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Senate Votes to End Filibusters on Nominees

Senator Bob Casey, Jr.
Senator Bob Casey, Jr.

The Senate has gone nuclear.

On Thursday, the Upper House voted to eliminate filibusters on federal judge nominees and executive-office appointments. Now such matters will be decided by a simple majority vote, in the past a 60-vote super majority was needed to invoke cloture and end debate.

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), who voted in favor of the filibuster reform, spoke to MSNBC about his decision.

“Senator Casey voted in favor of reforming the Senate’s rules because Pennsylvanians and all Americans deserve a system that works,” Casey’s Press Secretary John Rizzo told PoliticsPA about Casey’s position. “In recent years, procedural rules, including the filibuster, have been abused to obstruct real debate and prevent the Senate from completing its work.  He is hopeful that Republicans and Democrats in the Senate will come together on a productive path forward that prioritizes job creation and policies that are in the best interest of Pennsylvania and the Nation.”

Senator Pat Toomey voted against the rule change.

This rule change, one of the most significant in recent years for the Senate, comes in response to a practice that many believe has gotten out of hand.

The strategy of filibustering executive nominees started under the Clinton administration, but has dramatically picked up during Obama’s presidency. Critics argue that the filibuster is now being employed as nothing more than an obstructionist tool, without consideration or care for the nominees credentials.

Most recently, Senate Republicans filibustered Rep. Mel Watts’ appointment to the position of Federal Housing Administration director. Democrats claimed that this was the first time a sitting Congressman was denied appointment on a filibuster.

While both parties share responsibility for blocking nominees in the past, Democrats led the charge for reform on Thursday. The rule change passed by a slim margin of 52-48. Three Democrats joined all 45 Republicans in voting nay.

 

11 Responses

  1. It’s a shame it’s had to come to this, but the way the Senate Republicans have been comporting themselves left little choice. Since 1967, Senate leadership have had to try to break filibusters of judicial nominations 67 times and more than 46 percent occurred in the last 5 years, under the Obama administration and Democratic control of the Senate. That’s absurd. Senate Republicans have filibustered twice as frequently as even the Democrats did under Pres. Bush and have admitted that they don’t have substantive objections in many cases.

    Just like they got rid of the disappearing quorum delay tactics in the House and Senate in the 1800s (sparking calls for revolution and violence between members!), it’s time to evolve. Frankly, I have little doubt that Republicans would have done the same thing the next time they take control since they started the nuclear option discussions in 2005; it seems they’re mostly irritated that the Democrats got the jump on them and are attempting to allow the Senate to work again.

  2. Shameless power grab. And the hypocrisy is nauseating, to say the least. This administration is corrupt, from the top down. Clinton wasn’t even this conniving, issue after issue after issue.

  3. My only complaint is they should have done this years ago. The GOTP held the entire Senate hostage for so long planning on holding those confirmations open for when the lying tax cheat was inaugurated. They lost the election big time and now it was to keep those positions open until 2016 which according to their delusions would be for the whackobird Canadian coup. Finally Reid and the Democrats grew a spine and put these filthy dogs in the kennel where they can get a flea bath and stop infesting the country.

  4. It seems as though Comrade O’Stalin will now be able to pack the courts with communists. All of you Marxist scumbags on this blog who are praising this should just come out of the woodwork and stop acting like you give a fuck about our FEDERAL REPUBLIC. ATF regulations to seize our guns, EPA regulations to seize private property like how was done in the Soviet Union, IRS (Soviet KGB style) suppression of those who oppose the onslaught of communism coming down the pipe, and eventually, the mobilization of a secret police force to impose violence on those who oppose Barack O’Stalin. Communist dog shit keeps on saying “go out and win an election”, but acts like a Stalin or Mao Zedong, and cuts up the Bill of Rights, considering that in ’08 and ’12, the Constitution was never on the ballot. But then again, this rabid communist wants a resurrected Soviet Union, and his supporters, like those on this blog, want it too.

  5. It’s not like the GOP was holding up the nominees with real filibusters and talking on the Senate floor. They were just engaging in pure obstructionism with “holds” on nominees.

    When Bush was in office and Dems tried to block any nominees, Hannity and the FoxHeads were all calling for “up or down votes” on nominees.

    While both sides have blocked nominees in the past, the current level is outrageous. I read something like out of the 168 Presidential nominees ever blocked, that 82 of them were Obama’s blocked by GOP. If accurate, that shows out out-of-control and dysfunctional the GOP has become.

  6. It was a stupid rule abused by both sides. The Federal courts are in need of replacements for elderly and retired Judges.

  7. Shameless power grab. This rule was one of a system of checks and balances. One more step towards tyranny. Wiser, less selfish men created this rule because this country is a republic, not a democracy of simple majority rule. Hey, but when the majority is full of simpletons, this is what you get. And I am sure you agreed with the NY Times back in 2005: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/29/opinion/29tue1.html?_r=2&

  8. Where is Sen. Toomey’s statement as to his position? Fair and Balanced reporting??
    Tom Lingenfelter 215-230-5330

  9. I applaud Majority Leader Reid for having the courage and wisdom to take this important step towards a better-functioning Senate, and thank those Senators who voted “yes”.

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