Friday, November 20, 2009

Republicans Winning the Battle to do Nothing

Congress’s public ratings are in the dumps. So are the President’s. Why? Because they aren’t getting anything done. With large majorities in both the House and the Senate, the Government should be making great progress, but the Democrats are clearly failing to get their work done, aren’t they?

No. The Democrats aren’t failing, the Republicans are preventing action. Since 2007, the Republicans in the Senate have operated a perpetual filibuster. Individual Republicans have put meaningless holds on legislation and the President’s nominees. The Republican caucus refuses to allow anything to go forward without multiple cloture votes, including a bill to extend unemployment benefits that finally passed 98-0. So, nothing can go forward.

In the 110th Congress was forced by the Republicans to hold twice as many votes on cloture than any other past Congress (and they had a Republican president).

In the past, the filibuster was reserved for highly controversial legislation. Holds on nominees were reserved for clearly unqualified candidates. Just this year, however, Republicans placed a hold on the President’s nominee for ambassador to Brasil to hold up unrelated Cuba policy. A hold was placed on legislation benefitting veterans just to hold it up. Yesterday, the Senate confirmed its first of the President’s nominees for the federal bench. Why? Because a Republican put a hold a moderate candidate just to hold it up.

Why are Republicans putting up a wall in front of everything? This is Gingrichism at its worst. Do the math. If the voting public is mad at the Congress, we’ll want to ‘throw the bums out.’ With sixty percent of the bums being Democrats, the Republicans will lose less than the Democrats. A primary part of Gingrichism is that if both sides lose, but the other side loses worse than yours, you’re still the winner … and to hell with the damage you’ve done to the country.

Don’t be fooled … It’s not the Democrats doing nothing; it’s the Republicans forcing nothing.

Please see Legislative Pileup Looms in the Senate. published following this post.