Shelby Stomps Feet, Takes Ball and Goes Home
How is this for bipartisan?
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put an extraordinary "blanket hold"
on at least 70 nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate,
according to multiple reports this evening. The hold means no
nominations can move forward unless Senate Democrats can secure a
60-member cloture vote to break it, or until Shelby lifts the hold.
"While holds are frequent," CongressDaily's Dan Friedman and Megan Scully report
(sub. req.), "Senate aides said a blanket hold represents a far more
aggressive use of the power than is normal." The magazine reported
aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were the source of the news
about Shelby's blanket hold.
Somebody call the wahhhhmbulence for this poor kid. Sadly, this is pretty typical of the ridiculous number of bipartisan efforts as the GOP has taken the act of fillibusters to heights unseen in American politics:
DECADES' WORTH OF OBSTRUCTIONISM.... In talking to Senate Democrats yesterday, President Obama reminded the caucus
that its successes have come against "enormous" and "unprecedented"
obstructionism: "You may have looked at these statistics. You had to
cast more votes to break filibusters last year than in the entire 1950s
and '60s combined. That's 20 years of obstruction packed into just one."
That may seem like a bit of an exaggeration, so CNN fact-checked the claim. Wouldn't you know it, the president was correct.
* A vote to end filibuster debate is called a cloture
vote. From the 81st Congress (1949-1950) through the 91st Congress
(1969-1970), there were a total of 30 votes on cloture. There were no
more than seven cloture votes in any single session during those years.
* Starting with the 92nd Congress (1971-72), cloture votes
became more frequent. Part of that can be explained by the fact that
the Senate changed the required majority in 1975, making it easier to
* The 110th Congress (2007-2008) is the record-holder so far: There were 112 votes on cloture during that two-year period.
* So far, the 11th Congress (2009-2010) has held 41 cloture votes, 39 of them last year, two more this year.
It's not especially close. From 1949 to 1970, there were 30 cloture votes. In 2009, there were 39.
This reminds me to post this chart, recently put together by TPM, which puts Republican abuse in a helpful, visual context. It doesn't even include the current Congress, which is poised to break its own record from the Congress than ended in 2008.