: powwow Tuesday January 5, 2010

    Anatomy of a Backroom Deal’s Public Face: The case for letting Congress do the legislating on health care reform.
    By: powwow Sunday January 24, 2010

    Tom Udall On Fixing The Senate: “We’ve Gotten Ourselves Into A Box”
    By: David Dayen Thursday January 28, 2010

    List of 51 Senate Democrats Who Support a Public Option: What’s Stopping Them Now?
    By: Jane Hamsher Friday January 29, 2010

    House Dem on the Senate: “There is No Way We’re Going to Trust Them”
    By: Cenk Uygur Saturday January 30, 2010

    In a Perfect World
    By: Chris in DC (“DCLaw1”) Saturday January 30, 2010

    Republicans Seek To Prove That The Senate Is Completely Broken, Again
    By: Jon Walker Wednesday February 3, 2010

    Shelby Gambit Highlights Need for Changes To Senate Rules
    By: David Dayen Friday February 5, 2010


    FILIBUSTER: OBSTRUCTION AND LAWMAKING IN THE U.S. SENATE, by Gregory J. Wawro and Eric Schickler. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.
    Reviewed by Frances E. Lee, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland

    CQ Electronic Library: Filibuster. cite Filibuster. (2003). In D. R. Tarr, & A. O’Connor (Eds.), Congress a to z. Washington: CQ Press. Retrieved April 13, 2005, from CQ Electronic Library, CQ Encyclopedia of American Government

    The Myth Of The Filibuster: Dems Can’t Make Republicans Talk All Night
    By Ryan Grim, Huffingtonpost, February 23, 2009

    “Make Them Filibuster”
    By Mark Tushnet Monday, January 25, 2010

    By Keith M. Finley August 2003

    By Martin Gold (a former Frist aide) and Dimple Gupta (via beowulf @10)

    The Politics: Resisting Change and Resisting Arrest (from feb 1988)
    posted July 16, 1997


    swampland posts tagged “filibuster”

    Doris Kearns Goodwin: “Let Them Filibuster.”
    Posted by Karen Tumulty Friday, January 29, 2010

    Rendell: “Make Them Filibuster”
    Posted by KAREN TUMULTY Monday, January 25, 2010

    Latest Latest Installment of the Make ’em Filibuster Campaign
    Posted by Karen Tumulty Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Latest Installment of Make ’em Filibuster
    Posted by Karen Tumulty Friday, November 13, 2009

    Revisiting the Filibuster
    Posted by Karen Tumulty Monday, February 9, 2009

    The Filibuster vs. the Pseudo-filibuster
    Posted by Karen Tumulty Thursday, December 13, 2007

    Oh, for Heaven’s Sake.
    Posted by Karen Tumulty Tuesday, July 17, 2007


    edit: well, it seems to be working now….. ???

  17. selise says:

    powwow! thank you! this is awesome detective work, i especially appreciate your explanations and the riddick’s cites. also, i haven’t yet read the crs report you linked ot on the amending process previously – that looks especially interesting and not just for our current discussion!

    links seem to working fine for me now, but don’t have more to post, until i read your new links. will go read some of that now.

    wanted also to check with you about an idea i had today (since i am used to spending weeks not days thinking before writing something like this so far out of my training). i thought to label tomorrow’s diary as a working thread (as marcy has done, especially for doc analysis) with the post as we planned, a list of references and an invitation for community discussion. that, i think, might be useful as a prior step or check. what are your thoughts on this idea?

    i’m definitely not as far along as i’d hoped (but that is typical *g*) so no need to expect a draft from me here until tomorrow (still hoping for the am) in prep for calling senate parliamentarian.

  18. selise says:

    powwow, a question: it occurs to me that there are, iirc from my reading about a year ago, some substantially different filibuster rules for the budgeting process. i don’t have my notes on that with me (i never figured it out to even my superficial satisfaction but i remember thinking it was quite complicated),

    i did see the reference to a CRS Report 97-865 (points of order in the congressional budget process) in the CRS on the senate amending process that you recommended to me (i have not read that additional report — at least not yet). have you read it or do you know of any other info that might make for a substantially different filibuster process for bills that affect the budget vs those that do not?

    sorry for the late question, but it suddenly struck me that i don’t know the differences in detail and i might be conflating two processes into one. thanks for any general guidance you can give me on this!

    • powwow says:

      have you read it [CRS Report 97-865] or do you know of any other info that might make for a substantially different filibuster process for bills that affect the budget vs those that do not?

      The short answer is No: Though I haven’t carefully read 97-865 (see excerpts below), there isn’t what would be considered a “different filibuster process” for bills that affect the budget, from my perspective.

      The ability to enforce the provisions of the Budget Act and the annual budget resolution by making points of order – as in reconciliation – is a process distinct from a real filibuster, which simply attempts to prevent the Senate from moving to a vote on a measure. You may have originally likened them to each other because, as with cloture motions, 60-vote supermajorities are used to overcome valid points of order made against a budget measure, one point of order at a time, as the Senate chooses.

      See if these excerpts help clarify the issue for you:

      The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (Titles I-IX of P.L. 93-344, as amended) created a process that Congress uses each year to establish and enforce the parameters for budgetary legislation. Enforcement is accomplished through the use of points of order, and through the reconciliation process. Points of order are prohibitions against certain types of legislation or congressional actions. These prohibitions are enforced when a Member raises a point of order against legislation that may violate these rules when it is considered by the House or Senate.


      The Congressional Budget Act of 1974[1] established the basic framework that is used today for congressional consideration of budget and fiscal policy. The act provided for the adoption of a concurrent resolution on the budget (budget resolution) as a mechanism for coordinating congressional budgetary decision making. This process supplements other House and Senate procedures for considering spending and revenue legislation by allowing Congress to establish and enforce parameters with which those separate pieces of budgetary legislation must be consistent. The parameters are established each year when Congress adopts the budget resolution, setting forth overall levels for new budget authority, outlays, revenues, deficit, and debt.

      These overall spending levels are then allocated to the various committees in the House and Senate responsible for spending legislation. The overall levels and allocations are then enforced through the use of points of order, and through implementing legislation, such as that enacted through the reconciliation process.[2] Points of order are prohibitions against certain types of legislation or congressional actions. These prohibitions are enforced when a Member raises a point or order against legislation that is alleged to violate these rules when it is considered by the House or Senate. Points of order are not self-enforcing. A point of order must be raised by a Member on the floor of the chamber before the presiding officer can rule on its application, and thus for its enforcement.


      [Footnote 2: The reconciliation process is an optional procedure set forth in Section 310 of the Congressional Budget Act. First used in 1980, reconciliation is a two-step process triggered when the budget resolution includes instructions to one or more committee(s) directing them to recommend changes in revenue or spending laws necessary to achieve the overall levels agreed to. The recommendations are then considered in one or more reconciliation measures under expedited procedures [designed to avoid Senate filibusters]. Certain features of the reconciliation process are enforced by points of order that are included in this report. For more on the reconciliation process generally, see CRS Report RL33030, The Budget Reconciliation Process: House and Senate Procedures, by Robert Keith and Bill Heniff Jr.]


      Most points of order in the Budget Act apply to measures as a whole, as well as to motions, amendments, or conference reports to those measures. When a point of order is sustained against consideration of some matter, the effect is that the matter in question falls.


      The Congressional Budget Act sets forth certain procedures, under Section 904, for waiving points of order under the act. These waiver procedures apply in the Senate only. Under these procedures, a Senator may make a motion to waive the application of a point of order either preemptively before it can be raised, or after it is raised, but before the presiding officer rules on its merits.6

      In the Senate, most points of order under the Budget Act may be waived by a vote of at least three-fifths of all Senators duly chosen and sworn (60 votes if there are no vacancies) (see Table 1).

  19. selise says:

    an update for powwow: don’t worry, i haven’t actually fallen off the edge of the earth although i haven’t been able to get through to the senate parliamentarian’s office yet either (voice mail only — which i did leave for a call back). and since i’m reading/thinking/writing slowly (typical for me, my apologies), if i don’t hear back today will call again tomorrow am (it’s already after 4:30pm et). that puts me almost a day behind where i wanted to be, but i’d feel better spending the extra day to have bit more reading time and try to get through to the parliamentarian — although i haven’t called that many times, my recollection is that they have always picked up (w/o voice mail) when i’ve called previously.

    fwiw, the more i read, the more i’m more convinced you are right.

    • powwow says:

      Thanks for the update, selise. Sounds like you’re making good progress.

      Having more time to connect with the Senate Parliamentarian’s office, rather than less, should give you a better chance of actually getting some answers from them. [Perhaps you’re getting voicemail because they’re all still digging out from the huge snowfall they received this weekend.] And those answers may be key. After all, you’ve got a lot of opposing/disagreeing conventional wisdom to overcome – so it’s not a bad idea to have all your ducks in a row before you click ‘submit.’

      I’ll check in again this evening just in case, but I’ll assume you won’t be posting much of anything until tomorrow sometime (either here, if this thread continues to stay open, or in the then-current thread).

      • selise says:

        great! i was trying to rush, because the debate is happening today and not waiting for tomorrow. but i do feel better having a bit more time. thanks, and catch you later on this thread or, if closed, the then-current thread.

        p.s. thanks also to bmaz and marcy for the online equivalent to office space.