Republicans Threaten Senate Meltdown If Filibuster Reform Passes

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


After noting that Senate Republicans are threatening dire revenge if Harry Reid succeeds in passing filibuster reform, Ed Kilgore asks:

This raises the rather obvious question of exactly what Republicans could do to make the Senate less functional than it already is under the de facto 60-vote requirement for all legislation that they have so recently introduced?

This is a good question. Seriously. I’d like to hear from some of our congressional gurus on this. The Senate, of course, is generally governed by the rule of unanimous consent, which means that nothing can happen if even a single Senator objects. In theory, this gives Republicans lots of non-filibuster avenues for gumming up the works, but as far as I know they’re already using them. These days, unanimous consent is just a quaint echo of a bygone era, never granted for even the most routine business.

Now, maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe unanimous consent could be withheld even more than it is now. And there are other avenues for gumming up the works by insisting on the letter of the rules for things like committee meeting times and so forth. But is there really very much of this kind of thing left? Help us, Sarah Binder and Thomas Mann! Can Republicans really obstruct the Senate even more than they do now if they put their minds to it?

UPDATE: Ian Millhiser provides a handy top-ten list of obstruction tactics here. The first four are basically variations on the filibuster, but the rest of the list demonstrates that there are plenty of other ways to gum up the works too.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate