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January 24, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - Hopes dimmed Thursday for vast rules changes in the Senate to limit the filibuster as a weapon in the partisan obstruction that has ground action in the chamber to a near standstill. Senators, mostly liberal Democrats, had sought to bring reforms at the start of the new Congress, and a key component was the requirement that any senator wishing to conduct a filibuster must remain talking on the Senate floor in the style actor James Stewart made famous in the film “Mr.
December 3, 2013
Re "Minority rule in the Senate," Opinion, Dec. 1 Joyce Appleby would eliminate the filibuster, arguing that the Founding Fathers, having entrenched an inequality of representation in the Senate, certainly did not want to deviate further from majority rule. She refers to James Madison's opinion that requiring a supermajority would reverse the fundamental principle of free government. During the debates over the Constitution and the question of a Bill of Rights, however, Madison argued differently.
March 6, 2013 | By Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON -- What began as Rand Paul's one-man crusade to press the Obama administration for clarity regarding its prosecution of U.S. citizens suspected of terrorist ties became a bipartisan spectacle in the Senate chamber Wednesday -- one that delayed a vote on the president's choice for a new CIA director. Senate leaders had said they could hold a vote on John Brennan's nomination as soon as Wednesday evening, barely 24 hours after a lopsided vote in his favor in the Intelligence Committee.
January 25, 2013
Senate leaders reached a compromise this week on limiting the filibuster, an obstructive procedural tactic that has become almost as routine on Capitol Hill as photo opportunities and news conferences. The Times' editorial board has long argued that the right approach would be to end the rule, not mend it. The best that can be said for this week's deal is that incremental progress toward a more functional Senate is better than no progress at all. The compromise struck Thursday between Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
May 15, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
In requiring the U.S. Senate to confirm presidential appointments, the Constitution aims to ensure a second level of scrutiny of the qualifications of government officials. But Senate Republicans have hijacked the confirmation process, not only to thwart individual nominees but to undermine laws they don't agree with. If they continue in their obstructionism, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) should revisit the possibility of doing away with the filibuster for nominations. The most immediate test case involves the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that moderates disputes between labor and management.
January 24, 2013 | By David Horsey
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shocked and infuriated many of his fellow Democrats on Thursday when he backed away from his pledge to put an end to the curse of the filibuster. Minority Republicans have been flagrantly using the old filibuster ploy to block even the most mundane bills unless they can win votes from at least 60 of 100 senators. This has effectively stunted the Democrats' 53-seat majority and stifled initiatives from the Obama White House.  In times past, the filibuster was a rarely invoked parliamentary rule that allowed a single senator to halt legislative business if he was willing to stay on the Senate floor and talk for hour after hour, risking a raw throat, sleep deprivation and a distended bladder.
February 26, 2013 | By Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON - Chuck Hagel moved a step closer to confirmation as Defense secretary after the Senate voted Tuesday afternoon 71-27 to end a GOP-led filibuster of his controversial nomination. A final vote is expected to take place at 1:30 p.m. PST. Hagel will likely win final confirmation with fewer votes, however, making him the first successful Pentagon chief to attain the post with more than two dissenting votes in decades. Leon Panetta, the outgoing secretary, was confirmed unanimously in 2011.
November 21, 2013 | By Jon Healey
The sight of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) using procedural legerdemain to weaken the filibuster rule Thursday must have sent Robert C. Byrd spinning in his grave. The late Democratic senator from West Virginia was a stickler for Senate traditions and a staunch defender of the procedural kinks and quirks that make it so different from the House. The filibuster rule is Differentiator No. 1 because it prevents the majority party from running roughshod over the minority, which is how the House rolls (and not to its credit)
June 26, 2013 | By Scott Collins
Wendy Davis became a media star Tuesday, even though the major TV networks barely mentioned her. The 50-year-old Texas state senator waged a 10-hour-plus filibuster in Austin aimed at blocking a bill that would ban abortions at 20 weeks and force the state's abortion clinics to upgrade or close. In a dramatic example of the disconnect between social and mainstream media, Twitter and Facebook were aflame with arguments over the filibuster as it was happening, while TV news networks generally paid little or no attention, at least at first.
July 11, 2013 | By Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, claiming Republicans have engaged in unprecedented obstruction of presidential nominations, signaled Thursday that he would proceed with long-threatened changes to Senate rules to limit use of the filibuster. In remarks on the Senate floor, the Nevada Democrat called it a “disturbing trend” that Republicans have blocked or delayed some of President Obama's appointees even when their qualifications are not in doubt, bogging them down “with unreasonable demands.” He cited an earlier filibuster of Chuck Hagel to be Defense secretary and continued delays in the confirmation of Obama's picks to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Labor Department and Environmental Protection Agency, as well as appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.
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