Yesterday we were treated to a perfect example of how ridiculous our partisan politics have become.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor to trade verbal jabs over the filibuster. It was actually quite embarrassing.
Reid has threatened, for the umpteenth time, to use his majority leader powers to change the rules regarding the use of the filibuster over presidential appointees. The current rule requires 60 votes to end a filibuster. Reid and a number of Democrats want a simple 51 vote majority vote for executive branch nominations to end what they say is unprecedented GOP obstruction over Obama’s appointees.
McConnell, pulling out his best Eddie Haskell impersonation, claims that Reid’s accusations are unfounded. He calls Reid’s willingness to alter 200+ years of history “a sad day for the US Senate.”
The truth of the matter is that McConnell and his Republican caucus has used the filibuster as their modus operandi to halt the president’s agenda an unbelievable 413 times since Obama took office. The 60 vote threshold has become the rule rather than the exception for even the most minor procedural vote.
Take the president’s appointment of Richard Cordray to head the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Wall Street hates the idea of a government agency looking over their shoulder. So naturally Republicans hate the concept as well. The powers of the CFPB lie with the person appointed to head the watchdog agency. Block the appointment the agency’s director and you effectively render the agency impotent. The only way McConnell can stop Cordray’s appointment is through the use of the filibuster to block the vote.
Cordray was nominated by the president in 2011. “The man has been waiting 724 days for a vote.” Said Reid
Reid has threatened this action before; only to cave in to McConnell’s disingenuous promises to only use the filibuster on big, controversial votes.
For his part, McConnell is a savvy politician who has no qualms about doing whatever he can to halt Obama’s agenda. McConnell has played Lucy to Reid’s Charlie Brown for so long that it is too pathetic to watch.
So while Lucy and Charlie Brown argue, nothing gets done.
This makes Republicans very happy.