Senate Rules Reform

Not terribly surprising, but there won’t be major Senate rules reform, let alone filibuster reform, this session. David Dayen has a post up about the deal, which can only be viewed as an early sign of the sort of fecklessness we’ll see from Democrats in the 112th Congress.

Sen. Reid thanked his colleagues in the GOP for coming to this agreement. He also said the Senate “runs on a fuel made of comity and trust” in his speech on the floor, and that the chamber has “the ability to debate and to deliberate without the restraints of time limits.” He said that’s encoded into the Senate DNA. I watch far too much C-SPAN, and I can tell you pretty clearly that I’ve seen almost no debate or deliberation in the United States Senate. The “encoding” in the DNA is a nonsensical statement of exceptionalism that merely invites obstruction. Make no mistake – the Senate, and all its members, are getting precisely what they deserve. Any future whining about how difficult it is to break a filibuster will go in one ear and out the other. They had their chance to fix this, and they punted. I don’t believe Republicans will be as generous.

Reid closed with this:

Senator McConnell and I both believe our reverance for this institution must always be more important than our respective political parties. As part of this compromise, we’ve agreed that I won’t force a majority vote to fundamentally change the Senate. That is the so-called Constitutional option. And he won’t in the future.

Good luck with that one. [Emphasis added]

I really wish Dayen’s assessment was wrong, but I’m right there with him. The Senate doesn’t debate and Republicans will not feel bound to this gentleman’s agreement. Expect the 60 vote filibuster to be repealed at the start of the next Senate, under the constitutional option.

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