Even with filibuster Democrat majority can still jam sweeping policy changes through

What, Me Allow an End-run Around the Filibuster?

Earlier this week, we posted our reaction to the ‘news’ that the hallowed Senate filibuster ‘would live on’. Happiness ensued, among Senate Republicans, the victorious GOP ‘ace negotiator’, Mitch McConnell and, Republican voters everywhere!

Though two straight elections (the national and the Georgia runoff) had been lost, the Minority’s only effective weapon against total annihilation of its values had been preserved…God Save the GOP!

Two courageous Democrat senators had risen above their party’s petty treachery and refused to destroy the strongest traditions of the “world’s greatest deliberative body”.

The Republican Senate conference was joyous and gleeful.

Now… we are about as far as you can get from intimate knowledge of all the ‘magic’ our Washington ‘betters’ can perform.

However, based only on observation and a morbid interest in the goings on in our nation’s politics, it seemed obvious to us that the happiness that abounded among our Republican ‘congressfolk’ was not just premature, but almost adolescently naive.

To think that the Schumer-Pelosi thirst for total control of congress and the American people was going to be thwarted by two senators, one an openly bi-sexual freshman and the other a smooth-talking political conman is almost childish.

Delighted that the Democrats were frustrated that the enormous power they believed they’d won was going to be denied because their dreams of doing away with the Senate filibuster had been dashed is to believe that Santa Claus is a Republican and he came to Mitch’s house 11 months early this year.

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel, however, is not so naive and she is willing and brave enough to bring the sobering news. Her column Friday describes how the Democrat majority can still jam sweeping policy changes through, into law.    dlh

By the way, that ‘property’ in Wuhan is still available…cheap


Breitbart via Veritaspac, January 26:


On Monday, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) both signaled they would not support abolishing the filibuster.

Yeah, sure. If you believe that, I’ve got a nice piece of property in Wuhan, China that I’ll sell to you cheap.

Also, if you have confidence in the word of the Arizona “openly indesisive” and the West Virginia “more moderate than thou” senator, by all means, comment on Veritaspac. The ‘progressives’ at the local media who monitor this site will appreciate you.     dlh

Kimberley Strassel at the Wall Street Journal lays it out, the Dems can still jam through their radical agenda…here’s how:   Excerpts, bold our emphasis, our annotations in red

The Senate’s Byrd Call
Manchin and Sinema have to do more if they’re serious about saving the filibuster.

. . .

The two Democrats made headlines this week when they said they would not vote to kill the legislative filibuster. Those declarations seem to put paid to liberal Democrats’ plans to blow up that longtime Senate rule requiring 60 votes to pass most bills. Mr. Manchin went out of his way to assure that there were no caveats. “I will not vote to bust the filibuster under any condition, on anything that you can think of,” he told the Washington Post. Ms. Sinema likewise reassured that she is “not open to changing her mind.”

Progressive are fuming, even as the declarations had the effect of immediately helping Democrats and President Biden’s early agenda. It reassured Minority Leader Mitch McConnell enough to agree to an organizing resolution that puts Democrats in control of evenly divided Senate committees.

Yet it turns out that the promise is, for now, only half a loaf. The Senate in fact has two guards against allowing a bare majority to jam through sweeping policy changes. One is the legislative filibuster. The other is what’s known as the Byrd rule—named after the senator whose seat Mr. Manchin now holds.

The Senate has a process called budget reconciliation, which allows certain spending and tax measures to pass the chamber with a simple majority. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, who died in 2010, was a defender of the chamber’s “deliberative process” and in 1985 moved to stop senators who were abusing reconciliation by jamming nonbudget issues into those bills simply to avoid the 60-vote requirement. The Senate unanimously adopted his rule, which essentially puts the Senate parliamentarian in charge of deciding whether items in reconciliation bills are truly budget-related. The Byrd rule protects against the majority using reconciliation as an end run around the legislative filibuster.

And don’t Democrats know it. Even as the two senators vow never to bust the filibuster, their Democratic colleagues are plotting instead to bust the Byrd rule. Progressive groups are ramping up pressure on Democrats to load the Biden agenda into reconciliation bills, then simply overrule the parliamentarian when she finds them in violation of the Byrd rule. A recent Vox piece lectured that the decision of an “unelected bureaucrat” does not equal “a divine command.” Some activists are making the case that Vice President Kamala Harris, who presides over the Senate, ought to have final authority over what counts for reconciliation. “Damn right we will” pass legislation, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders told reporters this week. “There is a process called reconciliation.”

The idea isn’t new. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in 2017 led a campaign to gut the power of the Senate parliamentarian after she issued numerous rulings limiting the GOP’s ability to use reconciliation to reform ObamaCare. Democrats and the media went bananas, correctly noting that Republicans were effectively moving to “nuke” the legislative filibuster, allowing the GOP to pass virtually anything. Democrats praised Mr. McConnell when he refused to go along. Now they want to break the Senate themselves.  We disagree with Strassel here,it seems to us  Cruz’ maneuver was within the scope of reconciliation if it denied funds to Obamacare or cut programs (and did not add programs)

Democrats are debating using reconciliation to pass another round of Covid relief. Many of their spending or tax provisions likely qualify under reconciliation rules. But progressives are pushing Democrats also to jam through items that in no conceivable way pass the Byrd test, such as statehood for the District of Columbia. Should Democrats overrule the parliamentarian, the filibuster becomes meaningless as the floodgates open. Especially because Democrats have two more opportunities to pass reconciliation bills before the 2022 midterm elections. Congress didn’t pass a reconciliation bill last year, so Democrats can pass two this year and a third in 2022. If they use the first, Covid-related bill to break the Byrd rule, it is a guarantee the ensuing two will serve as vehicles for most of the Biden agenda—immigration, climate, gun rules, you name it.

In short, Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema haven’t saved the filibuster—yet. They won’t unless they also publicly make clear they will reject any Democratic vote to overrule the parliamentarian and kill the Byrd rule. Mr. Manchin’s office told me that “he remains committed to ensuring President Biden is successful in getting the resources he needs and that there is a bipartisan path forward on additional Covid relief.” Ms. Sinema’s office declined to comment.  The non-answer from the two tells us they will go along woth an end-run around the filibuster they supposedly cherish.

If bipartisanship is the goal, the two senators’ most effective means of achieving it is reassuring their GOP colleagues that they won’t support any maneuver that destroys the Senate’s “deliberative process.” Such a vow would also force their own colleagues to stop scheming and start finding areas of agreement with Republicans. Nothing will be settled until senators make the Byrd call.

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One Response to Even with filibuster Democrat majority can still jam sweeping policy changes through

  1. Eugene Mattecheck Jr says:

    My recollection is Obamacare was passed using reconciliation after Ted Kennedy’s seat was lost in a special election. Dems had 60 seats before that.

    I think McCain’s stab at Trump was a reconciliation vote to end Obamacare.

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