Reconciliation and Filibuster

I don’t know much about the U.S. Senate’s weird rules. Maybe enough to properly attach the epithet “Byzantine” to them.

But here’s the thing. The Republicans have decided to filibuster just about everything, meaning that you need 60 votes to pass anything, or, put another way 41 senators hold a minority veto power.

The one catch is the Budget Reconciliation provisions which allow for the oft-demanded “up or down vote” with 50+VP or 51 being the passing number. Then there is something called the “Byrd Rule” which limits what is properly subject to the reconciliation process.

But the “Byrd Rule” developed in an era where the filibuster was a much rarer thing only used in the case of things that were big time, like the Civil Rights Act. And of course, “It’s OK If You’re A Republican” to abuse the Byrd Rule. Even McCain says they have done it.

Anyway, the extreme pressure the Republicans are putting on the leadership by forcing a filibuster on everything is only inevitably going to cause people to look for escape hatches. This is typical of Republican strategy: extreme myopia, but fully aware myopia. They will sell the future short on purpose with fully informed consent to win now.

As often as I criticize the Dems for not having balls, I would never suggest that they grow balls at the expense of their brain. All of these filibusters disturb the political equilibrium and there will be blowback.

For an example of the foregoing, look no further than the last two elections.