Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cloture on Hagel nomination fails, 58-40

1 present.

So it's official: Thanks to a handful of Democratic senators who blocked filibuster reform, Senate Republicans have successfully blocked the Senate from voting on the confirmation of Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, at least for the time being.

Fifty-eight senators voted to move forward with the nomination process, short of the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster. Four Republicans joined 54 Democrats on the losing side.

The four GOP were Mike Johanns of Nebraska (Hagel's home state), Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Thad Cochran of Mississippi. Orrin Hatch voted 'present'.

John Cornyn is on C-Span repeatedly saying that it wasn't a filibuster even as I type this.

I agree with those who say that Harry Reid looks like a chump.

The whole thing is something of a dark comedy. Last month, a handful of Senate Democrats blocked efforts to reform the filibuster. If they hadn't blocked reform, Republicans would have been required to actually speak on the floor to continue their filibuster. Instead, they settled on a handshake agreement between Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. And now, to nobody's surprise, McConnell is stabbing Reid in the back.

And John Walker at Firedoglake speaks for me.

At some point you need to stop blaming the Republicans for their filibusters. If someone decides to give a known arsonist matches and gasoline, they now bear most of the responsibility when he burns their house down.

Update: More from MaddowBlog.

(S)everal GOP senators who said they'd allow an up-or-down vote changed their minds in recent days.

Indeed, as recently as Monday of this week, for example, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, "Never before has a defense secretary nominee required 60 votes on the floor to overcome a filibuster threat." He added a filibuster, if it were to occur, "sets a wrong precedent."

And then, today, McCain voted against cloture on Hagel anyway.

It was Mitch McConnell and Jeff Sessions, along with Cornyn, who repeatedly mouthed that "up-or-down-vote" line during the Bush years about judicial nominees. Media Matters has a post from last month in regard to that hypocrisy on the part of Senate Republicans.

This boil could have been lanced by Harry Reid, also in January, but he refused to exert caucus discipline. This failure lies as much at his feet as it does the GOP's.

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