Senate Republicans Shame Democrats Over Filibuster by ... Doing What Democrats Had Wanted Them to Do

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 12 2013 11:52 AM

Senate Republicans Shame Democrats Over Filibuster by ... Doing What Democrats Had Wanted Them to Do

Roll Call reports on the methods Republicans are using to make life at least a little bit difficult for Democrats who want to confirm nominees. They're making the Senate stay up all night to do it! Quelle horreur!

Nine additional nominations are already pending in the queue... under the series of motions that Reid filed Monday evening. That doesn’t include the nomination of Janet L. Yellen to become chairwoman of the Federal Reserve.
“Republicans are not facing reality. They’re not,” Reid said. “We’re eating up days of time” plodding through debate on nominees.
Of course, the Republican resistance to yielding back time is an outgrowth of the Democratic majority’s move to change Senate precedent on nominations using the “nuclear option” so that only a majority of senators are now required to break a filibuster.

Staying up all night? Why, that's ... sort of what filibuster reformers wanted to see when they started talking about breaking down cloture. The first big idea pushed by New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley was the "talking filibuster," whose name says it all—it would have required senators who believed strongly in, say, tanking a D.C. Circuit nomination to take the floor and explain why until their bladders gave way. Long Senate nights aren't a bug.* They're a feature. The argument was that blocking a nominee should be at least a little bit time-consuming and irritating.

*Correction, Dec. 13, 2013: This post originally misidentified New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall as Colorado Sen. Mark Udall.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



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