The Senate: Root of All Evil?
The U.S. Senate has long been known as the "cooling saucer," where legislation can get a nice, slow round of consideration after the hot-tempered House has sped through a bill. That dynamic has long frustrated House members, but perhaps never so much as it did Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) today.
Pelosi was asked at her weekly press conference about Democrats' inability to end the Iraq war and whether that represents a "failure" for her and the party. The Speaker responded that it wasn't a failure at all, since the House had passed numerous bills attempting to shorten or end the war. But they'd all been snagged by the Senate and its "arcane" rule requiring 60 votes to end debate.
"The 60-vote requirement to bring up legislation in the Senate has prolonged this war, has deepened the downturn in the economy of this country, has made matters worse for more families in this country, and it's a tragedy," Pelosi said.
Wow. So does Pelosi advocate a wholesale change in the Senate's rules? No, she just wants more Democrats elected to the chamber. Democrats would need to pick up nine seats in November to reach the magic number of 60, a very tall order even in a year trending so badly for the GOP. Or, of course, the majority could try a little harder to persuade Republicans to vote with them.
Otherwise, Pelosi and her fellow House Democrats will have to rail against those pesky Senate rules for at least another two years. Tragic.
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