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“Nuclear” Option More Dental X-Ray, Less Hiroshima

“Nuclear” Option More Dental X-Ray, Less Hiroshima
Reid goes semi-nuclear.

Reid goes semi-nuclear.
Image credit: DonkeyHotey

Earlier today, Senator Harry Reid invoked the “nuclear” option to eliminate filibusters for cabinet, sub-cabinet and judicial nominees, providing yet another half-a-loaf baby step forward in moving around endemic Republican obstinance.  The rule change makes it so that the Senate requires a majority (50+1), rather than a supermajority (60) to confirm Presidential appointees to essential roles within government.

The change in Senate procedure does not prevent the minority party from filibustering legislation or Supreme Court nominees, which is why the Democrats in the Senate remain namby pamby candy asses.  The biggest problem with the grotesque abuses of the silent coward’s filibuster by the Republican Senate under Mitch McConnell lies exactly with the inability for the half of the nation’s legislative branch to pass any meaningful legislation at all.  It only takes one psychotic Senator to threaten – that’s right, threaten, not actually perform a filibuster – to kill legislation that has overwhelming support by the people, Congress, and the Senate itself.

A graph of the filibuster usage over time. Credit: Washington Post

A graph of the filibuster usage over time.
Image credit: Washington Post

The current state of affairs in the Senate is no longer the “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” style of filibuster, in the forms of Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul – both willing to stand up and lend voice to and pay a physical cost for staunch opposition, but rather the shameful threat of filibuster is all it takes to destroy a bill’s hope of passage.  After McConnell announced after the election of President Obama that they would do everything in their power to make him a one-term President, the party of obstruction has opposed everything just short of Pronouncements of Apple Pie is Good and Recognition of Grandmas Day from passing, shattering records for filibusters year after consecutive year.  The Senate is where legislation goes to die, and the American people have paid the price.

Immensely popular legislation murdered by the craptacular filibuster of the Republican Senate:

  • Repeal of Big Oil Tax Subsidies – oil companies get tax credits that dramatically reduce the taxes they pay, and most pay nothing in taxes or even receive a refund from the government.  This would have reversed that.
  • The DREAM Act – immigration reform, providing a path to citizenship.
  • Paycheck Fairness Act – Allow women to dispute massive pay differentials between men and women in the same position.

  • Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act – Barring corporations from deducting costs from outsourcing American jobs, basically eliminating the tax credit and incentive that exists for shipping jobs overseas.
  • The DISCLOSE Act – election reform, requiring corporations to disclose political spending.
  • Employee Free Choice Act – allowing workers to form a union by collecting signatures from more than half of the workers.
  • The Public Option – This is why Obamacare does not have a public option.
  • The Buffet Rule – 30% minimum tax for millionaires and billionaires.  Right now, most millionaires and billionaires pay 14%-15% or less, compared to average workers paying 26%-28% or higher.
  • Repeal of Big Oil Tax Subsidies – oil companies get tax credits that dramatically reduce the taxes they pay, and most pay nothing in taxes or even receive a refund from the government.  This would have reversed that.

So, yes, Lord of the Turtle People Mitch McConnell and his reckless cadre of neoconservative burn-it-down anarchist Senators can no longer oppose low-level cabinet positions like Undersecretary to the Interior, but they can still stop dead in their tracks bills they find some miserable wordsmithed excuse to destroy.  The same would filibuster a bill to “Distribute Cancer Vaccine to American Citizens” on account of the damage such a socialist overreach and government intervention would do to the oncology industry and related pharmaceuticals.  They’ve poisoned the well of the Senate, and now the Democratic leadership is deciding about 6 years after the rest of us that this has actually happened, and are deciding that they should mix the poisoned stuff with the good stuff.

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