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Filibuster Explained: How Minority Party in Senate Controls Legislative Process

Published on Aug 23, 2012 by 

One Senator can stop the Senate from voting on a bill just by raising objection. No more all night phone book readings, like we saw in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. And unless the Senate can get 60 votes to override that one Senator, nothing happens.

Since the Democrats took over the Senate in 2006, the Republicans have used the filibuster more than ever, to shut down the Democrats’ and, since 2009, Obama‘s legislative agenda.

This video from the American Constitution Society explains how it works and what the impacts are.

To see the entire event, watch it on C-SPAN

Continue reading “Filibuster Explained: How Minority Party in Senate Controls Legislative Process”

Filibuster Cartoon #1

“GOP warns of shutdown over filibuster”


A partisan war is brewing that could bring the government to a screeching halt as early as January — and no, it’s not over the fiscal cliff.

It’s all about the filibuster.

Democrats are threatening to change filibuster rules, in what will surely prompt a furious GOP revolt that could make those rare moments of bipartisan consensus even harder to come by during the next Congress.

(Also on POLITICO: Graham: I would violate Norquist’s pledge)

Here’s what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is considering: banning filibusters used to prevent debate from even starting and House-Senate conference committees from ever meeting. He also may make filibusters become actual filibusters — to force senators to carry out the nonstop, talkathon sessions.

Republicans are threatening even greater retaliation if Reid uses a move rarely used by Senate majorities: changing the chamber’s precedent by 51 votes, rather than the usual 67 votes it takes to overhaul the rules.

“I think the backlash will be severe,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the conservative firebrand, said sternly. “If you take away minority rights, which is what you’re doing because you’re an ineffective leader, you’ll destroy the place. And if you destroy the place, we’ll do what we have to do to fight back.”

“It will shut down the Senate,” the incoming Senate GOP whip, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, told POLITICO. “It’s such an abuse of power.”

Read more:

Continue reading ““GOP warns of shutdown over filibuster””

“Morsy edict divides Egypt but unifies opponents, critics and observers say”

(CNN) — Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy‘s decree last week giving him a host of new powers has divided society, but it has also unified opposition groups that fear any moves toward Islamic rule, critics and observers said Sunday.

Morsy assures his people that his moves are only temporary and intended to clear the political obstacles posed by remnants of the old regime. An order banning courts from overturning any decisions he has made or will make in the next six months, Morsy says, will last only until a new constitution is put together.

Protests continue as Morsy defends edict

His critics, however, say Morsy has made himself into a dictator — and that dictators can’t be trusted.

“We, as citizens, no longer have safeguards for our freedoms and rights,” Amr Hamzawy, a former member of parliament and a member of Egypt’s Freedom Party, told CNN on Sunday.Egypt’s Morsy praised, now protested

Egyptian protesters battle police

Morsy using “language of a dictator”

Even if Morsy stays true to his word and rescinds the decree after the constitution is finalized, he will have managed to consolidate more power, said Eric Trager, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“By the time you get that new constitution, it will have been written by an Islamist-dominated assembly that all non-Islamists have completely abandoned, and the new parliamentary elections will likely exclude members of the former ruling party who posed the greatest threat to his authority,” Trager told CNN.

Morsy also ordered new trials and new investigations involving the deaths of protesters during last year’s pro-democracy uprising, which Trager said will “very clearly” be used to go after major figures from the former ruling party. Some of them are in fact corrupt, he said, but others may not have been.

Cabinet Chief Mohamed Refa’a al-Tahtawi told CNN on Friday that the majority of Egyptians were eager to see Morsy act with a strong hand to forge progress in a government he says is impeded by former regime members.

Peter Jones, a Middle East expert at the University of Ottawa, says it’s true that many Egyptians are frustrated with the lack of progress, but opponents feel Morsy’s actions are not the answer. FULL ARTICLE