Harry Reid Issues a Double Dog Dare
Every now and then, that crafty Harry Reid can surprise you! In this case, he’s figured out a way to leverage the GOP’s desperation so that we may finally see some action on 17 entirely non-controversial judicial nominees. (It’s still Washington, and he’s still Harry Reid — were you expecting more?)
See, the thing is that the GOP doesn’t really have a legislative agenda beyond tax cuts as a cure for everything and simply saying “no” to anything the Democrats put forward. This being the Senate, and Democrats being Democrats, this of course means the minority party pretty much runs the show. At least as far as having what amounts to a nearly unbreakable veto goes.
And when I say the GOP says “no” to anything Democrats put forward, this extends to President Obama’s judicial nominees. Are we talking about a raft of radical socialist zealots our diabolical Mooslem fuhrer is trying to sneak past? Nope. Seriously, there’s really not a debate about the nominees themselves (most experienced no opposition in committee.) Naturally then, the GOP has threatened to filibuster any vote on any of these nominees.
“Oh, yeah?”, says Harry Reid. “We’ll just see about that.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a message for the Republicans: Stand in the way of confirming over a dozen judicial nominees, as you’ve threatened to, and the country can watch for weeks as you hold up the bipartisan JOBS Act. I dare you. (Talking Points Memo)
Unfortunately for Senate Republicans, there is finally a legislative item they actually care about. Something they’re desperate to see passed. The JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, recently passed by the House, would be the one thing the GOP could take to voters in November that has even a tenuous claim to promoting job growth. Despite carrying a ludicrously misleading acronym, and having some possible unintended consequences in the form of significant tax cuts for “small businesses” like hedge funds, something’s better than nothing, right?
Now they’re right where Harry wants ‘em. This being Harry Reid, and Senate Democrats being Senate Democrats, Harry has no problem allowing a vote on this meager bill. It may even pass — but not so fast:
Reid pulled procedural levers Monday to force action on 17 stalled, non-controversial judicial nominees to federal trial courts — just as the Senate was expected to take up the House-passed JOBS Act, a modest GOP-led bill to encourage economic growth by loosening regulations on small business capital formation.
That presents Republicans with a conundrum: proceed with the promised filibusters and eat up weeks of floor time while the JOBS Act sits in limbo; or accede to Reid’s demands and hand Democrats a win — and a bunch of federal judges. (Talking Points Memo)
And there you have it. Finally, we just might, possibly, maybe see a few new judges.
Is it sickening that our judicial system is hampered by a lack of judges due to nothing more than GOP obstruction? Sure.
Is what passes for process in our national legislature an ugly thing? Sure.
But for several years, now, Senate Democrats have had the ability to do something about the abuse of the filibuster. They’ve chosen not to do so out of fear of what happens when they’re the minority party. (Seems to me, that if they’d killed the filibuster three years ago, while they also controlled the House, they might have actually gotten enough done that the fear of losing the majority would be long down the road. But that’s another story…)