What is to be done with the Senate ?
What are we going to do about Mitch McConnell and his enabler Jim Manchin ? McConnell is blocking the establishment of committees for the 117th Senate. This means that the committees with Republican Chairs and Republican majorities will exist and operate in the Senate with a Democratic majority. He demands that Democrats promise not to eliminate the filibuster before he ends the filibuster of the resolution setting up the 117th Senate.
One simple solution is to introduce bills on the floor. This is what McConnell did with his bill to repeal and replace the ACA. McConnell objecting to contempt for regular order is, quite possibly, absurd enough to be mocked even by very serious centrists. The point is that McConnell can block the establishment of committees, but he can only make committees important if the Democrats allow him to.
So far, this might work for a while (motions to confirm straight to the floor as many have proposed for example). But the Democratic caucus will not allow Schumer to replace committees with himself (the Republican caucus didn’t let McConnell get away with it either). The problem is that Senators want the power that comes from serving on committees. Especially those who will be chairpersons if McConnell is convinced or nuked will not accept bills being written in Schumer’s office. What do do about the caucus ?
The Democratic caucus can do what it pleases with or without McConnell. It can establish committees of the caucus. t can have Senators chair those committees. Those committees can (Constitutionally) do most things which senate committees do, except there won’t be any Republicans on those committees. Schumer can bring to the floor bills drafted by committees of the Democratic caucus. If the Republicans refuse to play ball with the Democrats, the Democrats can leave them alone.
It remains true that Republicans can filibuster the bills when they get to the floor, but committees only matter if Schumer allows them to matter and he only has to delegate power to other Democrats.
McConnell will (correctly) note that this is an outrageous break from the traditions of the Senate. The Democrats can reply (in chorus) that they are eager to go to committee meetings as soon as McConnell ceases to filibuster the resolution setting up committees.
I don’t see a problem with this proposal. It won’t happen, but I don’t know why it won’t happen.
update: Now I’m really mad at McConnell. Minutes after I posted this plan to defeat his obstruction of the Senate rules resolution, he caved. Making me look like a fool *again* isn’t so bad compared to sabotaging constitutional democracy, but I don’t like it.
Also I am angry with Mike deBonis who wrote “the filibuster, the Senate rule that acts as a 60-vote supermajority requirement for most legislation.” The filibuster didn’t act as a 60-vote supermajority requirement for most legislation until 2009. The norm and tradition was that it was used rarely. The Senate ceased to function in 2009 because McConnell chose to ignore the norm and end the tradition that had enabled it to function (more or less) for centuries. This fact should not be elided.
Pointlessly long introduction which I wrote on an on and on before getting to my proposal after the jump
Clearly the sensible thing to do is to eliminate the filibuster right now and have the majority write and pass resolutions as it does in every other deliberative body in the world. It can’t be that the minority keeps majorities on committees just because they say so. This is absolutely anti democratic. All democrats must fight democracy’s enemy Mitch McConnell.
Speaking of which do you have any idea how hard it is to convince an iPhone to begin a sentence with a lower case letter ? Tweeting this tweet was hard
Democrats owe the USA an effective government. However much they might find McConnell attractive, they must not allow him to sabotage Congress for partisan gain *again* . democrats must make democracy function if they wish it to survive. They must defeat its enemy McConnell.
I do believe the McConnell is a threat to US Democracy. It is clear that he aims to prevent the US government from functioning so that people are disatisfied and vote for Republicans in the the mid terms. Remember what he did in 2009-10. It is clear that his assumption is that, if people are disatisfied and a Democrat is in the White House, they will elect Republicans. The fact that many of them just attempted to overthrow the US Constitution by force did not get his attention, or, at least, he is doing everything he can to discredit constitutional democracy (again).
However, I think the real problem is Jim Manchin who insists that McConnell will work with Democrats because he has too (or else he will be punished with a Senate majority again). I can see no reason why Manchin would benefit from lying about this. I fear that he must believe what he is saying. Liars in the Democratic caucus are nothing new, but he is an insane idiot.
Last week, couple of Profs discussing the filibuster on Cspan used the example of Manchin and Tester. Neither Senator wants to have to vote for Climate Change legislation. So, they like the filbuster.
Same goes for the impeachment. The Repubs don’t want to have to vote on record. So they argue that the impeachment trial is unconstitutional.
Indeed, seems like the filibuster has devolved to a useful excuse for the craven Senators on both sides of the isle. It allows them to pontificate as they will, while fund raising, without having to follow through with a vote which is why the Dems will generate enough support to can it.
Darn it, that is *will have a HARD time generating enough support to can it.”
perhaps there is a method in his Madness. perhaps Mitch is in the process a developing a filibuster that will protect us from the Covid virus. in the meantime it seems that we had 300,000 new cases on the 2nd of January and yesterday we had less than half that number on the 25th of January. this means that the Decay half-life of new cases of Covid is less then 23 days. this in turn implies that Within 230 days we will have split ten times by a factor of 2 the number of cases which would be roughly seven months hence. 131,000/2^10 is 127 cases per day. what has happened? has our vaccine stopped the Covid? no! it was a filibuster from Mitch. you will see in the end that he is such a hero.
or was he was it instead perhaps a new strain of the old virus that is more communicable but less virulent than the mother strain from which it mutated time will tell is the new strain process what happened and 1918 who knows one thing for sure it was three months after the final wave of H1 N1 in 1918 3 months before the stock market bottomed out and began to rise again
for the Roaring
not bad . . .
It is both Sinema and Manchin. Here’s what has to happen. Take a public vote on ending the filibuster. When they refuse to do end the filibuster, make the GOP start their filibustering on a wide variety of already passed House legislation. Simultaneously getting Biden’s judicial nominees approved by the Senate while working on one huge reconciliation bill.
When that bill is made law, kick Sinema and Manchin out of the caucus; remove them from all committees; end all financial and logistical party support; and ban them from the lunchroom.
They might as well be Republicans.
Moderate mearse, guys a shakedown artist.
McConnell Drops Filibuster Demand,
Letting Democrats Assume Full Power
Senator Mitch McConnell relented on his demand that the new Democratic Senate majority commit to preserving the filibuster.
The move ends an impasse in which most Senate committees were frozen under Republican control.
But as in past fights over the filibuster, the outcome is likely to be only a temporary solution.
McConnell Relents in First Filibuster Skirmish, but the War Rages On
NY Times – January 25
McConnell relents on Senate rules, signals power-sharing deal with Democrats
Washington Post via @BostonGlobe – January 26
WASHINGTON – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday night signaled that he would step back from an ultimatum over Senate rules that sparked a partisan showdown that threatened to obstruct President Joe Biden’s early legislative agenda.
McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement that he was ready to move forward with a power-sharing accord with Democrats on how to operate the evenly divided Senate, defusing potentially explosive clash over the minority’s rights to block partisan legislation.
At issue for McConnell was the fate of the filibuster, the Senate rule that acts as a 60-vote supermajority requirement for most legislation. With many Democrats calling for its elimination as their party takes control of the House, Senate and White House, McConnell had sought assurances from the new Senate majority leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., that the filibuster would be preserved.
Democrats bristled at the request, demanding that McConnell agree to a power-sharing arrangement that followed the model used during the last 50-50 Senate, in 2001 – which would give the party with the vice presidency and its tie-breaking powers control of the floor agenda without additional provisions.
Without the deal in place, Senate committees were frozen in place from the previous Congress, in which Republicans held a majority. That created the unusual circumstance in which Democrats have control of the floor while GOP chairmen remained in charge of most committees.
McConnell on Monday said he was prepared to move forward on a deal “modeled on that  precedent” after two Democratic senators – Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona – publicly reiterated their previously stated opposition to eliminating the filibuster.
“They agree with President Biden’s and my view that no Senate majority should destroy the right of future minorities of both parties to help shape legislation,” he said.
Biden said in July that he’d “take a look” at eliminating the filibuster if Republicans became overly “obstreperous” but has otherwise been respectful of the traditions of the Senate, where he spent six terms before becoming vice president in 2009.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated Friday that Biden intends to keep seeking to work with Republicans and has no plans to change his views on Senate rules.
Manchin and Sinema had spoken out in favor of retaining the filibuster, so Democrats do not view their recent statements as a significant concession. But McConnell made his point: The retention of the filibuster is a divisive issue for Democrats – one that probably would suffuse their efforts to advance Biden’s agenda through a narrowly divided Congress.
Manchin told reporters Monday that killing the filibuster would run against Biden’s goal of uniting the country: “We’ve got to come together, so I do not support doing away with the filibuster under any condition. It’s not who I am.” …
In http://angrybearblog.com/2020/11/dearly-beloved , I spoke of the need to redo the Constitution in re the Electoral College, the Senate, and a couple of other things.
In Article. I. Section. 3. See Amendments XVII, and XXIII
Replace the first sentence with something akin:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Each State, including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, shall have at least two Senators
and any State with a population of more than three-million shall have an additional Senator for every additional one fifty-second (1/52) of the Nation’s population residing therein.
What was it, the 50th, since the War. Yet they, Italy, persist in doing it the same way, over and over.
That’s us going forth if we don’t correct the flaws in the Constitution. People like Trump, McConnell, and their ilk have made hay off these flaws.
‘to redo the Constitution in re the Electoral
College, the Senate, and a couple of other things’ …
First, pass an amendment that Amendments need
only to be ratified by a majority vote in the House of Reps.
The House does not represent the population today as was intended by the founders (proportionality) which is the reason the EC does not work as it was designed to do.
Might work. Got the essentials, excepting the writing. Perhaps a scholarly non-partisan commission for that?
The news is reporting Moscow Mitch’s release as a win for Schumer. When I heard it last night, I was “why?” Then it hit me. Schumer did not win. Moscow Mitch won because he has a guarantee from Sinema and Manchin.
Just another Joe Lieberman situation.
C’mon guys. Nothing will happen in terms of the shape of our government is concerned by a Constitutional Amendment. Not a chance in the world the small states or the red states are going to give up their power.
Can’t don’t get it. It simply has to happen if the Nation is to survive. The question is, how to make it happen? Then, how to go about it?
The House comes a lot closer to ‘representing the will of
the people’ than the Senate does, at least numerically if
not geographically. After all, ten large-population states
can elect the president, at least if they all agreed. It will
be extremely difficult, given the constraints of the
Constitution, to reduce the role of the Senate in
over-representing small-population rural states.
Ten (or so) large-population states can even dominate
the House, if you can imagine a dispersed US population
consisting of 30 states each with a single Representative,
the legal minimum, leaving 20 states with the remaining
405 Reps. At least at that point, the clamor to do away
with the Senate would be thunderous. (However, the
number of Reps is not fixed in the Constitution, to add
to the clamor.)
In fact, adding to the number of Reps would also increase the number of
Electors in presidential elections, diminishing the influence of the extra
Gee Fred, I have only said that a number of times. It is easier to repeal an act and establish proportionality even if Wyoming is established as the proportion of constituents to be represented by a House Representative.
The most undemocratic Senate is the problem. In 10? years, a handful of states will have almost all of the population while states with 30% of the population will have all the power due to the current structure of the Senate. Another Mitch from another small state will be exercising the power of the Senate. The structure is what needs to be addressed. All else is tail chasing.
Proportion the House properly and establish Senate rules. No one person can be allowed to block a new law or act from being heard in the Senate. It is one man causing the issue. The Covid Act will get passed if they go to Reconciliation.
We agree that our democracy is a joke and needs changing. Your observation that “in 10? years, a handful of states will have almost all of the population while states with 30% of the population will have all the power due to the current structure of the Senate” also applies to the impossibility of changing out government through an amendment.
That 30% of the population will also have total control of a vote on an amendment. Way, way more than 1/3 of the states will never allow our system of government to be changed.
May well be that the experiment has failed. When we look at the caliber of the Republican Senators, we can’t but ask what is wrong with the people of KY, MS, LA, AL, TX, SD, ID, MO, IA, …, what is wrong with America? After all, the people of these states sent this sorry arsed, spineless lot to Washington. It seems to come down to: something is really wrong with America; or, at least, a great part of it. Ironically, the part that is yapping about white supremacy. Supreme as compared to what? Sure in hell isn’t intelligence.
They revel in their ignorance. It is all the media, particularly Fox, but not limited to Fox as shown clearly here:
I take it as a matter of pride that I can honestly say I have not read a single thing from Thomas Friedman in almost 20 years. The pride comes from the fact that he is actually a very stupid man. Dean Baker shows that clearly.
” Donald Trump is a person who glories in his own ignorance. He seems to know little about anything and clearly doesn’t care. Any evidence that contradicts his pronouncements is simply “FAKE NEWS.”
Thomas Friedman seems to have the same attitude as he makes grand
pronouncements about the economy that are transparently absurd. I discovered this in his latest column, which carried the promising headline, “Made in the U.S.A.: Socialism for the Rich. Capitalism for the Rest.”…..
“Now that so many countries, led by the U.S., have massively increased their debt loads, if we got even a small burst of inflation that drove interest on the 10-year Treasury to 3 percent from 1 percent, the amount of money the U.S. would have to devote to debt servicing would be so enormous that little money might be left for discretionary spending on research, infrastructure or education — or another rainy day.”
Imagine someone having a national stage to write about economics who believes out debt is in adjustable rate bonds?
The stupid. It burns.
The Dean Baker article that you linked to above and the NYT Friedman article that Baker linked to were both from 2010. Even I have learned a few things since 2010. Any good hanging deserves a rope less weathered by the years.
That darned comment eating dog.
What are you talking about?
They were both written in the last couple of days.
How about assigning a weight to each Senator’s vote based on their state’s population? Shouldn’t a Senator from CA’s vote weigh 50 times as much as the Senators from VT? That way, each state keeps its two Senators and we save $thousands on remodeling.
Not in the Senate, population representation resides in the House. Fix the problem and not the Senate. If you use Wyoming population as the determinant for a Congressional Representative, California gains 13-14 Representatives. Even so, the anyone but trump or clinton rang up 6% of the vote and gave the vote to trump. Reign of Witches Will Pass.
When I took the link you posted I got –
Thomas Friedman Advocates Higher Unemployment
December 09, 2010
That’s beyond weird. I’ll try again.
“Thomas Friedman: The Donald Trump of the New York Times
By Dean Baker
January 26, 2021
Yep, that one worked. THX>
Thomas Friedman: The Donald Trump of the New York Times
January 26, 2021
So, apparently Thomas Friedman has NOT learned anything in the last 10 years.
Part of your problem is spewing so many comments in a period of time. 6:46, 7:08. 7:14, 7:15, 7:16 . . . The system thinks you are a spammer
So, I posted my first comment in 2 hours and received a notice that I am posting too many comments and to “slow down”.
There is no setting for what you are claiming and I did not send you a message or an email. All legit comments were taken out of trash hours ago.
Why would I make that up? I can assure you that it did happen.
I do not see the comment on site. Who sent it?
My comment spewing happens AFTER a comment fails to post and I retry with the same content slightly altered in an attempt to determine what was blocking the first post.
Also, if you canvas then you will find that several of us have gotten that same “Slow Down” warning as EMike.
I believe I asked that you get to me out here if there are problems. You have my email address. There are no “slow down” comments out here by the system. So how are they coming to you?
I sent it a couple of minutes before I posted my comment at 12:10. It was a reply to Ron on Freidman’s consistency. Hasn’t appeared yet.
OK then, If you really want to be informed when stuff goes south then I will E-mail you. For myself, I try first to figure it out, then I just move onto something else.
Burning daylight now. Tomorrow AM then I will be back and Sunday we are getting snow again, so nothing else to do then except breakfast and bake a couple loaves of cinnamon raisin walnut whole wheat bread, which includes about 3 hours of just waiting for dough to rise.
I talked to Dan and he is talking to them or will do so. He is feeling pretty good today. As soon as I know, I will update you and EM. If you make a copy of a message, do so, and send it to me. If not, we will still pass on the info. More documentation is better. Will be back to you and EM.