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PoliGAF 2013 |OT1| Never mind, Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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The Librarian

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No, but it greatly reduces it.

Does it? It's the worst kind of progress: making it seem like progress is being done when there is none. Floor time is precious for the majority. What if they do this once a week? How does this make passing bills easier for the majority?

Remember waaaaaay back to the days of LBJ and the Civil Rights Act. Senate rules haven't changed much since then. The only reason why the CRA passed was because LBJ succeeded in grabbing 67+ votes. Wouldn't have passed otherwise.
 

Link

The Autumn Wind
Jun 6, 2004
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I don't see how. It's the worst kind of progress: making it seem like progress is being done when there is none. Floor time is precious for the majority. What if they do this once a week? How does this make passing bills easier for the majority?

Remember waaaaaay back to the days of LBJ and the Civil Rights Act. Senate rules haven't changed much since then. The only reason why the CRA passed was because LBJ succeeded in grabbing 67+ votes. Wouldn't have passed otherwise.
With a talking filibuster, a senator has to be present, identify themselves, and then obviously do the talking part. You don't think that would stop a lot of them from attempting it as compared to basically raising their hand and saying "filibuster!"?
 

The Librarian

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With a talking filibuster, a senator has to be present, identify themselves, and then obviously do the talking part. You don't think that would stop a lot of them from attempting it as compared to basically raising their hand and saying "filibuster!"?

But you still need sixty votes. You're confusing the two.
 

Hitokage

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Perfect doesn't have to be the enemy of good here. Filibuster use is rampant today precisely because it is easy, painless, and completely invisible to all but the closest of hill watchers(NOT like the LBJ days). Making the filibuster rough and painful again would cut down on the rampant abuse far more than any gentleman's agreement, even if it doesn't end the practice entirely.

Hell, secret holds are still a thing.
 

Link

The Autumn Wind
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But you still need sixty votes. You're confusing the two.
I'm not. It would still have to be invoked, which would happen a lot less frequently. (See Hito's post.) Just looking at how common it has become under the current rules will show you that.
 

The Librarian

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Perfect doesn't have to be the enemy of good here. Filibuster use is rampant today precisely because it is easy, painless, and completely invisible to all but the closest of hill watchers. Making the filibuster rough and painful again would cut down on the rampant abuse far more than any gentleman's agreement, even if it doesn't end the practice entirely.

But you still need sixty votes! The whole point of filibuster reform is to get rid of the sixty-vote, supermajority requirement. So the majority can pass bills with 50+ votes as opposed to 60+. That's people's problem with the institution: that it takes sixty votes to get anything done. Not so much the delay itself.

What's the criteria for a talking filibuster here? How long does he need to speak in order for it to be a filibuster? A senator can talk for twenty minutes and institute the sixty-vote requirement. What does this accomplish? Remember, the Senate operates on unanimous consent.
 

Hitokage

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I think you're getting too caught up in the conclusion of needing sixty votes to get anything done and not so much the mechanics of WHY you need sixty votes for anything today.

Because, really, you can make it so you actually don't need sixty votes for everything and still have the filibuster around!
 

The Librarian

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I think you're getting too caught up in the conclusion of needing sixty votes to get anything done and not so much the mechanics of WHY you need sixty votes for anything today.

Because, really, you can make it so you actually don't need sixty votes for everything and still have the filibuster around!

And I think you guys are romanticizing the talking filibuster here. There's no length criteria for a filibuster, and floor time is precious for the majority. Any senator can talk for twenty minutes and require the majority leader to get sixty-votes to pass anything. There are many members in the minority that can do this over a number of weeks.
 

Hitokage

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And I think you guys are romanticizing the talking filibuster here. There's no length criteria for a filibuster, and floor time is precious for the majority. Any senator can talk for twenty minutes and require the majority leader to get sixty-votes to pass anything. There are many members in the minority that can do this over a number of weeks.
That is a fair point, but one thing that DOES change is that now everyone can see that a bill could have been brought to a vote but ISN'T because Senators X, Y, and Z got up to filibuster it.

It can't be done without consequence anymore, like when some asshole put a secret hold on the Whistleblower Protection Act and NPR's On The Media had to organized a concerted effort to smoke out the identity of that senator.
 

Link

The Autumn Wind
Jun 6, 2004
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Right. Visibility is what makes the big difference. Like I mentioned, looking at the vastly increased use with the current rules proves this.
 

Oblivion

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If nothing else, I wish the senate Dems would have gotten rid of the 60 vote requirements for judicial and cabinet nominees.

I still maintain that having the senate confirm a president's cabinet is one of the dumbest things the FFs wrote into the constitution.
 

The Librarian

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Public displays of obstruction are a change for the better, I agree, but I also think you guys are overestimating the potential backlash. If such a system becomes routine, it'll eventually become "Oh, it's just another filibuster." Congresspersons have to form a balance of local and national interests: any one of them could get up and claim she's acting only in the interests of her constituents.

So, in the end, nothing gets done. You need to axe the sixty-vote requirement. You're not solving the problem otherwise.
 

Hitokage

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I'd like to think that Republicans getting constant and direct coverage for being legislative shitheads wouldn't go without any effect on elections. It's not something they can just blame others for when they are the ones filibustering.
 

The Librarian

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I'm not willing to take the risk of the mass media doing responsible reporting for every filibuster. Instituting a talking filibuster is not enough. You need to axe the sixty-vote requirement. Why are some of you, who have bemoaned the threshold before, are now in favor of leaving it in place?
 

Diablos

Member
Jun 6, 2004
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What's up guys? I'm still on blackout. Anything cool happening besides Rand running his mouth for 15 hours?
 

Hitokage

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Why are some of you, who have bemoaned the threshold before, are now in favor of leaving it in place?
If I haven't been clear, it's the distinctly recent pattern of abuse that people are bemoaning, not the historical nature of it. This recent pattern is the result of recent rule changes, and those rule changes can be reformed.
 

Link

The Autumn Wind
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I'm just being realistic. The filibuster has been around for a long time and I don't see it going away. In some ways, it's a necessary evil. If it has to exist, I'd like to see it changed back to the way it wasn't completely abused.

And I don't think you've been rude at all.
 

The Librarian

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If I haven't been clear, it's the distinctly recent pattern of abuse that people are bemoaning, not the historical nature of it. This recent pattern is the result of recent rule changes, and those rule changes can be reformed.
What does the historical nature have to do with anything? The impression I've gotten from people complaining about the filibuster is the sixty-vote threshold. The Senate wasn't designed to be a supermajority institution, and hasn't operated as such throughout its history.
I'm just being realistic. The filibuster has been around for a long time and I don't see it going away. In some ways, it's a necessary evil. If it has to exist, I'd like to see it changed back to the way it wasn't completely abused.

And I don't think you've been rude at all.

I hope I wasn't being opaque about this, but I have no problem with making Senators get up and talk, so long as you get rid of the sixty-vote requirement. Doing the former without the latter isn't solving the root of the problem.
 

PhoenixDark

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I'd love to see republicans filibuster common sense legislation for hours on the floor of the senate. If you want people to see congress at work, make it matter and make it live. Rand Paul did a great job tonight and everyone is talking about it. I'd love to see the same done for a host of issues.

The filibuster is needed to prevent odious laws from sailing through the senate, I support it. But it needs to be harder to do, and truly return to the last resort it once was. Brennan deserves to be filibustered until Obama speaks up, IMO. No more shadow holds and lazy obstruction, hold the floor if it's that important.
 

Hitokage

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What does the historical nature have to do with anything? The impression I've gotten from people complaining about the filibuster is the sixty-vote threshold. The Senate wasn't designed to be a supermajority institution, and hasn't operated as such throughout its history.
Because until recently it hasn't been as easy or painless to filibuster something!
 

The Librarian

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Apr 22, 2008
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They're not going to filibuster routine, "common sense" legislation. It's the important stuff that's...well, important. You couldn't get a climate-change bill passed through the Senate even if you force the talking filibuster.
Because until recently it hasn't been as easy or painless to filibuster something!

But if you're going to force people to get up and filibuster, you still need sixty votes. You still can't get things done.
 

Hitokage

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They're not going to filibuster routine, "common sense" legislation.
They already are. Right now. Just for the hell of it. It's why so many seats in government remain unfilled because "fuck it, block that shit".
 

The Librarian

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They already are. Right now. Just for the hell of it. It's why so many seats in government remain unfilled because "fuck it, block that shit".

But how does that help pass a public option? The Disclose Act? Medicare buy-in for people 55 and over? Climate change?
 

PhoenixDark

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They already are. Right now. Just for the hell of it. It's why so many seats in government remain unfilled because "fuck it, block that shit".
Exactly. If they truly want to block shit for hours nonstop so be it. A talking filibuster allows the country to see it. The threshold won't be 60 votes once cloture is enacted
 

The Librarian

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Exactly. If they truly want to block shit for hours nonstop so be it. A talking filibuster allows the country to see it. The threshold won't be 60 votes once cloture is enacted
If a Senator filibusters – talks,  "blah blah blah." – stops filibustering, the threshold is still sixty votes.
 

Hitokage

Setec Astronomer
May 30, 2004
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But how does that help pass a public option? The Disclose Act? Medicare buy-in for people 55 and over? Climate change?
Because when such things die blood is on somebody's hands. They can't go "well, washington just can't get anything done these days!" and shrug their shoulders, hoping voters keep voting them in. It's not like these budget bills where people are confused as to what side is what. With a filibuster you take ownership. You're telling the country "this bill died because I killed it!".

That isn't nothing.

If a Senator filibusters – talks, "blah blah blah." – stops filibustering, the threshold is still sixty votes.
Votes are 50+1. It's just getting to the actual vote that's the challenge. Cloture to force a filibuster to end and get to the actual vote of 50+1 takes 60 to invoke. If a filibuster stops then debate is over and it's 50+1.
 

The Librarian

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Apr 22, 2008
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Because when such things die blood is on somebody's hands. They can't go "well, washington just can't get anything done these days!" and shrug their shoulders, hoping voters keep voting them in. It's not like these budget bills where people are confused as to what side is what. With a filibuster you take ownership. You're telling the country "this bill died because I killed it!".

That isn't nothing.
So we should have to wait for another election after the voters have their say (again) in order to enact that particular piece of legislation? I don't agree with that. I'm not willing to wait another election, if the Democrats sweep one election, in order to pass a public option. This is in addition to what I think amounts to you guys overestimating a potential public backlash from open filibusters. Politicians take unpopular positions all the time, either because they're in a safe state or because they overestimate the preferences of their voters in one way.

Votes are 50+1. It's just getting to the actual vote that's the challenge. Cloture to force a filibuster to end takes 60 to invoke.

Right, that's what I was talking about. PD made an edit. A filibuster by itself doesn't end the sixty-vote requirement. The minority will still obstruct. That's the root of the problem, I think.
 

The Librarian

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What's getting lost in this discussion, I think, is the timing of the filibuster that takes place. You guys seem to be talking about a different one from me. As I understand it:

1. Majority Leader asks for unanimous consent.
1a. If she does not receive it, sixty votes to begin debate (I think the recent reform got rid of this step).
2. Debate. <-- A senator can filibuster here.
3. 60 votes to close debate.
4. 50+ votes for passage. <-- A senator can filibuster here.

#2 is what I'm talking about.
 

PhoenixDark

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The filibuster isn't the problem. The ease in which someone can abuse the filibuster is the problem. Which is solved by a talking filibuster that requires the senators to be on the floor at all times; if they leave cloture is immediately triggered. Ending secret holds would also halt obstruction, and there should be a limit on the amount of amendments that can be added.

Finally I'd adopt Harkin's idea about the cloture requirement lowering the longer a filibuster goes on.
 

The Librarian

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The ease in which someone can abuse the filibuster is the problem.
I disagree, but I'm not saying the easiness of the current filibuster isn't a problem. Everyone here would care far less about how easy it is to filibuster if all it took was 50+ votes to end debate. Republicans could've filibustered, and thus force cloture, as much as they did in the 111th, but if it weren't for that sixty-vote threshold, Medicare buy-in, the Disclose Act, and a climate-change bill all would've passed.
Finally I'd adopt Harkin's idea about the cloture requirement lowering the longer a filibuster goes on.
Right...so ending the sixty-vote requirement.
 

Hitokage

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May 30, 2004
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What's getting lost in this discussion, I think, is the timing of the filibuster that takes place. You guys seem to be talking about a different one from me. As I understand it:

1. Majority Leader asks for unanimous consent.
1a. If she does not receive it, sixty votes to begin debate (I think the recent reform got rid of this step).
2. Debate. <-- A senator can filibuster here.
3. 60 votes to close debate.
4. 50+ votes for passage. <-- A senator can filibuster here.

#2 is what I'm talking about.
Which is what we're talking about, but it does not take 60 votes to close debate, but 60 votes to force an expedited but not immediate close. It can close on its own too without 60 votes.
 

The Librarian

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Which is what we're talking about, but it does not take 60 votes to close debate, but 60 votes to force an expedited but not immediate close. It can close on its own too without 60 votes.
I thought we went over this? As I said before, think back to LBJ and the Civil Rights Act, and this is still applicable because this rule hasn't changed. The Civil Rights Act didn't pass because Southern Democrats filibustered and after they were done the Senate reverted to 50+ to end debate and pass the bill. Otherwise it would've been done before 1964. No, Civil Rights passed because LBJ achieved the necessary 67+ to end debate. The only thing that has changed since then is the threshold.

You need sixty votes to close a debate. It's right there on the Senate's website: "Among other things, the standing rules of the Senate allow senators to debate at length and preclude a simple majority from ending debate."
 

PhoenixDark

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Last comment of the night...you're very naive if you think republicans are the reason we don't have Medicare buy in, prescription drug negotiation, etc. Those items weren't supported by a host of democrats and the White House took some off the table just to get big pharma to the table. The filibuster is a convienent excuse to blame the opposite party for stuff, but in reality its absense would expose both parties as not being serious on a host of issues from health care to abortion.

Lieberman, Rockerfeller, Landreau, Lincoln, Schumer, Baucus, Dodd. That's seven democrat senators who fought tooth and nail to defend insurance companies (in 2009). The senate is more liberal now but there are still plenty of corporate democrats unwilling to take on pharma. And Obama of course wouldn't take them on either.
 

Hitokage

Setec Astronomer
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I thought we went over this? As I said before, think back to LBJ and the Civil Rights Act, and this is still applicable because this rule hasn't changed. The Civil Rights Act didn't pass because Southern Democrats filibustered and after they were done the Senate reverted to 50+ to end debate and pass the bill. Otherwise it would've been done before 1964. No, Civil Rights passed because LBJ achieved the necessary 67+ to end debate. The only thing that has changed since then is the threshold.

You need sixty votes to close a debate. It's right there on the Senate's website: "Among other things, the standing rules of the Senate allow senators to debate at length and preclude a simple majority from ending debate."
If cloture is required to get a vote then how did the Senate pass anything in the past 200 years?
 

The Librarian

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If cloture is required to get a vote then how did the Senate pass anything in the past 200 years?

It's right there in the rules, under Rule 22:
&#8216;&#8216;Is it the sense of the Senate that the debate shall be brought to a close?&#8217;&#8217; And if that question shall be decided in the affirmative by three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn&#8212;except on a measure or motion to amend the Senate rules, in which case the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the Senators present and voting&#8212;then said measure, motion, or other matter pending before the Senate, or the unfinished business, shall be the unfinished business to the exclusion of all other business until disposed of.
 

NYCmetsfan

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I just realized I go to school with a cabinet member in the Obama administration's kid.

Was awkward when the class was being critical of the parent's action with them in the class.
 

The Librarian

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Last comment of the night...you're very naive if you think republicans are the reason we don't have Medicare buy in, prescription drug negotiation, etc. Those items weren't supported by a host of democrats and the White House took some off the table just to get big pharma to the table. The filibuster is a convienent excuse to blame the opposite party for stuff, but in reality its absense would expose both parties as not being serious on a host of issues from health care to abortion.

Lieberman, Rockerfeller, Landreau, Lincoln, Schumer, Baucus, Dodd. That's seven democrat senators who fought tooth and nail to defend insurance companies (in 2009). The senate is more liberal now but there are still plenty of corporate democrats unwilling to take on pharma. And Obama of course wouldn't take them on either.

I'm being called naive by the person who, more than anyone else in this thread, misfires so much about political outcomes and strategy? Lieberman alone killed the Medicare buy-in idea, and it's telling how you didn't comment on the other two things I mentioned.

I really don't appreciate being called naive by you, especially so because I'm still a bit peeved at you for saying I was "pretending to be a girl" that day when I told everyone in here.
 

PhoenixDark

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I'm being called naive by the person who, more than anyone else in this thread, misfires so much about political outcomes and strategy? Lieberman alone killed the Medicare buy-in idea, and it's telling how you didn't comment on the other two things I mentioned.

I really don't appreciate being called naive by you, especially so because I'm still a bit peeved at you for saying I was "pretending to be a girl" that day when I told everyone in here.
Your argument is indeed naive as I have explained. Democrats defend the status just as republicans do, and the filibuster helps them do it. And Lieberman alone didn't kill Medicare buy-ins, Rockerfeller plus most of the senators I listed did too. With respect to the other issues...a cap and trade energy bill wouldn't pass with pure democrat support either. Tack off both W Virginia senators, the southern democrats, etc.

With respect to this girl stuff...I assumed you were playing a game or something, as did some other posters. If you are transitioning I apologize, I didn't know. I have never been homophobic or transphobic, and I feel my posts on those issues speak for themselves.
 

Hitokage

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Dax, you have me digging through stuff on Senate rules and procedure when I could be watching a movie lol. The rule you're referring to is about petitions to end debate, or in other words, cloture, but given that instances of cloture have been recorded and can be graphed as follows:



It is readily apparent that cloture petitions are not required to bring a bill to a vote, or nothing would have been passed prior to 1970. Basically from what I can tell, what would normally happen is that after Senators exhaust their list of amendments to propose, it is then ordered by Unanimous Consent Agreement (that is, without explicit objection) to be read a third time and then open for voting.
 

Aaron Strife

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Your argument is indeed naive as I have explained. Democrats defend the status just as republicans do, and the filibuster helps them do it. And Lieberman alone didn't kill Medicare buy-ins, Rockerfeller plus most of the senators I listed did too. With respect to the other issues...a cap and trade energy bill wouldn't pass with pure democrat support either. Tack off both W Virginia senators, the southern democrats, etc.

With respect to this girl stuff...I assumed you were playing a game or something, as did some other posters. If you are transitioning I apologize, I didn't know. I have never been homophobic or transphobic, and I feel my posts on those issues speak for themselves.
I think the broader point is conservative Democratic opposition wouldn't have been enough to block more liberal bills from passing if bills could pass by simple majority.

Cap & trade and public option were never put to the test but off the top of my head DREAM Act and DISCLOSE Act (which she mentioned) are two bills that would have passed but didn't due to the filibuster.

You're right that a few asshole Democrats (including some in the leadership unfortunately) are complicit in allowing the filibuster to be abused but most of the blame lies squarely with the Republican caucus.
 

The Librarian

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Your argument is indeed naive as I have explained.
You haven't explained anything, PD. Plus I just schooled you in Senate rules, son!
And Lieberman alone didn't kill Medicare buy-ins, Rockerfeller plus most of the senators I listed did too.
Nope. Lieberman.
With respect to the other issues...a cap and trade energy bill wouldn't pass with pure democrat support either. Tack off both W Virginia senators, the southern democrats, etc.
I think it could've passed. Rockefeller was safe, and so was Byrd or his replacement (whoever was the temporary senator), but not necessarily Byrd's seat. Democrats were less willing to fight for the environment than healthcare, but I think it still could've passed.
Dax, you have me digging through stuff on Senate rules and procedure when I could be watching a movie lol. The rule you're referring to is about petitions to end debate, or in other words, cloture, but given that instances of cloture have been recorded and can be graphed as follows:



It is readily apparent that cloture petitions are not required to bring a bill to a vote, or nothing would have been passed prior to 1970. Basically from what I can tell, what would normally happen is that after Senators exhaust their list of amendments to propose, it is then ordered by Unanimous Consent Agreement (that is, without objection) to be read a third time and then open for voting.
Right. To end debate, it takes three-fifths of the chamber because on the most important issues you're not going to get unanimous consent, which I've said before. It's far more complicated than "nothing would have passed" (and nothing did for a while after FDR until LBJ became majority leader in the Senate, and of course his presidency). Barely anything significant, that is. From the Senate's website.

In the early years of Congress, representatives as well as senators could filibuster. As the House of Representatives grew in numbers, however, revisions to the House rules limited debate. In the smaller Senate, unlimited debate continued on the grounds that any senator should have the right to speak as long as necessary on any issue.

...

Three quarters of a century later, in 1917, senators adopted a rule (Rule 22), at the urging of President Woodrow Wilson, that allowed the Senate to end a debate with a two-thirds majority vote, a device known as "cloture." The new Senate rule was first put to the test in 1919, when the Senate invoked cloture to end a filibuster against the Treaty of Versailles. Even with the new cloture rule, filibusters remained an effective means to block legislation, since a two-thirds vote is difficult to obtain. Over the next five decades, the Senate occasionally tried to invoke cloture, but usually failed to gain the necessary two-thirds vote. Filibusters were particularly useful to Southern senators who sought to block civil rights legislation, including anti-lynching legislation, until cloture was invoked after a 57 day filibuster against the Civil Right Act of 1964.
 

PhoenixDark

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Lieberman wasn't the only senator against the buy in
http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/72187-reid-gives-in-to-centrists-on-healthcare-senators-say

Dems would just pass a major energy bill that raised taxes without republican support? That flies in the face of reality especially considering Obama struggled to do much of anything in early 2010 due to the economy and upcoming election.. Nelson, Baucus, Lincoln, etc again.

Now I'm even more baffled by the girl stuff. And iirc you didn't even seem bothered by my post at the time, so what's your point?
 

Aaron Strife

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Man I am so glad fucking Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson are no longer in the Senate, even if Nelson was replaced by a Republican. It's a fair trade for Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin.
 

The Librarian

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Seems I was wrong, then, but so were you as it says there that Rockefeller was for a healthcare public option. Meaning a Medicare buy-in could've passed if it only required 50+ votes. Which was my point.
Dems would just pass a major energy bill that raised taxes without republican support?
Just like they passed a major healthcare bill that raised taxes without Republican support.
That flies in the face of reality especially considering Obama struggled to do much of anything in early 2010 due to the economy and upcoming election.. Nelson, Baucus, Lincoln, etc again.
Besides passing ACA and all that.
Now I'm even more baffled by the girl stuff. And iirc you didn't even seem bothered by my post at the time, so what's your point?
I had called you out on it, dear.
 

Hitokage

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PhoenixDark

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Whatever. I saw no tension in the responses and still don't, nor was I banned or warned (which typically happens when someone makes out of bounds comments on that issue), nor did other posters jump on me (which would also happen, rightfully so). As I said earlier if I offended I apologize, it wasn't my intention and my post history is quite tolerant.

I remember other people wondering about the "dear" and "girl" comments at the time.
 

Hitokage

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Whatever. I saw no tension in the responses and still don't, nor was I banned or warned (which typically happens when someone makes out of bounds comments on that issue), nor did other posters jump on me (which would also happen, rightfully so).
I would think that a lot of people who post in this thread simply roll their eyes at your usual antics, so I wouldn't think others would care in the first place.
 
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