Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Congress: How Can It Get Worse? - Norm Ornstein

Norm Ornstein - as veteran Newshour watchers can affirm - is a seasoned and sober Congress watcher.  He assesses the impact of the filibuster reform.  Not much - except that Obama will be able to fill some long-standing judicial vacancies, and sub-cabinet level federal posts after years of obstruction. But his is an illuminating account of how the Senate works. - GWC
How Can It Get Worse? -
by Norm Ornstein
So much has now been written about the filibuster that one might think there is nothing more to say. Wrong! I do have some observations, about the Senate leading up to this change, and about the Senate going forward, that I hope will plow new ground—or at least use different furrows.
First off, I view the actions taken last week with some sorrow. I am not exultant that the change took place the way it did. I have long been an advocate not of removal of the filibuster, but of filibuster reform; my main idea has been to shift the threshold from 60 votes needed to stop debate to 40 votes needed to continue it—putting the onus where it belongs, on the minority, with an even more relaxed threshold for executive nominations.
But I would much rather have seen this impasse resolved the way it has been in the past, with a bipartisan agreement to break the logjam and approve most of the president's nominees, along with a return to the 2005 standard that filibusters of nominations should be reserved for "extraordinary circumstances." When it became clear that there was no chance of such a deal, I supported Harry Reid's actions.....

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