Showdown Looms as Abused Filibuster Frays Senate Tempers

GOB blocks routine nomination, has Dems eying reform options
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2010 9:29 AM CST
Showdown Looms as Abused Filibuster Frays Senate Tempers
Protesters hold a 'counter-filibuster' demonstration, calling to end an expected filibuster to block the vote on a timetable for the exit of US troops from Iraq, on July 17, 2007 in Los Angeles.   (Getty Images)

Last night's GOP filibuster of a routine nomination to the National Labor Relation Board left Democrats livid, and considering reforms to stop a filibuster-happy GOP from crippling the Senate. "I'm in my thirty-sixth year. I've never seen anything like it," Sen. Pat Leahy told the Huffington Post. Leahy said previous Senate leadership had always reserved the filibuster for major legislation.

Carl Levin, also a long-serving Democrat, predicted that current abuse of the filibuster means it will either "fall of its own weight" or "fall after some massive conflict on the floor." During last night's filibuster, GOP senators argued that nominee Craig Becker was tainted by the sheer number of questions—hundreds—that Republicans had submitted and he had answered. The questions themselves showed him to be a controversial figure, they said, along with the fact that he had connections to someone who had once worked for ACORN.
(More Carl Levin stories.)

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