Call it a “fighting retreat.” Or a disinclination to fight in a burning house.
So, the big news today is that Harry Reid apparently voluntarily spit out some of his fangs on the filibuster. They’re modifying the rules to give the minority party a bit more input in the process:
…the deal Reid struck with McConnell doesn’t end the filibuster against the motion to proceed. Rather, it creates two new pathways for moving to a new bill. In one, the majority leader can, with the agreement of the minority leader and seven senators from each party, sidestep the filibuster when moving to a new bill. In the other, the majority leader can short-circuit the filibuster against moving to a new bill so long as he allows the minority party to offer two germane amendment that also can’t be filibustered. Note that in all cases, the minority can still filibuster the bill itself.
Apparently, some of the anti-filibuster people are livid, given that Reid’s given up a bit, not least of which is (in at least some cases) his time-honored trick of filling up the amendment tree (ie, not allowing Republican Senators the option to offer amendments to bills). And, sure, they’re marketing this as a win – but, realistically? The Democrats aren’t actually able to pass legislation right now that’s unacceptable to the House, so why not run things the way that they like in the Senate anyway? (more…)