Sunday, February 6, 2011

Catch XXII Redux

Dear Children:
It didn’t get much ink given the sturm und drang of the last two years, but Senate leaders have come to an informal compromise over Rule 22; the rule covering the use of the filibuster discussed previously. Don’t think that tenderheartedness has broken out, though. The accommodation results from a new situation on the ground, so to speak. This Senate now has 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans which puts the possibility of cloture out of reach for both parties. Filibuster as a delaying tactic as opposed to a killing tactic is off the table. In other words, a filibuster would take the form of the filibuster of old where a member needs to identify himself and hold the floor for the tactic to work. The chance of it becoming a party-wide tactic is diminished.

Mr. McConnell and Mr. Reid looked out from Lookout Mountain and saw a Senate where nothing gets done. This was the situation that existed in the second Clinton administration and directly resulted, along with a booming economy, in the paying down of the national debt at an extraordinary pace. God forbid that should happen again.

So they tried it out on the Aviation Policy Bill. Aviation Policy has been bouncing around the Congress since Mr. Reagan broke the Air Traffic Controller’s Union.

You’ll be happy to know that Chicken Little was wrong. When the measure came up, Mr. Reid permitted a flood of amendments from the floor including repeal of healthcare. None of the amendments passed because the Aviation Policy bill had been thoroughly vetted in committee over the last two and a half decades or so.

This was just the first try of what Senator Schumer called procedural civility.

There are a number of things in its favor, not the least of which is the Presidential election. For the mid-terms, most Republicans ran against Nancy Pelosi’s heavy-handed tax/spend ways and healthcare. Mr. Obama is the likely issue in 2012.

Anything can and will happen. For now, though, a little peace is welcome.

I’m just sayin’


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