Saturday, October 8, 2011

GOP vows retaliation after Reid uses nuclear option in Senate

Triggering what has come to be known as the chamber’s “nuclear option,” Reid overturned Senate precedent that allowed Republicans to force votes to proceed to non-germane amendments. He did so by voting with 50 of his Democratic colleagues to overturn a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian. - Alexander Bolton/The Hill
The controversial procedural tactic hasn’t been used in years. In a chamber where it requires the consent of all 100 senators to dispense with the reading of a bill, changing the rules unilaterally is considered bad form.

Former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) predicted Thursday’s blow-up on the floor would have aftershocks. “It’s obviously consequential and significant,” he said of the surprise rules change.
Reid rewrites Senate rules with shocking move - Philip Klein/Washington Examiner
So, the end result is that by a simple majority vote, Reid was able to effectively rewrite Senate rules making it even harder than it already is for the minority party to force votes on any amendments. Should Republicans retake the Senate next year, it's something that could come back to haunt Democrats in a major way.

And just to clear up some confusion, what happened tonight was different than the so-called "nuclear option" to end filibusters. While triggering the "nuclear option" requires a Majority Leader to use the same sort of strategic maneuvers as Reid just did, tonight's move had to do with the amendment process, not filibusters.
Senate Dems strip Republicans of power - Susan Ferrechio/Washington Examiner
"America doesn't need less debate, it needs more debate," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "I think we made a big mistake tonight."

Republicans pushed for a vote on Obama's jobs bill to demonstrate that many Democrats don't support the president's effort because it would raise taxes on people who earn $200,000 or more a year. Obama has been traveling the country telling voters that the only obstacle to his job-creating proposal was the Republican Party.