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What the Senate proved

"Senate proves bipartisanship possible," tweets an exultant Robert Gibbs. The occasion? The first of the Senate jobs bills passed with 70 votes. This would be the same jobs bill that only got 62 votes to break the filibuster. Eight Republicans switched their vote on the final bill, and the result was that days of Senate floor time were consumed breaking a filibuster on a bill that 70 senators ultimately supported.

As Tim Fernholz says, the Senate didn't prove bipartisanship possible so much as it proved hypocrisy easy. It also proved that there's no truth to the argument that senators believe there's no difference between procedural votes and bill votes, and it further proved that it's time to get rid of the filibuster.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 24, 2010; 11:09 AM ET
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From TPM, here are the hypocrites:

The switchers who voted no on cloture but yes on the bill:

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
James Inhofe (R-OK)
George LeMieux (R-FL)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Roger Wicker (R-MS)

And those who were absent Monday but voted yes:

Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Richard Burr (R-NC)

Pretty interesting.

Posted by: Mimikatz | February 24, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Yay, a measly little $15 billion jobs bill gets passed with some Republican votes, so that means we have to keep reaching out, meeting half way, etc. Can I handle all this good news?

Posted by: toweypat | February 24, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

How MANY days of Senate floor time were spent "breaking" the filibuster? I hear this little topic come up every so often... the vote was taken on Tuesday, but what was the Senate schedule on Monday? Was there, in fact, any time at all spent "breaking" a filibuster?

I might be missing something, but it seems as if the floor time available in the Senate hasn't changed in the past 200 years: there are seven days in each week, with 24 hours per day.

Posted by: rmgregory | February 24, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

As a Southerner-in-exile, I'm amazed by how many Southerners appear on that list of "Oops, changed my mind!" including Lamar Alexander from my native state. Quite revealing . . .

Posted by: scarlota | February 24, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

If I read the Senate Daily Digest ( ) correctly, the Senate convened at 10AM and adjourned at 7:18 PM, after introducing 11 bills, passing 4 bills, and considering numerous bills reported from committee and from the House. The Senate Majority leader had as his top priorities "Recognizing the American Kennel Club" and "Supporting the Goals of National Engineer's Week".

The truth is that the discussion of Senate rules diverts attention from the obstruction of the Speaker of the House, who continues to hold legislation that might benefit millions of Americans.

Posted by: rmgregory | February 24, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I really hope the Democrats pound them for this the next time the filibuster becomes a big issue, which, let's face it, could be tomorrow. A quarter of Republicans just proved that they think procedural votes are different from substantive votes.

By the way, I don't see Ben Nelson's name on the list of hypocrites, but I assume he voted for it as well.

Posted by: MosBen | February 24, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Let it be said, "They were against it before they were for it."

Posted by: J_Whick | February 24, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Seriously, WTF? What's with EIGHT senators voting to filibuster this bill, but then voting for it.

And what's with more than HALF of all Republican Senators voting against a tiny bill that's composed ENTIRELY of tax cuts?

I can't believe this is what passes for bipartisanship these days.

Posted by: theorajones1 | February 24, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

As ever, bipartisanship is only possible when it's code for doing what the Republicans want.

Posted by: adamiani | February 24, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm continued to be concerned by the assertion that "the result was that days of Senate floor time were consumed breaking a filibuster on a bill that 70 senators ultimately supported."

Of course, the Senate was in recess from 11 February through 2 PM on 22 February... so how many days of floor time were consumed by "breaking a filibuster"? Is Klein asserting that the record of the Senate, submitted under oath, is in error?

Posted by: rmgregory | February 24, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse


I don't think the Senate should do away with the fillibuster, but I do think they should make it a tad harder to pull off.

Posted by: nisleib | February 24, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I think that this demonstrates that the GOP is not just filibustering to stop a particular item's passing, but just for the purpose of making passing anything take longer and thereby limiting how much business the Senate can get done.

Posted by: gregspolitics | February 24, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope that none of those Senators are the same Senators who said that a vote to break a filibuster is the same as a vote for the bill.

They might end up looking pretty stupid in campaign ads.

Posted by: zosima | February 24, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Give the man some bipartisanship and he's still not happy.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 24, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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