Republicans Filibuster Fair Treatment for the Troops

Jim Webb’s measure to require troops get as much time at home as they spend overseas has been shot down by the third, big Republican filibuster of the day.

So how does the “liberal” New York Times headline the story: “Democrats Fall Short in Vote on Home Leave for Troops.” No they didn’t. They had 56 votes in favor. That headline’s only true if you accept the Republican spin that 60 votes are necessary to pass legislation. The Democrats had the votes. The Republican’s filibustered it.

The NYT tells you in the second paragraph of the article that the votes were “four less than the supporters needed to prevent a filibuster.” Don’t look for the “F” word anywhere else in the article and, especially, don’t look for it anywhere near the word “Republican.”  Why can’t they simply come right out and say the Republicans filibustered the Troop Leave legislation?

3 Responses to “Republicans Filibuster Fair Treatment for the Troops”

  1. Shhhhh…

    People might stop believing they have a liberal bias.

  2. eRobin says:

    So what procedural stuff was done – can it come back tomorrow and the next day or are the Dems going to slink away, happy to pretend that the GOP are the big bad guys continuing the occupation while the helpless Dems stand by and watch it happen?

  3. I’m not sure, I can try and look into it for you Robin. I haven’t kept up on this as I kinda took the evening off to work on other things.

    Now, since you asked, I’ll answer, and I really apologize if I appear condescending, but when you ask about procedural stuff, it kinda begs for a definition of the filibuster, so away we go (again, if you know all this, skip past this bit).

    The filibsuter is really only something that is taken from a rule in the senate that allows Senators to “debate at length” the motion that faces them. In order to cut off debate, a vote of cloture must be held. A successful cloture vote essentially means that debate is ended and the Senators have to vote on the actual measure. While a bill only needs 50 votes to pass, 60 votes are required for cloture.

    So when a bill is filibustered, essentially what happens is that forty plus some number of votes get together and vote against cloture, which keeps debate running at least for that day.

    While the intent of the rule was so that senators can sit down and hammer it out until the measure is acceptable to all or at least a significant majority, it has essentially become a kind of procedural matter. While you can force a cloture vote indefinitely in theory, this typically doesn’t work very often because doing so stops up other bills in the works.

    Now we know Reid has tabled the vote on Habeas which means that they’re not going to vote again on it until a later date, the other two I’m not sure (it’s not Reid’s style to try and cram through a filibuster, so I wouldn’t count on it).

    But what makes the defeat of Webb’s bill so tragic is that Republicans John McCain and John Warner have just authored a bill that is very similar with one exception, it’s non binding.

    Given the fact that more Republicans are likely to support it, giving it an almost guarantee of being able to break a filibuster, I would not be surprised if Democrats, thinking this is as good as it gets, vote that version into law.

    In short, yeah, they’re wimping it up again.

    The only eal hope is that only four more votes are required to get a cloture vote which means that people, particularly constituents of four vulnerable Republicans, need to be holding their continued employment as a US Senator unless they start voting for the troops.

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