Tag Archives: RuleXXII

Democrats, not Republicans, are the Real “Party of No” by Gregory Hilton

A popular theme in the news media is that the Republican Party wants the United States to fail in order to make political gains this November. The story makes little sense because until two weeks ago the Democrats had a super majority. The GOP is accused of threatening 58 filibusters to bring the Senate to a halt. It is pure nonsense and no one should be shocked that some Senators have placed a temporary “hold” on a nomination. That has happened for over a century.
The GOP is not the “party of no,” and it has been constructive. The first session of the 111th Congress enacted 154 bills, including many major legislative proposals.
Democrats are the real “party of no” and this began in 2007 when they refused to allow votes on many Bush appointments. Those holds were not temporary. The Democrats started a legislative war four years ago when they broke over a century of Senate traditions by resorting to absolute partisanship. The general public does not realize this because the news media has ignored the story.
The Senate changed significantly in 2006 when Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) became Majority Leader. Unlike previous Democratic Majority Leaders such as Tom Daschle (D-SD) and George Mitchell (D-ME), Reid wasn’t willing to use unanimous consent agreements. This would have required compromises with Republicans, and it is how the Senate was always run in the past. The GOP was definitely willing to compromise when it was in power, and prior Republican leaders such as Trent Lott (R-MS) and Bill Frist (R-TN) received considerable flack from the party base because of their willingness to agree to compromises which allowed the Senate to make progress on legislative priorities.
When they were in power, Republicans allowed the Democrats to have a meaningful role in the legislative process. They were allowed to offer amendments, but that rarely happens anymore. What Majority Leader Harry Reid has done is run the Senate by cloture motions, or RuleXXII. This allows 16 Senators to force an end to debate after 30 hours. Cloture motions were used in the past, but they were always aimed at stopping filibusters.
The Reid procedures are totally unique. No one has ever before run the Senate by cloture motion, and Reid has largely succeeded in bringing unity to the GOP caucus. Diverse Senators such as Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) are equally outraged by what has happened. They are all mystified because it is so unnecessary to run the Senate in this manner, and the favorite topic in the GOP cloakroom is what motivates Reid.
Once again, before Reid cloture was only used to stop a filibuster. Now it is how the Senate is run. Cloture is filed on everything, and it has nothing to do with Republican stalling. But that hasn’t stopped the media and liberal activist groups from promoting the false GOP obstruction story.
The left wing has simply taken the number of cloture petitions filed and label them Republican “filibusters.” The number of actual filibuster threats made by the Republican leadership is miniscule.
If Democrats were really concerned about obstructionism, they have the power to end it. They simply need to be willing to negotiate with the Republican leadership in the Senate in good faith. They are not going to do that because the goal is not legislation, it is public relations.
In the 11th Congress, Republicans have been working desperately to avoid fiscal collapse. They have made substantive recommendations on how to create jobs, but President Obama went ahead with the stimulus. Here is a quick review of the President’s economic performance:
* We were told the $787 billion Stimulus would stop unemployment from reaching 8%. But it will stay around 10% for the next year, and “under-employment” is at 17%. The deficit this has created is an enormous burden to the next generation.
* The $60 billion bailout of GM and Chrysler required major changes in bankruptcy laws and huge concessions to the UAW (they own 55% of Chrysler). The White House claims GM is starting to repay the loan is not true. GM has not made a profit. They just decided not to tap a government contingency fund which would place them further in debt.
* The “Cash-for-Clunkers” program cost taxpayers between $20,000 and $45,000 per vehicle purchased.
* The “HAMP” mortgage modification program, designed to save homeowners from foreclosure? Out of 651,000 “trial” modifications, zero have turned into a permanent repayment plan
We have had an impact by stopping cap-and-trade, and the Copenhagen climate change agenda. This bill would have cost the average American family an annual $1,720. This was definitely what was not needed in a recession.
The GOP gave the President good advice. He should be glad he listened to them rather than Secretary of Energy Steven Chu who said the price of electricity in America is “anomalously low.”