December 19, 2009 |
WASHINGTON — With a critical vote looming this weekend, Senate Democrats reached a deal with the lone Democratic holdout -- Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, who will back the party's healthcare bill after settling weeks of negotiating over abortion. That would give Democrats the 60 votes they need to quash a series of Republican-led filibusters and pass a bill by Christmas. Nelson, who was pushing for tougher restrictions on federal funding for abortion, reached the agreement with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office after round-the-clock talks with Reid and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.
April 7, 1993 |
Outwardly, the Republican filibuster that has stymied President Clinton's $16.3-billion economic stimulus package may look like the kind of congressional bickering most voters long ago learned to ignore. Beneath the surface, however, it is turning into the first major test of whether Clinton has the presidential strength and leadership skills to turn his wide-ranging policy agenda into reality.
March 6, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Can the president legally order a drone strike to kill an American on U.S. soil? Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. wrote this week in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that he could envision "an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate" to use such lethal force. Those words touched off a heated debate Wednesday in the Senate over when and where the president can order the killing of U.S. citizens designated as "enemy combatants. " President Obama and his aides have said that targeted killings of Americans must be governed by some due process.
November 24, 2013
Re "Senate curbs filibusters in historic shift," Nov. 22 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his Democratic colleagues have changed the filibuster rule to exclude nominations for administration appointees (except for Supreme Court justices). In other words, the majority now rules. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) denounced Democrats for trying to "break the rules to change the rules. " He spoke passionately about the terrible, unprincipled action by the Democrats.
November 15, 2003
Re "GOP Extends Senate Talkathon," Nov. 14: So the Bush administration is not satisfied with the 98% of President Bush's judicial nominees already confirmed by the Senate; the Senate Republicans therefore planned the "debate" that began Wednesday night and continued through Friday on extremist judicial nominees blocked by the Democrats. The Senate Democrats understand that confirming extremist judges for lifetime appointments could, and probably will, turn back the clock on American justice for decades to come and cause irreversible environmental damage.
November 22, 2004
Re "Breaking the Siege in the Judge War," Commentary, Nov. 16: It is unfortunate that some "qualified" judicial nominees are held up by the Senate. However, a rule change ending filibusters is not the answer. The statement by John Lott and Sonya Jones that this change would result in a system that "better serves everyone's interests" is disingenuous at best. The fact that a minority party has some power over judicial nominations is why the founding fathers created the "advice and consent" role in the Constitution.
May 21, 2003
Douglas Kmiec (Commentary, May 19) is off-base in his assessment of the Senate as being nonrepresentative because of the cloture rule, which requires 60 votes to break a filibuster. The idea behind the Senate, as the founding fathers devised it, was to have a more deliberative body where a bill would need at least some consensus to pass, as opposed to the House of Representatives, where the majority ruled absolutely. The Republicans hold 51 Senate seats -- hardly a commanding majority -- yet Kmiec would have us allow that meager preponderance to have the power to railroad its bills and nominations through Congress.
February 13, 2010
We hope the revelation that Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) had placed "holds" on some 70 of President Obama's nominations will energize opposition to this outrageous practice by which one senator, sometimes out of personal pique, can block a vote on a nominee. This week, Shelby said that he was withdrawing his holds on all but a few of the nominees because he had gotten the administration's attention on two issues dear to his constituents: the acquisition by the Air Force of an aerial refueling tanker and the building of a new FBI facility for analyzing explosives.