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Are Senate Republican's Complaints about Amendments Valid?

 
 
Reply Tue 8 Jan, 2013 09:49 am
For this thread, I am not looking for a fight. Rather, I am honestly looking for some education on this topic.

A conservative friend of mine brought up the argument that the reason the Republicans need to use the filibuster so much is that the Democrats (particularly Harry Reid) isn't letting the Republicans offer amendments to bills.

I would like to get facts that would answer this question

Is the number of amendments allowed by the minority party in the current Senate dramatically different than the number of amendment allowed in previous years?

I don't see any real numbers on this from either side.

 
View best answer, chosen by maxdancona
Kolyo
 
  2  
Reply Tue 8 Jan, 2013 10:39 am
@maxdancona,
None of the GOP's complaints about us "ending the filibuster" are valid, because we're not trying to end it. We're just trying to make it more honest.

Here's an excerpt from a bulk email I got from Elizabeth Warren on the subject:

Quote:
Remember Jimmy Stewart's classic film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? I love that movie. That's what most of us think of when we hear the word "filibuster" -- a single passionate senator speaking for hours about legislation they fiercely oppose until they literally collapse with exhaustion.

But that's not what the filibuster really looks like. Now any senator can make a phone call to register an objection to a bill, then head out for the night. In the meantime, business comes to a screeching halt.

On the first day of the new session in January, the Senate will have a unique opportunity to change the filibuster rule with a simple majority vote, rather than the normal two-thirds vote. The change can be modest: If someone objects to a bill or a nomination in the United States Senate, they should have to stand on the floor of the chamber and defend their opposition. No more ducking responsibility for bringing the work of this country to a dead stop.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jan, 2013 11:36 am
The constitution allows the two houses of Congress to make their own rules. The rules governing cloture in the Senate have served the Republicans in the past; they're just whining right now because those rules are being used against them. The current composition of the Senate is 54 Democrats, 45 Republicans and one independent. The Republicans can prevent cloture by simple assuring that every one of the people is in his or her seat. If the Democrats invoke the so-called "nuclear option," they just invite the Republicans to do the same the next time they are in the majority. There are no constitutional rules on the number of times a bill may be amended, nor to assure that any and all proposed amendments be considered. This is political grandstanding.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jan, 2013 05:34 pm
Neither of the first two responses even attempt to address my question. Does anyone have something that is relevant to the topic?
parados
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jan, 2013 06:24 pm
@maxdancona,
Oh, so the Republicans are filibustering because they aren't preventing bills from coming to vote by proposing tons of frivolous amendments that have to be voted on?

Senate Legislative process
Read the part on amendments. There is no restriction by the majority on amendments.
0 Replies
 
parados
  Selected Answer
 
  3  
Reply Tue 8 Jan, 2013 06:28 pm
@maxdancona,
Here's a Heritage piece that makes the claim

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/06/tyranny-in-the-united-states-senate

I find it interesting that the GOP whines that Reid has used this 50 times in the last 5 years while they have been using Cloture almost 50 times per year.
http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/reference/cloture_motions/clotureCounts.htm
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Tue 8 Jan, 2013 07:53 pm
@maxdancona,
I thought those first two responses were quite to the point. As,of course, were parados' subsequent responses.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jan, 2013 10:57 pm
@parados,
The Heritage piece is exactly what I was looking for.
parados
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2013 10:26 am
@maxdancona,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filling_the_tree

Quote:
It is certainly the point
of view of those in the minority (regardless of party) that filling the tree blocks an individual senator’s right to offer policy proposals that might secure numerical majority support, and is
therefore oppressive and detrimental to the democratic process. It is closer to the point of view
of the majority leader (regardless of who is holding that position) that filling the tree is a
response to an obstructionist minority—either the party or a single senator—that aims mainly to
prevent a Senator from changing the subject, and temporarily at that.

http://www.apsanet.org/~lss/Newsletter/jan2010/Rybick.pdf

It seems to be a chicken or the egg question. The numbers certainly show that obstruction happens more than filling the tree does.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2013 10:35 am
@parados,
Sure.

I am specifically trying to understand the Republican point of view on this.
parados
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2013 10:44 am
@maxdancona,
I would say the Republicans are looking for an excuse to validate their obstructionism. It isn't much of an argument since all the numbers show they have been more obstructionist than at any time in US history and fewer bills have been passed by this last Congress than any Congress since WW2.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2013 10:46 am
@parados,
I respect your point of view. But I am looking to understand the Republican point of view, and I don't think that is it.

The liberal/progressive point of view comes easy to me. I don't need you to argue that side, I am already there. I think there is value in trying to understand the other viewpoint.
parados
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2013 10:54 am
@maxdancona,
The human point of view is we always try to justify our actions in a manner that seems more palatable to us. It doesn't mean that's actually what we believe but merely what we want others to believe.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2013 10:55 am
@maxdancona,
By the way, voting is a right. It is listed in the US Constitution as a right.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2013 01:32 pm
@parados,
And what do you think that has to do with this thread? I started this thread saying "I am not looking for a fight".... I didn't realize how unrealistic a request that was.
parados
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2013 11:53 am
@maxdancona,
I was just commenting on your signature line. It wasn't picking a fight but just pointing out a simple fact.

Quote:

Amendment 15
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude


Quote:
Amendment 19
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.


Quote:

Amendment 25
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2013 02:54 pm
@parados,
Have you considered the possibility that my signature line was meant as ironic humor?

(Which is still completely irrelevant to this thread).
0 Replies
 
 

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