How Harry Reid Is Trying to End Debate in the Senate

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The latest salvo in the Senate’s procedural war was fired yesterday when Senator Chuck Grassley (R—Iowa) introduced a resolution to limit abuse of the cloture rule—a practice frequently employed by Sen. Harry Reid (D–Nev.). Grassley was joined by at least 25 other GOP senators in sponsoring the “Stop Cloture Abuse Resolution.”

Most Americans have a limited understanding about the use of cloture in the Senate. Indeed, any familiarity with cloture comes from the claim that Republicans have been filibustering the president’s nominees. Taking advantage of this misconception, Reid recently barreled through a change in the cloture rule. As a result of Reid’s gambit, ending debate and a filibuster on executive branch nominees now only requires 51 votes; previously, 60 votes were needed.

In the past, cloture motions were usually filed only after a nomination or a bill had been debated on the floor of the Senate and members wanted to end the debate. Sen. Reid, however, has been filing cloture motions on bills and nominations the moment the Senate takes them up—before a single word has been spoken or any amendments have been proposed or discussed.

In other words, Reid has been filing cloture motions to prevent debate, not end it. The majority leader’s actions constitute both an abuse of the long tradition of extended debate in the Senate, and a warped attempt to mislead the public. Reid has made many speeches, both on the floor of the Senate, and outside its chambers, complaining about Republican obstructionism and bemoaning the large number of cloture motions he has been “forced” to file to supposedly end Republican filibusters.

But the vast majority of Reid’s cloture motions have been filed without Republicans having expressed any opposition to particular nominees or bills or even having any plans to engage in a filibuster. Reid’s filings are designed not only to prevent debate, but also as a public relations ploy: By building up the number of ersatz filibusters, Reid hopes to fool the media and the public into believing his tales of alleged GOP obstructionism.

In fact, data from a report prepared by the Congressional Research Service in February shows that the average number of cloture motions filed by Reid, before any debate has even occurred, has more than doubled in comparison to prior sessions of Congress. He obviously doesn’t want debate, but in doing so, Reid is destroying the participatory nature of the Senate as a deliberative body, and its important role in debating the important issues facing this country. As Grassley said in yesterday’s floor statement, the Senate’s rules for extended debate were intended “to prevent legislation based on short term partisan passions, to pass fewer, but better thought-out laws.”  Apparently, Reid wants no debate—just a legislative rubber stamp.

Grassley’s resolution would simply change Senate Rule XXII so that a cloture motion could not be filed until at least 24 hours after the Senate takes up a nomination or bill. Is it really too much to ask that we get at least 24 hours of debate on important matters than can affect the life, liberty, and economic prosperity of Americans—like a 2,000-plus page healthcare bill that takes over a sixth of the American economy? Or a judicial nominee who may sit on the federal courts for a lifetime, issuing decisions that determine just how much power the federal government has over its citizens?

Harry Reid is the only member of the Senate engaging in true abuse of the cloture rule—abuse that Grassley says threatens to SCAR the Senate, which is, fittingly, the acronym for the “Stop Cloture Abuse Resolution.”

Read more at The Foundry



  1. bob

    Mar 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    The Democrats and the President are setting dangerous precedents through the us of executive orders and this no-debate nonsense that could very well be turned against them once the Republicans take back the Senate and the White House. I don’t think they understand this. They will also immediately cry foul if these tactics are used to pass Republican bills.

  2. Nancy

    Mar 14, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Maybe Reid and Obama will both drop dead before too much longer, It is something to pray for

    • Truth, Justice & the AMERICAN

      Mar 14, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      Dingy Dirty Harry should swing

  3. etexfisherman48

    Mar 25, 2014 at 6:45 am

    This thing that has Mark Levin so upset about giving the IMF unfettered access to our money is all about the establishment of the One World Government. It could be Levin doesn’t realize this money going to the IMF is a Globalist agenda because he didn’t say as much but I wish he had since he has the credibility to get your attention unlike myself. Mitch McConnell the Republican Minority Leader is a traitor and the people of Kentucky had better pay attention to what their
    Senator is doing to destroy our constitution and freedoms.

    What you if you continue are going to read below should be taken very seriously because it is being implemented to force the entire world’s citizens into indentured servitude. The Bible in Daniel and Revelationsteaches us just prior to the Revived Roman Empire the last form of Gentile World Power the church is going to be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air so that tells you just how close to the end we are.

    The Senate is handing over to the One World Government our taxpayer dollars to the IMF to do with as they please and at the same time relinquishing America’s strong hold on the IMF. The House under the weak leadership of Boehner and Cantor are expected to go along with this.

    However, the truth is this is just a formality because they already have been using backdoor
    implementation. The TARP and Stimulus that was run through AIG and Goldman Sachs in case you haven’t noticed have not done the very thing our politicians told us it would in restoring our economy has it? Remember Bush told us we would be bankrupt in seven days if we didn’t pass the stimulus didn’t he? No, this money went into the hoppers of the IMF and World Bank. America for a long time now has been the financial center of the world or put more bluntly the clearinghouse of financial transactions worldwide but that is changing somewhat.

    The Globalist Financial Institutions say they are already in control of the world and we have no say in what they do with our tax dollars. I am not exaggerating the least little bit and this has been the thinking of the Globalist for quite some time as said by former Secretary General Kofi Anan and others when he slammed Senator Jesse Helms warning to Americans that the U.N. wants to rob you of your sovereignty, “The U.S. can go to hell, we’re in charge now.”

    Two More Well Documented Statements

    Boutros Boutros-Ghali—Egyptian Politician and former U.N. Secretary General__The time of absolute and exclusive sovereignty has passed. The U.N. must tax all nations of the world in such areas as financial transactions, fossil fuel use, and international travel.

    Strobe Talbot—Rhodes Scholar, roommate with Bill Clinton in college, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State__Nationhood as we know it will be obsolete, all states will recognize a single, global
    authority….National sovereignty wasn’t such a great idea after all. Strobe Talbot bragged about how the International Monetary Fund and the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade have
    diminished America’s sovereignty. The truth is he is right.

    Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan cost us over two trillion dollars and thousands of our sons and daughters lives and/or limbs and for what? Nothing, but the further fruition of a One World Government. Really look at what has been accomplished; we are told daily it is to fight for our freedoms and Iraq is already back in the hands of the Terrorist and Afghanistan is well on its way in the same direction. I can tell you easily what has been accomplished, we are succumbing to the Muslim terrorist demand to recognize Sharia Law here in America and with that the eventual bowing down to Allah or be beheaded. The International Banking Community has been the benefactors and not us; we have lost our freedoms to the Globalist and we paid for it ourselves.

    We are a nation given over the Devil and our moral decline is the evidence of that to include most of our churches. Some ask, where is God in all this and I tell you he is right where he has always been, he will never leave us or forsake us but we have forsaken him and he will not force himself on any of us. Because we have rejected God…Hosea 5:15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.

    Again, he hasn’t forsaken us we forsook him but he is still faithful if will only awaken out of our slumber to see the light of what lies ahead if we don’t repent as a nation and return unto God and his righteousness…2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.