Sunday, September 21, 2008
Senate Republicans are most responsible for Congressional sluggishness.
Congress has a low approval rating because Conservatives will never approve of a Democratically controlled Senate but also because they aren't getting their way on issues near and dear to them such as abortion, immigration and taxes. Progressive aren't happy because we fully expected to be on our way out of Iraq, that impeachment would be on the table and that the Democratic leadership would stop sacrificing our principals by continuously rolling over to Republican intimidation.
The blue dogs vote with the GOP on issues that fit the conservative nature of their constituents. But, the House, with the exception of the much needed impeachment issue, isn't that much of a problem. The people's business does get accomplished despite endlessly tiresome maneuvers by the Republican leadership in order to only stretch out legislative goals from being carried out or to draw attention to themselves for the local news crowd at home.
The Senate Republicans, forever loyal to all things Bush, are the fly in the ointment. They have blocked/filibustered every single thing that has come before the Senate that doesn't survive their inquisition. The, up or down vote crowd, has used this method of killing Senatorial business more than it's combined use through out it's history.
This maneuver goes something like this.
Let's say there is a bill that has swept through the House with broad bi-partisan approval such as, a needed improvement in prenatal and natal care through the WICK program.
Conservatives in the Senate, the Administration and those who influence them find objection to not only 'robbing the tax payer to help irresponsible women', but it became noticeable that the bill contained a provision for regulating the baby food industry in order to insure the high quality of their product, not only domestically but international sales as well.
Both sides jaw about the pros and cons of the bill when it finally comes time for someone to invoke cloture. Cloture means it's time to stop talking about the bill, set time for final debate then vote. It takes sixty votes to stop debate (cloture). The Republicans have more than enough votes, even with a few honorable defections, to block every vote in the Senate and they have used it without mercy or pity.
Conservative Senate obstructionism
Tying It All Together: Learn about the Legislative Process
Senate Legislative Process
Congress/Legislative Resources from CSPAN