Tag Archives: Harry Reid

Democrats Fail To Allow Amendments

Delta No No No

Senate Defeats Unemployment Benefits Extension

Thus afternoon the senate voted to defeat a bill that would extend the 99 weeks of extended unemployment benefits:

The Senate voted 58-40 Thursday on a proposal that would have continued unemployment insurance for three months, just short of the 60 votes needed to end debate.

“I’m beginning to believe there is nothing that will get Republicans to yes,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said. “It’s a ‘no’ vote because they don’t want to extend unemployment insurance.”

“We’re one Republican vote away from restoring benefits to 1.7 million Americans,” Reid said. “There is one Republican vote standing in the way of a lifeline to these 1.7 million people.”

Reid is, of course, not being totally honest.  There is ONE thing that will get republicans to yes.

Ending The Filibuster

Filibuster

Harry Reid ended the filibuster today.  I know that he only changed rules that impact nominees other than Supreme Court Justices, but this is Washington – no good deed goes unpunished.  Even if the rules are changed back the last day of the session before republicans take the chamber, you can bet that this won’t be forgotten – the republicans will be highly motivated to not only respond in kind but conduct an escalation – in time, there will be no filibuster.

Okay, I guess.  There may be worse things.

I happen to believe in the idea that presidential nominees should be afforded the opportunity of a vote.  He did, after all, win.   Further, Ii think that votes should be brought before the chambers to be voted on.  Needing 60 to agree to vote on something that needs 51 is silly.

However, I also believe that the leaders of each chamber should be more willing to allow votes on issues that they don’t necessarily agree.  For example, the recent non-discrimination act for gay employees will never see a vote in the house.  I don’t like that.  And, similarly, Reid doesn’t bring up for votes issues that he personally disagrees with.  In fact, one of the reasons the filibuster has been used so often in recent years is that Harry fills the amendment tree preventing the republicans from amending bills.

So, what do people have to say about the nuclear option?

Here is Salon:

Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says Democrats are fixing to “blow up 200 years of Senate history” just because they’re not getting their way on a handful of “radical” judicial nominees. On Capitol Hill, the threat of the “nuclear option” has created a sort of political ground zero, and activists on both sides believe that the way this thing plays out will control the shape of the federal judiciary — and with it, the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution — for decades to come.

Call it a primer on the judicial confirmation process. Call it what you get when you spend way too much time reading Riddick’s Senate Procedure. Just don’t call it the “nuclear option” — at least not when Harry Reid is around to correct you. The Senate majority leader doesn’t want his plan to sound so explosive, but be forewarned: Unless somebody blinks first, we’re in for a mind-warping set of unprecedented Senate maneuvers that could put Joe Biden in charge of deeming the filibuster “unconstitutional” — without a word from those folks in black robes across the street — and grease the way for each and every left-wing extremist Barrack Obama ever cares to put on a district court, an appellate court or the U.S. Supreme Court.

And here’s The Hill:

“To change the rules in the Senate can’t be done by a simple majority. It can only be done if there is extended debate by 67 votes,” McConnell said.

“They are talking about doing something illegal. They are talking about breaking the rules to change the rules, and that is not appropriate. That is not fair, and it is not right,” he said.

And what did The Democrat have to say?

A filibuster allows any Senator to prevent a full vote by extending debate on an issue or a presidential appointee indefinitely and requires a supermajority of 60 votes to “break” the filibuster and force a vote. The ability of three-fifths of the Senators to end such debate — two-thirds, in the case of a motion to change Senate rules — is codified in the Standing Rules of the Senate, Rule 22, also known as “Precedence of Motions.”

… the Democrat majority, in an effort to push through Barack Obama’s far left-wing judicial nominees, sought to get rid of the filibuster via the “nuclear option,” which would have solidified absolute, one-party rule and allowed all of Bush’s nominees to go through with essentially only Republican approval — thus removing any reason for the minority party to even show up in the Senate chamber.

But unlike an ideologically-driven hack like Reid,  Mitch McConnell is a Senate purist who believes in the way the Senate has always run and the wisdom of its traditions, even if some of those will benefit the Democrat minority over the next few years.

Okay okay, those sources are accurately linked but  changed the names and parties to represent the opposite of reality.

These guys are all a bunch of pukes – both sides.  All of ’em.  They have all blocked nominations and they have all complained of the minority party having too much power.  But now Reid has done it, he’s broken the rule.  And the rule will be broken again – and the next time it will be pay back.

 

Boehner vs. Reid – II

Nickgb commented that Boehner backed off of his claim that he would forgo the Hastert Rule and allow a straight vote on raising the debt ceiling.

I called Reid out for being he more political partisan on issues like this.  Well, it turns out that Boehner has backed away from his claim and will no longer the straight up and down vote:

(Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Sunday that there is “no way” Republican lawmakers will agree to a measure to raise the nation’s debt ceiling unless it includes conditions to rein in deficit spending.

I think that the government is too big.  And I think that our debt is a problem.  However, I agree that we cannot do normal business by threat of or actually shutting down the government.

The budget fight is one thing.  I think that a strong case can be  made that the budget comes before the individual programs that are in place.  If the budget isn’t big enough to contain those programs, then revenue needs to increase or expenditures need to decrease.

But the debt ceiling?  For some reason that seems different.

Up Is Down – Democrats Object To Entitlement Programs That Incentivize Not Working

Welfare

Another example of how whacky this debate has gotten.  We actually have a democrat lecturing a republican on the tender mercies of government largess:

“Now we’re saying to federal employees: We’re going to pay you when this is all over with,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said minutes after the 407-to-0 House vote. “But right now, you just stay home … watch TV, play chess, whatever you’re going to do, because we won’t let you work.”

Truly remarkable.

By the way, the strategy is working:

The Senate is expected to OK it as well but adjourned Saturday without a vote. The Democrat-controlled chamber will not scheduled a vote until at least Monday afternoon, when members return to Washington.

Boehner vs. Reid

Boehner wins.

At least for now:

Washington (CNN) — The federal government may not be hit with a double whammy on top of the ongoing shutdown, as House Speaker John Boehner told a group of fellow GOP legislators that he won’t let the nation default on its debt, according to a House Republican.

Boehner said that he’d set aside the “Hastert Rule” — that Republicans would only bring measures up for a vote if they are backed by a majority of their caucus — and rely on Democrats to pass a measure to raise the nation’s debt limit, said the House member.

Reid is a partisan warhorse.  If he would vote “no” on a bill, it doesn’t come before the Senate.

Period.

Time will tell if Boehner actually allows the vote, but he has history of being far more bipartisan than his counterpart in the Senate.

Approval Rating – About Right

I think that Boehner has done more work across the aisles than Reid has done.  The minority leaders are largely behind the scenes.  But it doesn’t surprise me that Reid has the worst approval while all four of them are negative:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) holds the lowest net approval rating among House and Senate leadership — but others are not far behind.

According to a Gallup poll released Friday, Reid’s approval rating is 33 percent with 53 percent disapproving of his job performance, leaving him with a net rating of negative 20 percent.

Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), who leads the Republican majority in the House, holds a net approval rating of negative 17 percent, with 37 percent of people approving while 54 percent disapprove.

Both minority leaders in the House and Senate hold a net approval rating of negative 12 percent.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has a 35 percent approval rating, while 37 percent disapprove of him. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has the approval of 39 percent of people, but 51 percent disapprove.

Gun Control: Obama Fail?

Barack Obama

Obama lost the gun debate recently.  Now, there is some discussion as to whether he was playing politics or really trying to pass new regulations concerning the purchase of guns.

In either case, it’s hard to argue that he won or scored points.

And yeah, Obama smarted.  He was visibly upset and even took offense to the notion that he used the Newtown families as props.  “As if” he claimed.

But he did:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzhDY9Sh2Og

If you believe that politics were at play, that the plan was to pass the bill in the senate and then have it fail in house only to pin the republicans as killers, he failed.  The senate is under democrat control and he couldn’t even get all of THEM to vote with him.

However, if you are less cynical and think that Obama was really trying to pass legislation that would impact guns and how they are bought and sold, well, again, he failed.  Not one new regulation even moved out of the upper chamber for consideration by the house.

Why?

Well, Reid and Obama didn’t want debate:

A word, first, about that Senate “minority.” Majority Leader Harry Reid was free to bring the deal struck by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey to the floor for an up-or-down vote, and this background-checks amendment might have passed. It did convince 54 Senators, including four Republicans.

But under Senate rules, a simple majority vote would have opened the measure to up to 30 hours of debate, which would have meant inspecting the details. The White House demanded, and Mr. Reid agreed, that Congress should try to pass the amendment without such a debate.

No debate – no up-or-down vote.

Oh yeah, there is a ton of talk about the filibuster being used to defeat any gun legislation, but every time democrats bring that argument into play, it’s important to point out that Reid doesn’t allow amendments to bills he DOES bring to the floor:

Majority rules would have also opened the bill to pro-gun amendments that were likely to pass. That would have boxed Mr. Reid into the embarrassing spectacle of having to later scotch a final bill because it also contained provisions that the White House loathes. So Mr. Reid moved under “unanimous consent” to allow nine amendments, each with a 60-vote threshold.

The White House was right to worry. An amendment from John Cornyn of Texas that would have required all states to recognize every other state’s concealed-carry permits earned 57 votes, 13 Democrats among them. The nearby table has the list. On Thursday, Wyoming’s John Barrasso offered an amendment to protect gun ownership privacy that passed 67-30.

Obama didn’t want amendments.

And while the bill has language that prohibits the creation of a national registration, there was language that didn’t demonstrate intent:

Manchin-Toomey was rushed together on a political timetable, and a thorough scrub would have revealed that its finer legal points aren’t as modest as liberals claim. Tellingly, the White House blew up earlier negotiations with Tom Coburn on background checks. The Oklahoma Republican favored more and better checks across secondary firearms markets like gun shows and online, but liberals insisted that federally licensed dealers had to keep records.

But did the GOP do nothing but resist?

The Senate GOP offered an alternative background-checks amendment that failed 52-48. Nine Democrats were in favor, but their colleagues voted en masse to block it from moving forward. How’s that for incoherent?

Hardly.

Whatever Obama’s agenda was, political brinksmanship or honest to goodness legislating, he failed.  And gun regulation is a biggie.  Or was.

Why Democrats Won’t Pass A Budget

Harry Reid

It’s been years since the senate has passed a budget; we’re going on 5 now.  And if you wanted to know why that is, you have to look no further than these two articles from The Hill.

First, Paul Ryan gettin’ it done:

Ryan, the former Republican vice presidential candidate who chairs the House Budget Committee, will release his 2014 budget on Tuesday. He’s expected to outline a plan to balance the budget in 10 years.

And why does this contribute to the reasons democrats won’t pass their own budget?

Senate Democrats promised Monday to make Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) new budget a focal point of their 2014 campaigns.

Democrats argue changes to Medicare and other spending cuts outlined by Ryan will pay political dividends for their Senate candidates, who face a difficult 2014 landscape.

“The Ryan budget will be a gift that gives throughout the 2014 cycle for Democrats,” pollster Geoff Garin said on a Monday call hosted by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

And now over to the article describing progress on the senate’s budget:

Senate Democrats say they will soon pass their first budget in four years, but it is proving a test.

Disputes over tax cuts, spending reductions and entitlement reform all present challenges to Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

One reason Senate Democrats did not pass a budget bill for the past four years was that they wanted to avoid unpopular votes to cut spending and hike taxes.

Leadership aides say Democrats from red states are less nervous now.

“The 2012 election showed that being in favor of revenue does not tar and feather you as a tax-and-spend liberal,” one aide said.

For the democrats, being elected to public office is the whole of the point.  There is no effort to govern or lead, only to win the next election.

Paul Ryan submits a budget and the democrats do nothing but “run against” the “gift that keeps giving.”  Yet when it comes time to pass their own budget, we get nothing because they are afraid to make the tough decisions.

Not surprising really.

Harry Reid and Political Advice

Speaking on the floor of the Senate, Harry Reid felt it an important use of his time to provide some political advice to the Speaker of the House.

“As Speaker Boehner saw on New Year’s Day, when he allows every member of the House to vote – and not only the Republican members of the House to vote — Congress can enact bills into laws,” he said on the floor. “No major legislation can pass the Senate without the votes of both Democrats and Republicans. During the 113th Congress, the Speaker should strive to make that the rule in the House of Representatives, as well.”

Interesting advice to be sure.  And in some ways, Reid is right.  The idea of not voting on legislation that has been passed in one chamber and then been sent to the other for consideration is an idea that would garner significant support from the American public.  Heck, even from me.

However, I wonder if the majority leader would consider taking his own advice and allow House bills that he fears come for a vote in his Senate?

I suspect not.

Thelma And Louise

I’m guessing we go over.

John Boehner has said that he’ll give House members 48 hours to get back to Washington.  That means if he were to call them right now they wouldn’t get to their offices until Saturday.  Which leaves 2 days to pass legislation.

And that’s if he agrees to pass the Senate version of the bill.

As it stands right now, I think that the problem is this:

  • The President will not budge on his demand that the tax rate on wealthy Americans goes up.  That is a deal breaker for him.
  • The democrats will not agree to spending cuts other than defense.
  • The republicans will not raise the tax rate on anyone.

The fiscal cliff is made up of two parts.  The first is the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts.  Because these rates were pushed through using reconciliation, they were set to expire in 2011.  However, as part of a negotiation, the rates were extended for 1 year.  This agreement will end December 31st at midnight.  Failure to extend the Bush tax rates will result in a massive tax hike for every American.

The second part is the agreement made that will mandate budgetary cuts; spending cuts.  Among the items set to be cut is the defense budget.  This is seen to be unappealing to republicans.

A guilty pleasure of mine would be to see us go over this cliff in full.  I want to see how American’s react to the tax hike that will impact them January 1.  This would include the extraordinarily large impact of the AMT that would impact millions of Americans.

However, my sick sense of cosmic justice aside, I really am looking for a permanent extension to the Bush tax cuts.  It not only is the right thing to do, but trying to raise the rates like Obama has been insisting is only a political ploy not meant to address any of the fiscal issues that we have right now.  With the rates made permanent, the economy will be able to remove the uncertainty and move forward in recovery.

As for the cuts.  I say let ’em come.  The impact will be short-term dramatic.  I suspect the economy will move into recession but it will be quick and short.  However, the long term benefit of the cuts will reduce the size of government spending and allow the economy to grow more quickly than it otherwise might.

My desire aside I feel that the ball is in the Senate’s court.  Financial bills originate in the House and move to the Senate for consideration.  The Senate should pass the bill or amend it and return it to the House.  Under Boenher, the House has passed two such bills that are simply waiting to be considered by Harry Reid.  For whatever reason, Reid will not hear those bills and allow the Senate to act.

Right now, the delay in passing a bill is squarely on Harry Reid and the democrats.