Majority of Senate votes for Buffet rule, and that means it fails …

Most people know this, but there is a device in the Senate called a filibuster. It was made famous by Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but the way it works today is very different. If a 60 member super majority of the Senate does not vote for Cloture, the measure fails, end of story:

(DailyKos) — Republican after Republican has stood on the Senate floor today, mouthing the same old saws we’ve heard over and over: the harm that will be done to small business, the “pitting Americans against each other” argument (that’s rich, coming from Republicans), the “job creators” arguments. It’s a gimmick, a waste of time, and it will raise just a “meager” sum of $47 billion. Of course, if it were $47 billion being cut from education, or from Medicaid, or from food stamps, Republicans would be crowing about their “signficant” deficit reduction. It’s all a matter of which side of the ledger you’re talking about.

God-eh forbid a billionaire would have to pay the same tax rate as his lowly secretary’s secretary.

Lo these many blog years ago, the same GOP was threatening a nuclear option, one that would have ended the filibuster. They felt the democrats were using it too much to stymie God fear’n wealth-loving gun-toting legislation.  That’s rich considering what they’ve done since.

I’m proud to say, back when the nuclear option was being threatened, Markos came right out and said fine, do it, and convinced me and many others that that would be a good thing overall.  His reasoning was its undemocratic, it enables all kinds of influence peddling and backroom shakedowns, and sooner or later saner people will carry the house and senate. He was absolutely right and I wish the GOP had done it. Then they’d have been held more accountable for the things they put in place that pissed everyone off, and crashed and burned, and we’d have much better policies in place over the last several years, starting with healthcare reform and ending with the Buffet rule.


  1. d cwilson says

    Further proof this country desperately needs to revert to the rules Mr. Smith had to follow.

  2. cato123 says

    The Buffet rule would never pass the House so what happened to it in the Senate is meaningless. Also, both parties have used the current cloture vote rules so not much to complain about here either.

    What isn’t discussed is that the tax rates are the same for the wealthy. The fact that the general public doesn’t get a lesson regarding the difference between capital gains and income tax rates is telling. The Buffet rule didn’t address this nor would it have made a dent in reducing the deficit. This is not to say that something similar shouldn’t be passed, but should be part of broader tax reform.

  3. jamessweet says

    The characterization of $47 billion as “meager” is not completely off the mark. It’s non-trivial, and still worth doing, but as cato123 says, broader tax reform is needed. We need to raise revenues more than this.

    It would have been a start though!

    (Regarding one comment made by cato123, though… my impression is that the GOP has used the current filibuster rules significantly more often, though? Are there numbers on this? I’d be interested. Anyway, in some ways the either party would be fools not to use the rule to their own ends if its in place, the bigger problem is the rule itself.)

  4. gshelley says

    I agree with Jamessweet. The graph above ends in 2008 – how would it look if it was continued forward a couple of years? My impression has been that the level of obstructionism by the GOP in the last couple of years has been unprecendented

  5. StevoR says


    At first I thought that was a typo but then it kept getting repeatd so it looks like a separate special term.

    As an Aussie, the US political system has me baffled and really just doesn’t seem to work if I may say so. I’m not even going to pretend to understadn it, its just all, “what the .. How the .. Huh?” territory.

    Heck, the same things pretty much true (albeit to a slightly lesser degree) of my own nation’s political system and most others as well.

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