Saturday, November 23, 2013

Surprise: GOP Looking for New Ways to Obstruct

How can I obstruct thee, let me count the ways.

Okay, this is no longer about governing. In fact, the behavior of Republicans has long since been about stopping Barack Obama at all costs. So, a couple of days after the Democrats in the Senate, the majority party duly elected by the electorate, got so tired of the obstruction that they modified the rules surrounding certain uses of the filibuster to streamline new administration and non-Supreme-Court judicial nominees, the Republicans are looking at what's left in their toolbox they can use to continue to obstruct. WaPo:
Republicans in the minority, outraged by the Senate Democratic push to change the rules, could employ a number of procedural tactics to slow confirmations to a crawl.
In an early sign of ill feelings, Republicans on Thursday evening would not agree to confirm a slew of low-profile nominees by unanimous consent, as is customary in the Senate before an extended break, according to senior Democratic aides.
Other delaying tactics at the minority’s disposal include blocking committees from holding meetings or denying the quorum required to move nominations to the floor by refusing to attend committee meetings.
On the Senate floor, there is still an exceptionally cumbersome process to move nominees through to a final vote, eating up precious floor time.
Under the new rules, there can still be 30 hours of Senate debate on each appeals court and Cabinet-level nominee. Nominees below Cabinet level get eight hours, and district court nominees get two hours. That means the Senate floor could be locked up for an entire day — with no other business conducted — over a single nominee.
For judicial nominations, senators can hold up approval for nominees from their home states by refusing to submit a “blue slip” okaying the choice. Ten pending judicial nominees have not had a Senate hearing because their home-state Republican senators have not returned their blue slips, according to a White House official.
Republicans have not indicated which delaying tactics, if any, they might employ, but they signaled a desire to seek revenge after Thursday’s vote. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Democrats will “have trouble in a lot of areas, because there’s going to be a lot of anger.”
McCain suggested that the change could spoil other efforts, such as to ratify a United Nations-backed disabilities treaty that would put most of the world on a par with U.S. policy. Ratification requires 67 votes, and attempts to pass the treaty fell short last year. Supporters had hoped that would change in coming months.
There's a long-standing notion that "politics ain't bean bag." That may be true, but don't mistake this for governing even vaguely for the common good. It's what I, as a teacher, became very familiar with: juvenile behavior. Let's take a look at one of the juveniles threatening to "get even":

Didn't this dude, who is warning the Democrats what the
Republicans might do, run for president or something?

Stay classy, Mr. Maverick.

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