White House considering move to block filibusters

Members of Congress -- including, most importantly, some Democrats -- are coming out in opposition to the idea.

Topics: War Room,

In a move that has incited some anger from both sides of the aisle, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said Tuesday the administration is thinking about invoking a congressional rule in order to push some of President Obama’s more controversial budget items through the Senate without facing a 60-vote threshold.

Under the budget reconciliation process, measures pass in the Senate with a simple majority as opposed to the 60 votes often needed because of filibusters and similar parliamentary tactics. The Democratic caucus only has 58 members at the moment, and not all of them are reliable votes for all of Obama’s priorities, so the administration might need to have this kind of trick up it sleeve when legislation on things like health care, climate change and tax hikes for the wealthy, for instance, come to the floor.

Naturally, Republicans aren’t happy about the news the administration is even considering this move and have accused the president of abandoning his repeated pledges about bipartisan cooperation. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, has said that any use of reconciliation would be an example of what he called the “Chicago approach to governing: Strong-arm it through.”

You Might Also Like

“You’re talking about the exact opposite of bipartisan,” Gregg added. “You’re talking about running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River.” (The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn notes, though, that under the Bush administration Gregg had no problems with a similar maneuver.)

Perhaps more worrisome for the White House is a minor mutiny taking place in its party. A group of centrist Democrats in the Senate has been organizing in opposition to Obama’s proposed reforms on health care and global warming, and eight of them have already joined Republicans in signing a letter opposing the possible use of the reconciliation process. “We need everyone in the room,” said one of the eight, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. “It needs to be done in a bipartisan way.”

Orszag says the White House is aware of the opposition and hopes to avoid invoking the rule, but argued that nearly every piece of major budget legislation in the last thirty-some years has been pushed through the Senate under the reconciliation process. “Somehow this is being presented as an unusual thing,” Orszag said. “The historical norm as opposed to the exception is for a major piece of budget legislation to move through reconciliation.”

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>