Ending the filibuster finally bears fruit


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Chris Hayes on his program All In has been doing a series this week called "Bizarro Congress," a Congress that actually does its job addressing the needs of the country, instead of the less than "less than do nothing" 113th Congress we actually have now — the Worst. Congress. Ever.

Last month Senate Democrats finally exercised the constitutional option (aka the nuclear option as preferred by the media villagers) to end the Senate's super-majority cloture rule for debate, colloquially known as the filibuster. This weapon of mass destruction had been used by Tea-Publicans to paralyze the U.S. Senate and to render it entirely dysfunctional.

Today, ending the filibuster finally bears fruit by restoring some functionality to the U.S. Senate. Senate Democrats confirm judge using new rules to thwart filibusters:

Democrats successfully utilized new Senate rules Tuesday to confirm one of President Obama's picks to serve on a key federal court and to proceed with final debate on another nominee to lead a federal housing agency.

Under new rules requiring just a majority of senators to agree to proceed to final debate on most confirmation votes, senators voted 56 to 38 to confirm Patricia A. Millett to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, one of the nation's most influential federal courts. She will be the first of three picks by Obama to join what is broadly considered the second-most important federal court in the nation because it handles cases regarding federal regulations.

Two Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — joined with all members of the Senate Democratic caucus present for the vote to confirm Millett.

In a Statement, Obama thanked lawmakers for approving Millett with bipartisan support and said he is "confident she will serve with distinction on the federal bench."

Moments later, the Senate Democrats successfully thwarted attempts by Republicans to once again block final debate on the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Senators voted 57 to 40 to invoke cloture on the Watt nomination, the first time that the chamber has agreed to proceed to final debate on a presidential nominee with a simple majority vote.

Once again two Republicans — Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) — voted with members of the Senate Democratic caucus to proceed towards final passage.

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Tuesday's votes were the first of several planned in the coming days before the Senate adjourns next week. In the coming days, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) is also expected to call votes on Obama's two other nominees to serve on the D.C. appeals court, Cornelia "Nina" Pillard and Robert Wilkins. The appointments will change the ideological makeup of the court dramatically, giving Democrats a three-seat majority. Reid is also likely to schedule votes on Janet Yellen to lead the U.S. Federal Reserve and Jeh Johnson, Obama's choice to run the Homeland Security Department.

This is how the Founding Fathers designed the Senate to function. The Tea-Publican tyranny of the minority through the gross abuse of the Senate filibuster rules to destroy the functioning of the Senate was completely at odds with the representative democracy envisioned by the Founders. It was a scandalous anti-democratic assault on constituional government.