Sixty Votes - Make Republicans Filibuster

Sixty Votes
Sixty Votes
President Obama Promised Healthcare Reform And It Is Close To Becoming Law
President Obama Promised Healthcare Reform And It Is Close To Becoming Law
The House Has Passed A Comphrehensive Healthcare Reform Package
The House Has Passed A Comphrehensive Healthcare Reform Package
Republicans And Some Moderate Democrats Have Promised To Filibuster Any Healthcare Reform Package That Includes A Public Option
Republicans And Some Moderate Democrats Have Promised To Filibuster Any Healthcare Reform Package That Includes A Public Option

Elections Have Consequences

When Barack Obama was elected President in November 2008, the American people also elected democratic majorities in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. The reason for this was two-fold. First, President Obama ran a campaign promising hope and change that resonated with a vast majority of the American people. Second, voters repudiated the policies of President George W. Bush and punished the Republican Party for the state of the country. To remind everyone, when George Bush left the White House in January 2009, the country was facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, two wars that had no coherent strategy and a loss of respect around the world.

One of the main promises made by Barack Obama in his campaign for the presidency was to bring real healthcare change to America. Despite the economic crisis, the financial bailouts and war, President Obama made healthcare his top issue. For the last ten months healthcare has dominated the news and dominated Washington. Conservatives blast the President’s healthcare because they claim it costs too much and grows the size of government. Liberals blast the plan because it isn’t universal healthcare. Despite what anyone thinks about the President’s plans for healthcare, healthcare is a national issue that has caught the attention of the average American. This in itself is an accomplishment.

Last week the House of Representatives passed a substantial healthcare package by five votes. Only one Republican voted in favor of the bill and 39 democrats voted against the bill. Now the bill heads to the Senate. In the Senate the democrats hold what is known as a super majority, meaning they hold the sixty votes necessary to stop a Republican filibuster. Yet, many claim that the bill will die in the Senate because of Joe Lieberman, an independent, and because of some moderate Democrats afraid to have the defend the healthcare law back at home. Despite the fact that a majority of the Senate would pass the healthcare reform bill if it came to a vote, the vote will never happen because Republicans intend to filibuster and some Democrats will not vote to stop the filibuster. Barack Obama’s response to this is simple: MAKE THEM FILIBUSTER.

Historically A Filibuster Was Accomplished By A Senator Holding The Floor As Long As Possible
Historically A Filibuster Was Accomplished By A Senator Holding The Floor As Long As Possible
Today, A Filibuster Occurs Simply When Any Senator Informs The Majority Leader They Want To Filibuster.  They Don't Even Have To Give A Speech.
Today, A Filibuster Occurs Simply When Any Senator Informs The Majority Leader They Want To Filibuster. They Don't Even Have To Give A Speech.

The Filibuster And How It Works

The filibuster has been a procedural tactic used by the United States Senate since the adoption of the Constitution. The filibuster comes out of the Senate rules which state that every Senator has the right to take the floor for as long as they want. Historically this meant that if a Senator wanted to filibuster a bill he or she had to stand at the podium and keep the floor as long as they could. The purpose of the filibuster is to delay votes on the issues until either the filibuster ends or the bill is dropped. The record for the longest filibuster in history is held by former Republican Senator J. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina who held the floor for 24 hours and 18 minutes in opposition to the Civil Rights Act on 1957. The only way to stop a filibuster is a by cloture motion, which means a motion to end debate. A cloture motion passes when 3/5 of the Senate votes to end the debate. This means sixty votes.

Today the filibuster is not as dramatic as it used to be. No longer does a Senator actually have to speak on the floor of the Senate. Now under the Senate rules a Senator only needs to tell the majority leader, who sets the Senate vote schedule, that he or she intends to filibuster a specific bill. This means in terms of the Healthcare care bill on its way to the Senate, any Senator call simply tell Harry Reid they intend to filibuster the bill and Senate Rules prohibit a vote on the bill until a cloture motion is passed.

Joe Lieberman And Some Moderate Democrats Have Announced That They Will Support A Republican Filibuster
Joe Lieberman And Some Moderate Democrats Have Announced That They Will Support A Republican Filibuster
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Has The Discretion To Make Opponents Of Healthcare Reform Actually Filibuster The Bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Has The Discretion To Make Opponents Of Healthcare Reform Actually Filibuster The Bill
Make Them Filibuster.  The American People Deserve An Honest Debate In The Senate Over Healthcare Reform
Make Them Filibuster. The American People Deserve An Honest Debate In The Senate Over Healthcare Reform

Make Them Filibuster

Republicans and some moderate Democrats alike have threatened to filibuster any bill that reaches the Senate regarding Healthcare. Even though Republicans have complained that the bill is 2000 pages long and do not have time to read it, they are ready to filibuster the bill anyways. Senator Graham of South Carolina stated that the bill passed by the House is "dead on arrival." Oddly, when Republicans held a small majority in the Senate and democrats threatened to filibuster judicial nominations made by George Bush, Republicans argued that the filibuster was unconstitutional and a violation of Senate rules. Now they are holding onto the filibuster will both hands.

More important than Republicans holding the bill hostage though is the fact that Joe Lieberman has announced that he will not vote in favor of a cloture motion. That means that the democrats are at least one vote short in passing a cloture motion unless they can somehow get a Republican to change sides. Given that conservatives called for Olympia Snow’s head after she voted in favor of the Bakas bill, there is little chance that any Republican will every cross over again.

Harry Reid has the discretion under the Senate Rules, Senate Rule 22, to force those who oppose Healthcare reform actually filibuster any bill the old fashioned way. Reid can force the Republicans and Democrats and Joe Lieberman to actually stand and make speeches. Reid can force them to read the phone book for hours on end. In other words, Harry Reid can force those in opposition to take voice their opposition instead of allowing them to hide in weeds and not be held accountable for their conduct.

And this is exactly what Harry Reid should do. Make Republicans, and more importantly, moderate democrats stand at a podium and explain exactly why they oppose healthcare reform. The current health care bill is certainly not perfect and there is much to object too, but as the Senate rules now stand nobody will be held accountable for not supporting it. In fact, as the rules now stand no debate on the bill will occur and nobody actually has to leave their office. There is no accountability. Nobody will suffer the consequences.

Yet, democrats will suffer the consequences if health care reform is not passed if the Senate doesn't debate the issue. Republicans will claim that Democrats can’t get anything done. And they will be right. President Obama and Senator Reid, force Joe Lieberman and the moderate democrats explain to their constituents and the American People why they oppose healthcare reform. Make them accountable. Make them filibuster. If the Senate cannot get sixty votes, the American People deserve to know why.

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Comments 16 comments

pgrundy 7 years ago

Paul Krugman's column in the NYT yesterday talked about the possibility that the U.S. is becoming ungovernable because of this 60 votes business in the Senate and because of the extremism developing on the right. I like your idea of making them actually filibuster the old way, although I don't have a lot of faith in Harry Reid.

One thing I've noticed is that things change so dramatically from day to day that just because threats are being made now doesn't mean those threats have substance. Sometimes I think some of these folks just need to grandstand for their base and so they do it whenever they can get in front of a camera. Lieberman is a different story. Honestly, he should be reprimanded in some way. It's hard to believe he was once the Democratic VP candidate.

Great hub, thanks. I hope we get health care. I don't have any and am uninsurable, so I'm kinda stuck if it doesn't pass.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I certainly think important issues should be debated and should have been earlier in this case. Also, the bills should be read by everyone who votes on it.One can fix problems such as how people can get health coverage without going to drastic government takeovers.


eovery profile image

eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

One big question, who is going to pay the 1 trillion dollar budget over run by this bill?

Keep on Hubbing!


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Pgrundy,

I think it works both ways. Democrats used to pull the same things. The filibuster is a huge tool for the minority, but right now there are no consequences for using it.

Thanks for the comment.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

dahoglund,

I don't think the current bill is all that drastic. And yes they should read the bills, but not reading the bill isn't why the Republicans aren't voting for it. For some it is genuine disagreement, which is their right. For others and the RNC, they see it as a chance to weaken the president. The real issue are the moderate democrats. Four Senators are currently running the Country and they are holding the majority of the country hostage and they don't even have to stand up and say why.

Thanks for the commnent.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

eovery,

According the to CBO, the people who use the program will pay for it. And it will reduce the deficit over ten years.

Thanks for the comment.


eovery profile image

eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

I don't understand how it can only cost about 1 trillion dollars and lower the defecit. I do not believe it. Something does not add up correctly. Healthcare is a 10+trillion dollar industry, and the government says they can provide all the cost for under one trillion dollars. I understood, the cost would be another one trillion dollars of addition debt, beyond the premium payments.

Keep on hubbing.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Well, it doesn't cover everyone, only about 5 to 10 percent, which makes the 1 trillion dollars somewhat believeable. I can understand the cost objections, we don't have the money so we shouldn't spend.

But the alternative is to keep the system we have which doesn't work.

Thanks for the comment.


eovery profile image

eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

How about a system where you go to work, you pay your own way.

And if there are some who are just not able to work, for true, then family, neighbors, friends should be charitable to help them out. That is what they used to do. Instead everyone, today thinks the government should take care of them and have created the problems we have today. Everyone should take care of themselves if they are capable.

I understand everyone wants security, especially in these times, but are richer than ever, and can't take care of ourselves. Something is wrong with this picture. People today would rather buy a LCD TV or a laptop before they buy health insurance. Or if anything major happens, someone will take care of me. There has gotten to be too many hand outs, and not enough people working for it.

The system that we are getting does not work any better. In Canada they ration out operations. In England and France, there are not the quantity of experts as there is in the US, so they cannot handle the load of all the major problems. The expert doctors do not make any more then the General Practitioners, so people do not specialize. As in the US, specialization means more money, so the get paid to work and become specialized.

Have you ever eaten in some of these socialistic country. The waiters do not care much about serving you, they get paid the same. Where in the US, if the waiter does not do a good job, he will not be tipped as much. There is the incentive. The same works in health care.

And has the government every ran any business well? Too many cooks, and fingers in the pot, and by people who has never ran a business in their life. I want business people to run this, not some idiot congressman who is just worried about his next election.

And everywhere where it could make a good improvement, the drug and other companies have already made agreements with the government, so the real improvements we need, will not be done. So the change may be worse than the system we have now.

And you say our present system does not work. I do not hear of people dying because of lack of medical treatment. The hospitals treat them, if they can pay or not.

I heard of people having financial woes afterwards, but a honest person pays his bills, to the best of his ability. But that has gone to the wayside, because the morals have cone to the wayside. We are free to do what we want, not as it used to be, we are free to do that which we should do.

Enough said,

Keep on Hubbing.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

The system we have today does not work. 40,000 people a year die because they don't have health insurance. Thousands more because they are underinsured. People go bankrupt because they get sick when they are insured. People pay thousands upon thousands of dollars for health insurance a year only to find out when they need it the most, it is no longer there.

I think my and your arguments come down to one basic point: Is Healthcare a right or a privilege. If it is a right, then the government should do everything in their power to ensure that it is available to all. If it is a privilege, then the government should stay out of it all together and allow the markets work.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

eovery says that if you want health care, get a job. Well, plenty of Americans have jobs, ususally low pay jobs that do not have health care. People who own a small business have not access to group health care. Health care is provided more for people who have the better, higher paying jobs. And the idea that friends and neighbors will or should pitch in to help out? Where is he living? On what planet? The folks on the lower end of the economic spectrum

are barely able to keep their heads above water, buy food, and shelter, let alone put out thousands of dollars for somebody else's health care. sheesh.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Fair points Dolores. I think you believe, as I do, that health care is a right, not a privilege.

Thanks for the comment.


Get Free Visitors 7 years ago

charmful


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

thanks


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

I know you disagree but I think this is a terrible bill. Republicans need to stand against bigger and bigger government if they are worth their salt—that is one of the major tenets of Conservatism, after all. When I see the waiting lines for care in England and Canada; and the massive fraud the government has been unable to stop in the two Medis, I can't see how anybody can say "Let's give them ten times much to handle"

I'm all for reform. But not this. Free Market reform is where it's at.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 6 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

I do disagree, but this wasn't a hub about the merits of the Healthcare bill. If a Republican stood up and said what you just said, I would respect that. That is their right. But they won't stand in the well of the Senate and say it, instead it is a silent filibuster. Make them stand up and say no. Make moderate Democrats stand up and say no. Democrats were wrong for using the silent filibuster with judicial nominations, and the Republicans are wrong now.

More imporantly, Harry Reid is weak because he won't use his power to say.

I always appreciate your comments.

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