Senate Democrats Poised for Power Grab

Brian Darling

Senate Democrats are going to be working over the Christmas break to deliver a lump of coal to the American people in the form of a radical changing of the Senate’s rules.  This is a naked power grab by liberals in the Senate pure and simple.

The National Journal reports that Senate Democrats are laying the groundwork to chip away at the filibuster on January 5, 2011.  They are going to push the idea that a simple majority of the Senate can abolish the filibuster rules, or radically change the rules, in a new Congress.

All Democratic senators returning next year have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., urging him to consider action to change long-sacrosanct filibuster rules.  The letter, delivered this week, expresses general frustration with what Democrats consider unprecedented obstruction and asks Reid to take steps to end those abuses. While it does not urge a specific solution, Democrats said it demonstrates increased backing in the majority for a proposal, championed by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and others, to weaken the minority’s ability to tie the Senate calendar into parliamentary knots.

They are angry that they could not railroad through the Senate legislation imposing Card Check, a Public Option for ObamaCare and Climate Change.  Now it is pay back time.

These liberals intend on making it harder for Republicans to participate in the legislative process. They are also setting the table to make it easier to sieze control of the Supreme Court if any of the conservative leaning members decide to retire…

…In his final floor speech, Specter criticized Reid and other recent majority leaders for the “tyrannical” practice of routinely refusing to let senators offer amendments on the legislation…

The article continues at

Update: Washington Post, Republicans propose sweeping changes to House rules

House Republicans are planning to enact some far-reaching changes to the way the lower chamber operates in the next Congress, according to a draft of new rules circulated by the House GOP transition team on Wednesday.

One of the biggest changes would call for all proposed bills to be accompanied by a “Constitutional Authority Statement” that would note the specific section of the Constitution that empowers Congress to enact the legislation.

Another would demand that all bills to be posted online for at least three days before they’re put up for vote. Also, spending increases would have to be offset by cuts of an equal or greater amount elsewhere and could not be paid for by tax increases; Democrats have expressed skepticism that the new rule regarding spending would allow for continued tax breaks for upper-income earners…

…As announced earlier, the Office of Congressional Ethics will remain intact.

The new rules package renews the current rule prohibiting former members of Congress who are now lobbyists from using the House gym.

The rules also allow for Boehner to call for a reading of the full Constitution on the House floor on Jan. 6, the second day of the new Congress. If the reading takes place, it’s likely to be carried out by Boehner or his designee, meaning that a number of members may participate, according to a GOP leadership aide…

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