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Posts Tagged ‘rules’
January 8th, 2013 at 8:10 pm
Quin is Wrong on Procedure, Right on Substance

In light of the volleys exchanged, let’s review how a senatorial hold works.

From the U.S. Senate’s reference page on chamber rules:

hold - An informal practice by which a senator informs his or her floor leader that he or she does not wish a particular bill or other measure to reach the floor for consideration. The majority leader need not follow the senator’s wishes, but is on notice that the opposing senator may filibuster any motion to proceed to consider the measure.

Note the part stating, “The majority leader need not follow the senator’s wishes, but is on notice that the opposing senator may filibuster any motion to proceed to consider the measure.”

What’s a filibuster?

filibuster - Informal term for any attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or other matter by debating it at length, by offering numerous procedural motions, or by any other delaying or obstructive actions.

Bear in mind that the majority leader, i.e. Harry Reid (D-NV), “need not follow the senator’s wishes…”  Recall also Reid’s musings that he’d like to enact the so-called ‘nuclear option’ to remove the usual supermajority requirement for overcoming a filibuster, and replace it with a simple majority.  So, if the Senate Democratic caucus wants to, they can 1) refuse to honor any hold requests on Hagel, and 2) change Senate rules on filibusters to shut down the opposition.  With several news outlets reporting that President Barack Obama is ready to pick a fight over Hagel, I think Reid does both if Republicans try to kill Obama’s nominee for Defense Secretary with obstructionist procedural tactics.

Maybe if Hagel was nominated for some second tier Cabinet office Republicans could get away with relying on informal procedures to block his next career move.  But with Obama riding high after the fiscal cliff negotiations – Quin’s optimism notwithstanding – I think Republicans will lose, and lose big, with the public if they try to kill Obama’s top Pentagon pick on procedure rather than substance.

It should be said that I don’t disagree with any of Quin’s criticisms of Hagel.  Instead, my point of departure is with Quin’s reliance on procedural obstruction rather than tough questioning and reasoned argument.  Conservatives have one of the most intellectually articulate groups of senators in living memory with the likes of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and others.  Let them and military stalwarts like John McCain and Lindsey Graham make a coordinated, sustained case against Hagel and his views on foreign policy.  In the process, they might even discover a countervailing vision that convinces the American people.

December 7th, 2011 at 6:41 pm
House Passes REINS Act, Senate Likely to Dither

Huzzah to the 241 members of the House of Representatives who, in a thinly bipartisan vote today (4 Democrats voted in favor), passed H.R. 10, better known as the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act.  As the acronym indicates, the bill wants to limit President Barack Obama’s ability to impose job-killing regulations on the economy.

How does the REINS Act purport to do its job?  If passed by the Senate and signed by the President then every new federal agency regulation inflicting at least $100 million in economic costs would be subject to an up-or-down vote by both houses of Congress.  ($100 million is the threshold for “major” regulations these days.)  When those bills fails – which they almost certainly will unless they are inextricably intertwined with a national security issue – the bureaucrats who dream up these obstacles to economic growth will have to go back to the drawing board and divine a less expensive way to grow the federal government.

Characteristically, the Democrats running the Senate and the one occupying the White House have promised to do nothing to help pass this bill.  (The President even threatened to veto it should enough Senate Dems have the temerity to save their states’ small business owners from the paperwork onslaught thanks to 219 new regulations poised to add thousands of dollars per worker in compliance costs.)

Today, fiscal conservatives can cheer passage of a real “job creation” bill thanks to the conservative plurality in the House of Representatives.  Next year, it will critically important to elect more of these to the Senate – and hopefully the presidency – so that America can get back to work.

August 4th, 2011 at 1:12 pm
Obama’s July: 608 Regulations, Costing $9.5 Billion

U.S. News & World Report summarizes a great one-page handout from the office of Senator John Barasso (R-WY):

At Tuesday’s GOP Senate caucus lunch, the lawmakers said that they will renew their efforts, supported by business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In a memo Barasso handed out to the lawmakers, he claimed that the administration in July only has put in $9.5 billion in new regulatory costs by proposing 229 new rules and finalizing 379 rules. Among those he cited were EPA, healthcare reform, and financial regulatory reform rules.

If you’re a Tea Party activist, or someone looking for a compact fact sheet describing the growth in government, check out Senator Barasso’s handout. (pdf)