The Reason Why the Congress "Did Nothing" ...
It is SO Important to pay attention to Down Ticket races, if we really want to put America on a New Track.
Even though Democrats won a slim majority in the House and Senate in 2006, the GOP has been able to block most of the New legislation that the Democrats have been authoring on behalf of the American People.
The Republican Strategy for the last 2 years, "Run against the Do-Nothing Congress in 2008".
How? By blocking nearly every Bill from Passing in the Senate, under the pretext of Debate, otherwise known as the Filibuster.
Source: Secretary of the Senate ------
As this chart shows, never have so many filibusters been threatened as in the first session of the 110th Congress. In just the first year, Republicans filibustered more legislation, and required more cloture votes to break those filibusters, than in any Congress in recent history.
It takes 60 Senators agreeing to stop a Filibuster -- so say NO to these Obstructionist tactics and Vote Democratic all the way down the Ticket. (we're a long ways from 60 Senators now ...)
SO what exactly is a Filibuster, and how does it work?
How Government Works - Junto Society Filibuster by Mark Anthony Yost, Jr. Towson University - Fall 1999
The ability to filibuster has its roots in the founding period and in the Standing Rules of the Senate. It is important to note that filibusters are not the normal occurrence, and in fact they are rarely employed. Filibusters can only be used when a Unanimous Consent Agreement is not in place, meaning that all Senators have not agreed to limit debate. ...
“Generally characterized in the public mind as a non-stop speech, a filibuster in the fullest sense employs every parliamentary maneuver and dilatory motion to delay, modify, or defeat legislation. ” So, the filibuster is not just one senator rambling on and on to hold up the floor of the Senate, as is characterized by Jimmy Stewart, in “Mr. Smith goes to Washington.”
Although, this can be an integral part of it. The filibuster also employs a full arsenal of motions and objections. For example, one senator could add an unlimited amount of amendments to the bill, despite germaneness , and debate them all. In addition he can continually ask that a quorum call be in effect, keeping senators there at all hours. The key to the filibuster is to continually hold the floor and refuse to yield it to anyone but your supporters. If you are the only one filibustering, than you must keep the floor by yourself. One Senator said about invoking a filibuster, “if it takes unanimous consent, object. If not, you make a little speech, suggest and absence of quorum, then…use parliamentary procedures…motions to adjourn, motions to recess… ”
The filibuster is the last resort when it comes to stopping legislation. Most Senators do not want to start a filibuster because it virtually stops all floor action on any legislation, tying the floor up on one bill. Although on the floor it is the last resort, sometimes threatening a filibuster can be a powerful bargaining chip. By threatening to filibuster, Senators are able to give their input on a bill, possibly changing it, or preventing it from even being scheduled. ...
ourfuture.org The Real Story of the 110th Congress: The Right-Wing Block-And-Blame Game By Eric Lotke, Isaiah J. Poole, Lauren Kiefer and Alex Carter - October 9, 2008
The 110th Congress started with high hopes. The Democrats wrested control from the reigning Republicans. Rep. Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker in U.S. history.
The biggest frustration was obstruction in the Senate. Senate Republicans threatened to filibuster virtually every bill, requiring a 60-vote cloture motion to move beyond the filibuster. Because the Democrats held a narrow margin and so few Republicans crossed the aisle, much legislation was blocked. Republicans then blamed Democrats for getting nothing done.
The Republican obstruction strategy had two major effects. First, it succeeded in making Congress appear dysfunctional.
Second, the strategy succeeded in blocking legislation that Democrats wanted and Republicans didn’t. Never mind that the American people wanted much of this legislation. The strategy was to block.
Most Congresses have roughly fifty filibuster threats in a year. Republican senators in the 110th Congress threatened more than 100 filibusters, twice the historical norm.
The Real Story of the 110th Congress: The Right-Wing Block-And-Blame Game
As the 110th Congress nears its close, the impact of a record-breaking campaign of obstruction by a conservative minority in the Senate is now more clear than ever. The right-wing strategy of "block and blame" has driven the public perception of a "do-nothing Congress." In reality, the 110th Congress would have achieved truly landmark accomplishments -- including safely bringing the troops home from Iraq, reducing America's dependence on foreign oil and its contribution to global warming, and funding long-neglected domestic priorities—had it not been for conservative obstruction.
Record-Breaking Republican Obstructionism Source: Secretary of the Senate
Never have so many filibusters been threatened as in the first quarter of the 110th session of Congress. At this rate, by the end of the session in 2008, there will be more than double the highest number of cloture votes of any session of Congress in history. While the filibuster is a tactic used on both sides of the aisle, these numbers are unprecedented. Republican obstructionism is preventing the vast majority of legislation from moving forward and is thwarting the will of the American people.
Here is all the Progress the GOP has Blocked in the Name of "Politics as Usual": ourfuture.org Obstruction by Filibuster How the Right is Obstructing America’s Progress
June, 2008 By Alex Carter, Robert Gerson, Christopher Rasmussen, Eric Lotke, Molly Swartz
The votes show how an obstructionist minority is thwarting the will of a simple majority.
What follows are some crucial examples.
[Examples of Filibuster Obstruction, in the last 2 years]
Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007 Energy Bill
This bill would have increased fuel standards on all automobiles to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, required that 15 percent of the nation’s energy come from renewable resources, and provide tax incentives to encourage ethanols use in automobile fuel, along with a variety of other energy standards. ...
Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007
This bill would have continued to provide funding for agricultural appropriations originally provided in a similar 2002 bill. ...
Residency for Immigrant Children
S. 2205 This bill would have provided relief to the children of undocumented immigrants by providing them with the opportunity to receive a 6 year conditional immigration status ...
Webb Amendment (Take 2) Longer Leave for Deployed Troops
This Amendment is the second attempt by Senator Jim Webb to specify minimum periods between deployment of units and members for troops serving in the War in Iraq and the global war on terrorism. ...
Restoration of Habeas Corpus to U.S. Detainees
Habeas Corpus is a judicial mandate to prison officials ordering an inmate be brought to the court in order to determine whether or not that person is lawfully imprisoned and whether or not he should be released. ...
Employee Free Choice Act
The Employee Free Choice Act of 2007 simplifies the procedures by which members of a workplace can unionize for collective bargaining. ...
Part D – Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act
H.R. 4/S. 3
The 2003 Medicare Modernization and Reauthorization Act, which provides prescription drug coverage to senior citizens, includes a provision that prohibits Medicare from using its bulk-buying power to negotiate lower prices with drug manufacturers. ... Making negotiated prices a part of a Medicare-offered plan, as the price negotiation bill would have done, would yield combined estimated savings for both seniors and taxpayers of between $40 billion and $65 billion a year. ...
Minimum Wage Act
Ending the War in Iraq
Webb Amendment: Rest for the Weary
S. Amdt. 2012
The Webb Amendment, proposed by freshman senator Jim Webb, D-Va, would enforce break periods during the deployment of individual U.S. troops in Iraq. ...
Levin Amendment: Iraq Pullout
CLEAN Energy Act of 2007
The primary vehicle for change was H.R. 6, the CLEAN Energy Act. This Act rolls back gas and oil subsidies, and taps record profits to fund development of clean new technologies.
Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act
Ethics and Lobbying Disclosure Act
S. 1, H.R. 2316
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act
S. 1348/S. 1639
Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act
The American Housing Rescue & Foreclosure Prevention Act
The Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 authorizes federal bankruptcy courts to modify mortgage payments due on homeowners’ primary residences, a practice which is barred by current law. ...
The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
Women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. This wage gap can be addressed only if women have the tools necessary to challenge discrimination against them. The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act seeks to redress this inequality. ...
The country wants to move forward. The American people want change, and the Democrats in Congress are trying to deliver it. The votes in this report indicate both the direction the country could go and the forces obstructing change.
In the nearly every one of these votes, the Democrats had a majority. In a functioning democracy, this would be enough to pass these bills and send them to the President to be signed into law. But it isn’t happening.
http://www.ourfuture.org/files/20080529_filibusteredreport_pdf.pdf (pdf) (Get the list)
SO the Reason why the Congress "Did Nothing"? Some Politicians care more about their own careers, than they do about this Country's Progress, than about the Country's Future!
The new talking points from the Right will be about "Stopping the 'Run Away' Government, with Liberals in charge everywhere."
I say, It's WAY TOO Late for, MORE politics as usual!!!
America needs Real Change. NOW.
It's time to Stop the "Endless" Obstructionists --
The Party of Record Filibuster, is the only group trying to "Run-Away" with OUR Future.
It's time to Stop the Filibustering -- and all the Gaming Playing!
It's time for a different type of Politics, the kind that is measured by REAL Results!
You can help make it happen -- Vote D on the "Down Ticket"
and then help support Progressive Candidates, working hard to unseat that Party of the Filibuster, the real DO NOTHING culprits!