Republicans For Debate


Diamond Member
Nov 22, 2003
not limiting it. Of course the MSM is even handed, see how they deal with 'cloture?' Links at site:

Closing the Book on Cloture
Posted by Lance under Domestic Politics , Foreign affairs , Lance's Page , History , Media , Law

Okay, maybe the various news services have gotten this whole issue of how the Democrats are stifling debate backwards, but maybe the pattern isn’t one of ignorance, willful deceit or childlike gullibitlity. Maybe this is merely a matter of a long standing way of media outlets looking at this issue?

So, how did the Washington Post describe a similar vote for cloture by Republicans in 2005:

GOP Files Cloture Motion to End Debate

As opposed to today when they vote against cloture:

GOP Stalls Debate On Troop Increase

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Okay, but surely we can expect better from the New York Times (stop sniggering Michael)? In 2006 a vote against cloture was described in this manner:

the Senate voted 49-to-48 against shutting off debate on the issue,
well short of the 60 votes needed to move ahead with formally
considering the amendment

They also claimed two Republicans who broke with the party:

voted against limiting debate

Today, when voting against cloture we get:

G.O.P. Senators Block Debate on Iraq Policy

What about that stalwart of open, honest debate on issues, Senator Harry Reid? In 2005 he called a Republican vote for cloture:

cut[ting] off debate

Here is more on that vote from Harry:

After keeping the Senate from debating the FY2006 Defense Authorization bill for more than 2 months, I was informed yesterday that the Majority Leader was going to file a motion to cut off Senate debate on this important legislation and all the critical issues it raises. “This news should be deeply troubling to all members of this body, our troops and their families, and every American who cares about the security of this country.

[…] f cloture is invoked, members of this body will be denied the opportunity to debate and vote on major issues like ensuring that our troops - active and retired - get the pay and benefits they have earned. No time to debate our course in Iraq.

[…] As things stand now, if the Majority Leader proceeds with this motion, it is entirely possible that the Senate will vote to cut off debate on this legislation before we will even have had a vote on a single Democratic amendment. Let me repeat, it is possible we will have voted to cut off debate before we will have voted on a single Democratic amendment. We cannot find an instance when this has occurred.

If the Majority Leader takes this action, those who support this motion are sending one message: they do not believe the Senate should debate the important national security issues that are very much on the minds of our troops, their families, and the American people.

[…]The Majority Leader’s decision raises an important question: Why would he prematurely cut off debate on critical national security legislation? Why would he want to prevent the Senate from doing everything we can to help our men and women in uniform? Why would he deny the Senate the opportunity to make this country more secure?

[…] I hope the Majority Leader will reconsider this action and let us get back to work on this important bill. If he does not, we will oppose cloture. That is the only course that will ensure that we effectively address the security needs of this nation.

Here is the template. Whatever way Republicans vote on cloture, assuming the parties are generally on opposite sides, it is the Republicans who are limiting debate.

As long as we are taking a look back at history, what is the history of the filibuster and cloture? I point you to this summary from, Poynter (emphasis mine)

Using the filibuster to delay debate or block legislation has a long history. In the United States, the term filibuster — from a Dutch word meaning “pirate” — became popular in the 1850s when it was applied to efforts to hold the Senate floor in order to prevent action on a bill.In the early years of Congress, representatives as well as senators could use the filibuster technique. As the House grew in numbers, however, it was necessary to revise House rules to limit debate. In the smaller Senate, unlimited debate continued since senators believed any member should have the right to speak as long as necessary.

In 1841, when the Democratic minority hoped to block a bank bill promoted by Henry Clay, Clay threatened to change Senate rules to allow the majority to close debate. Thomas Hart Benton angrily rebuked his colleague, accusing Clay of trying to stifle the Senate’s right to unlimited debate. Unlimited debate remained in place in the Senate until 1917. At that time, at the suggestion of President Woodrow Wilson, the Senate adopted a rule (Rule 22) that allowed the Senate to end a debate with a two-thirds majority vote — a tactic known as “cloture.”

The new Senate rule was put to the test in 1919, when the Senate invoked cloture to end a filibuster against the Treaty of Versailles. Despite the new cloture rule, however, filibusters continued to be an effective means to block legislation, due in part to the fact that a two-thirds majority vote is difficult to obtain. Over the next several decades, the Senate tried numerous times to evoke cloture, but failed to gain the necessary two-thirds vote. Filibusters were particularly useful to southern senators blocking civil rights legislation in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1975, the Senate reduced the number of votes required for cloture from two-thirds (67) to three-fifths (60) of the 100-member Senate.

Many Americans are familiar with the hours-long filibuster of Senator Jefferson Smith in Frank Capra’s film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” but there have been some famous filibusters in the real-life Senate as well. During the 1930s, Senator Huey P. Long effectively used the filibuster against bills that he thought favored the rich over the poor. The Louisiana senator frustrated his colleagues while entertaining spectators with his recitations of Shakespeare and his reading of recipes for “pot-likkers.” Long once held the Senate floor for 15 hours. The record for the longest individual speech goes to South Carolina’s J. Strom Thurmond who filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
Once again, here is the definition of cloture, emphasis mine:

The only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. Under the cloture rule (Rule XXII), the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes.​,pubID.25569/pub_detail.asp

Congress Must Engage in Serious Debates over Iraq, Budget

By Norman J. Ornstein
Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Resident Scholar Norman J. Ornstein

Congress has on its plate two huge issues of immense significance for the country now and for its future: the Iraq War and the federal budget. Neither will be easy to resolve in the short term, through whatever fixes we employ to get through the next year, or in the long term, when we pass the problems along to future generations. Both are crying out for serious debate and mature discussion of the difficult trade-offs we have.

Both need debate not just for Congress and the political elites, but also to inform and stimulate voters who will set the parameters for the tough choices our politicians will face and for the nature of the presidential campaign ahead--the most open and freewheeling set of contests in our lifetime.

Will we get these debates? The answer to that question will go a considerable way to telling us if we have restored a reasonable facsimile of a deliberative legislative branch. On the war, the arcane maneuvers around Monday’s motion to proceed on debate on Sen. John Warner’s (R-Va.) resolution--a rare threat to filibuster a motion to proceed, the failure by a wide margin to invoke cloture, the negotiations around four separate resolutions (all symbolic, but with serious weight to the symbolism)--made the Senate an easy target for critics of its pomposity and lack of seriousness.

No question, much of the maneuvering, despite the frequent protestations to the contrary, was about election politics in 2008--what votes would Senators up next time have to defend, and what would the many presidential candidates in the Senate have as traction in their campaigns? And no question, there are multiple layers of hypocrisy here--if the resolutions are symbolic and meaningless, why pour so much energy into preventing a debate and vote on them? If a surge in troops is so wrong, why are so many of the critics people who have advocated an increase in troops for three years?

The resolutions are in fact symbolic. They will not change policy on the ground, either by ending the surge or better protecting the troops. Even if Congress were to decide, as President Bush and Vice President Cheney have dared it to try, to cut off the funds for the war, it would not change things until Oct. 1 at the earliest, since Congress already has appropriated ample money for the president to use as he wishes in Iraq through the current fiscal year.

But a real debate on Iraq would be far more than symbolic. There is no easy course to follow there. As the National Intelligence Estimate says quite clearly, the conditions on the ground have deteriorated markedly, and the likelihood of a surge of 21,500 troops (17,500 of them in Baghdad) reversing that trend is slim. In some ways, this “surge” itself is symbolic, since it will fall far short of the numbers Gen. David Petraeus himself has written are required, given the population in Baghdad, to make an effective counterinsurgency.

At the same time, the NIE makes clear that a precipitous withdrawal would lead to chaos and bloodshed far beyond what we have seen. The worst-case scenarios in Iraq--including widespread slaughter of civilians on a scale much beyond what currently is taking place and the eventual takeover by a radical Shiite dictatorship in league with the mullahs in Iran and the leaders of Hezbollah--would be utterly disastrous for America and the world...

Forum List