Much is written and said about the obstructionist Repubs in the House and Senate. But it ain't just one side of the aisle here, it's both sides depending on who's in the majority and who's in the WH. There is an op-ed in today's WSJ, sorry no link, it's proprietary, that talks about what goes on. I'd like to stress that in this case it's the Dems, but as the article says, both sides play all kinds of tricks and manuevers to benefit their side. Consider this: On March 19, the Dems introduce a bill in the Senate to promote renewable energy, paying for it by raising taxes on the oil companies. Normally, the bill would go into a particular committee for action, but Harry Reid bypasses the committee and puts the bill directly onto the Senate schedule. Two days later he initiates a process to call up the bill and immediately files a cloture motion to end debate on it. The following monday the Senate votes 92-4 to end the debate (on the cloture motion, not the bill itself). The next day, Reid brings the bill to the floor and immediately offers 5 amendments to the bill and a motion to preclude any more amendments or motions. He then files a motion for cloture, ending any debate before it got started. Two days later the Senate votes along party lines to reject cloture and the bill dies. (You don't vote on a bill until a cloture vote to end debate on it has passed with at least 60 votes. Except maybe appropriations.) So, were the Repubs obstructionists here? They didn't get the chance to offer any amendments or debate on it. No committee discussions or changes were possible, no chance to filibuster anything. No, the ability for the Senate to take meaningful action was preempted by the Majority Leader, through parliamentary maneuvers. Our form of gov't is designed for majority rule, but it's also designed so that the minority is not steamrollered with no voice or power. So why do it? For political reasons, obviously. An effort to make the Repubs look obstructionist. But also to avoid forcing the Dems to take a vote and go on record for tough issues. That's called cowardice; it sure as hell isn't leadership. The op-ed notes that both sides do it, undoubtedly true. That's one reason why the favorability rating for Congress is in the mid to low teens, and has been for quite awhile.