Senate Democrats’ Latest Filibuster Idea: An Update

 

Yesterday, I opined on the latest idea percolating among US Senate Democrats to get their partisan power grab on steroids – federalizing election rules in apparent violation of the US Constitution – through the Senate and on the President’s desk.

They focused on what Senate insiders call the “two-speech rule,” limiting every Senator to speaking twice on any question during a legislative day.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell during happier times

Last night, Senate Majority Leader (for now) Charles Schumer reportedly unveiled a plan to alter that rule just on this bill to his caucus. As reported by Punchbowl News, the best source of Capitol Hill information and insights available today:

Just over two hours after the president’s news conference, the Senate will have a showdown over voting rights and the filibuster. This is huge for Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and the entire Senate Democratic Caucus. So let’s get into it.

At around 6:30 p.m., the Senate is scheduled to vote on a cloture motion to end a Republican filibuster of voting rights legislation. With only 50 Democratic votes, Schumer will fall far short of the 60 votes he needs to cut off debate.

Then Schumer is expected to move to change Senate rules on the filibuster to create a “carve-out” for this voting right bill. Technically, Schumer will seek to alter Senate Rule 19 (XIX) so that each senator can only speak twice on this legislation. That rule currently allows senators to speak twice “on any one question” but doesn’t limit how many times they may do so on any single bill, so debate can drag on forever. Schumer’s proposal would allow the leadership in this case to cut off debate with 60 votes. Or, alternatively, a filibuster would end once all senators who wish to have spoken. At that point, the Senate would move to final passage at 51 votes. Schumer laid out this “talking filibuster” plan during a closed-door meeting of Senate Democrats on Tuesday night.

However, this proposed rules change also is expected to fail, thanks in part to opposition from Manchin and Sinema. On Tuesday night, Manchin made his position clear – once again – that he’s “never changed my mind on the filibuster” and wouldn’t back any attempt by Democrats to alter it unilaterally, even for voting rights legislation he supports.

So there you have it. The President has his first news conference in 10 months at 4:30 p.m. EST, followed by the Senate vote, in effect, to change the two-speech rule just for legislation to federalize and change election rules. Here is how it is likely to play out:

Senator Schumer will seek a ruling from the chair (likely Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy, D-VT) on interpreting the two-speech rule. With guidance from the Senate’s Parliamentarian, he will rule that the two-speech rule applies on any one question pending before the Senate.

Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy (D-VT) presides over the US Senate

Schumer will move (offer a motion) to overturn the chair’s ruling and offer his proposed, new interpretation. In effect, on this bill, HR 5746, the two-speech rule applies to all questions on this specific bill. Or something to that effect. Schumer plans to run out the clock, force GOP Senators on the floor until everyone has had their chance to speak twice, then force a final vote. The bill will only need a simple majority of 51 votes to pass. It would also have the practical effect of limiting amendments and other debatable motions.

And that would still take days if not weeks, especially if every opposing Senator – all 50 of them – each spoke twice for on average 5 hours each time. That’s 500 hours of round-the-clock Senate speeches, with Democrats taking turns, all day and all night, presiding over the Senate. I’m not good at math, but I reckon that 500 hours works out to 20+ consecutive days of non-stop sessions, including weekends. That’s one heck of a legislative “day.” My sympathies in advance to the Senate floor staff. I hurt for them, just thinking of that.

It would give GOP Senators ample opportunity to focus on the flaws and dangers in the Democratic election power grab and continue to move public opinion on the bill in their direction. Voters already strongly support photo ID, which this bill would practically outlaw.

Except it appears Sen. Joe Manchin and possibly Sen. Kyrsten Sinema – both Democrats – do not support Schumer’s latest gambit and will vote no, ensuring defeat.

Give Schumer and his co-conspirators credit for some creative thinking, but it is too clever by half. Democrats, especially former two-time presidential candidate and socialist US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speak openly of political retribution against Manchin, 74, and Sinema when they are up for reelection in 2024. That’s a long way off, and there is no guarantee that either will seek reelection. Much can and will change.

By the way, the most recent use of the filibuster to block legislation was by Senate Democrats against Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) bill to impose sanctions on the Russian company building the new Nord Stream II gas pipeline.

Watch for other evidence of hypocrisy forms of retribution to emerge, which would spur talk of party switching. Again. We’ll see.

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There are 18 comments.

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  1. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Thank you so much for your “blow by blow” analysis.  

    • #1
  2. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    I have trouble following the complexities of this legislative acrobatics, but it is fun watching the Democrats flail away with their desperate attempts to salvage anything they can ahead of the coming Red Tsunami in this year’s mid-terms.

    • #2
  3. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    but it is fun watching the Democrats flail away with their desperate attempts

    it will not be fun if they succeed. 

    • #3
  4. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    but it is fun watching the Democrats flail away with their desperate attempts

    it will not be fun if they succeed.

    Yes. Even if the Republicans win seats to control Congress in November, don’t forget the only way the next Congress can overturn anything done by this Congress will need to be veto proof for at least the next two years. The Democrats, if they get rid of the filibuster, will pack the Supreme Court to complete the Marxist takeover.

    • #4
  5. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    You just never know.   Republicans (including McConnell) recently had the charade where they voted NO on raising the debt ceiling but only after quietly voting YES to a procedural change that allowed Dems to pass it with no Rep support.   Reps still got to have their “we voted NO” press event … and technically they did vote NO.   But they supported the jiu jitsu that made their NO votes moot.

    I hope Manchin and Sinema are made of sterner stuff than the weakest reeds in the Republican Party.  But you never know.

     

    https://ricochet.com/1106426/the-great-charade-debt-limit-increase-passed-with-only-democrat-votes-and-the-tacit-approval-of-14-republicans-senators/

    • #5
  6. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    Schumer is an obnoxious, power mad, manipulative, reprehensible human being. Don’t underestimate him. Just because he doesn’t appear to be making sense doesn’t mean he has no more tricks to play.

    • #6
  7. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    Tricks and chicanery in exchange for a continuance of un-auditable, unaccountable elections?  Hey Chuck, we know what you mean when you say “Trust us.”  We’ve given you 2020, but you know what they say, fool me once…    Trust me.

    • #7
  8. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    To legitimately give the Federal government control over State elections (unconstitutional), the nation would need to pass a Constitutional Amendment. State Legislature control over State elections is so fundamental to the federalist system of American Government, that to obliterate that would essentially dissolve the whole political structure of the country. That can only legitimately be done if 3/4 of the States agree to that.  To enact such a radical change in the structure of the US government by a partisan vote (no Republican Senator that I am aware of supports the “voting rights” legislation) by a simple majority vote in both houses of Congress is so far beyond the pale that I believe it would indeed result in utterly fracturing the nation. Electing Senators by popular vote in States was done by passing a Constitutional amendment. That Amendment has done endless damage to the nation. Most recently, it has given us, in my State of Georgia, 2 Senators from Facebook rather than Georgia. If the Legislatures still elected Senators, that would never have happened. And because of that, we have this brinksmanship over a far more fundamental Constitutional question being sought on a simple majority vote. Mind-boggling.

    That no nationally elected Republican that I have heard of has made this argument astonishes me. (did I miss something?)  I get the idea that the Republican Party is now the second Progressive party in the US. There is no Conservative Party. (Of course that was true also in 1912, when the two Republican candidates vying for the nomination for the Presidency were both Progressives-not to mention Eugenicists). SO neither party in my twisted view is actually in favor of the Constitution.

    Of note is that Teddy Roosevelt favored enacting Constitutional Amendments by a simple majority vote in Congress. So for over a hundred years, both Democrats and Republicans have sought to overturn the US Constitution. The Democrats are now agitating for the most fundamental change to the Constitution in the history of the country (at least in my view) on a simple majority vote.

    As they say, a pox on both the Parties.

    • #8
  9. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Kelly, what is your understanding of the reports coming out of the Senate last night?  

    • #9
  10. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    but it is fun watching the Democrats flail away with their desperate attempts

    it will not be fun if they succeed.

    I agree.  It’s fun to watch, but I’m apprehensive the whole time . . .

    • #10
  11. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Stad (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    but it is fun watching the Democrats flail away with their desperate attempts

    it will not be fun if they succeed.

    I agree. It’s fun to watch, but I’m apprehensive the whole time . . .

    For some reason, a lot of Ricochetti are concerned that this ploy might actually work.  I am not too worried about it.  The Dems are not that competent.  Just about everything they’ve tried under Biden has failed spectacularly.

    • #11
  12. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    but it is fun watching the Democrats flail away with their desperate attempts

    it will not be fun if they succeed.

    I agree. It’s fun to watch, but I’m apprehensive the whole time . . .

    For some reason, a lot of Ricochetti are concerned that this ploy might actually work. I am not too worried about it. The Dems are not that competent. Just about everything they’ve tried under Biden has failed spectacularly.

    I agree with you but we are where we are now from a lack of attention to many things being advanced over a long period of time. Pay attention.

    • #12
  13. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    You just never know. Republicans (including McConnell) recently had the charade where they voted NO on raising the debt ceiling but only after quietly voting YES to a procedural change that allowed Dems to pass it with no Rep support. Reps still got to have their “we voted NO” press event … and technically they did vote NO. But they supported the jiu jitsu that made their NO votes moot.

    I hope Manchin and Sinema are made of sterner stuff than the weakest reeds in the Republican Party. But you never know.

     

     

    And now we know.   Many thanks to Sens. Manchin and Sinema!

     

    • #13
  14. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Here’s what I find interesting and ironic about HR1, the voting rights bill that would put almost unlimited control over voting at the federal level. The protest in Washington on Jan 6 was mainly about irregularities in the election processes within several states and was an attempt to get some state legislators and election officials to reconsider and examine the validity of their election certification. Nothing specific in the Constitution or federal law provides for this kind of action so it was a stretch, at best. HR1 would put total control at the federal level and would, if enacted, almost certainly eliminate the two party system. Very bad idea. Individual states should be called on to remedy any existing defects in their election systems.

    • #14
  15. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Here’s what I find interesting and ironic about HR1, the voting rights bill that would put almost unlimited control over voting at the federal level. The protest in Washington on Jan 6 was mainly about irregularities in the election processes within several states and was an attempt to get some state legislators and election officials to reconsider and examine the validity of their election certification. Nothing specific in the Constitution or federal law provides for this kind of action so it was a stretch, at best. HR1 would put total control at the federal level and would, if enacted, almost certainly eliminate the two party system. Very bad idea. Individual states should be called on to remedy any existing defects in their election systems.

    I don’t mind the idea of uniform standards, but I don’t want the Democrats deciding what they are or the Feds enforcing them . . .

    • #15
  16. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Stad (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Here’s what I find interesting and ironic about HR1, the voting rights bill that would put almost unlimited control over voting at the federal level. The protest in Washington on Jan 6 was mainly about irregularities in the election processes within several states and was an attempt to get some state legislators and election officials to reconsider and examine the validity of their election certification. Nothing specific in the Constitution or federal law provides for this kind of action so it was a stretch, at best. HR1 would put total control at the federal level and would, if enacted, almost certainly eliminate the two party system. Very bad idea. Individual states should be called on to remedy any existing defects in their election systems.

    I don’t mind the idea of uniform standards, but I don’t want the Democrats deciding what they are or the Feds enforcing them . . .

    The Democrats want uniform standards similar to those they have in place in the large urban areas they run so effectively. All the federal government should be interested in is that the election process is fair for all candidates for office, that all eligible and qualified voters can vote, and that only valid votes are properly counted. There are likely multiple approaches to do this

    • #16
  17. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    You just never know. Republicans (including McConnell) recently had the charade where they voted NO on raising the debt ceiling but only after quietly voting YES to a procedural change that allowed Dems to pass it with no Rep support. Reps still got to have their “we voted NO” press event … and technically they did vote NO. But they supported the jiu jitsu that made their NO votes moot.

    I hope Manchin and Sinema are made of sterner stuff than the weakest reeds in the Republican Party. But you never know.

     

     

    And now we know. Many thanks to Sens. Manchin and Sinema!

    Manchin and Sinema are my favorite Democrat Senators!  

    Sinema has gotten a lot of blowback.  In Arizona, the current and/or past National Committeeman and the local County Chair of the Democrat Party has called for Senator Sinema to be primaried.  

    • #17
  18. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    We see this in both parties. With Democrats party loyalty, really ideology, tops all. Sinema and Manchin are exceptional. With Republicans it’s still in the process of breaking up, those who are loyal to business or themselves and those who serve the people and the country.

    It’s really sad.

    • #18
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