GOP Will Filibuster the PACE Bill, Unless…

Let's Destroy the Environment!

A prediction: the Republicans will filibuster Mike Thompson’s bill concerning PACE once it gets to the Senate.  At this point, the Republicans (led by Senator Mitch McConnell, pictured right) are simply uninterested in principles or policy.  That’s particular true in the shadow of the upcoming midterms: stopping the bill will simply be another way to frustrate any voters who care about such things, and they will take out their frustrations on the “governing” party, even though that party is the one that is advancing their interests.

There is, however, one way around this, I think: have Thompson’s legislation enacted as an appropriations rider, forbidding the Federal Housing Finance Agency from spending any funds to defend its position or in any way enforce its anti-PACE position.  Appropriations bills can be filibustered, but unless the GOP wants to shut down the government before elections (which I don’t think they will), they will allow the appropriations bill containing FHFA monies to go through.

This is especially true because FHFA is an independent agency, and the appropriations bill for independent agencies is usually combined with the appropriations bill for the Veterans’ Administration.  The Republicans have been able to get away with a lot during this Congress, but I don’t think they would want to shut down the VA.

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Reader Comments

4 Replies to “GOP Will Filibuster the PACE Bill, Unless…”

  1. Republicans should be required to actually filibuster, like in Mr. Smith goes to Washington, rather than just say they’re filibustering and not have to do anything.

  2. Hi Ben —

    Unfortunately, the Democrats can’t make them do it. The “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” rules don’t apply anymore: all you need to do is have one Senator in the chamber who will call for a quorum, and the whole things shuts down. That’s why Reid hasn’t made them do it — he can’t.

    Depending upon the results in November, I think you might some serious filibuster reform in January. At the beginning of a session, adoption of the rules is by majority rule, and I think that even the Senate Dems have had it.

  3. [Unfortunately, the Democrats can’t make them do it. ]

    I looked it up and the Senate majority leader does have the authority to do it. From Wikipedia:

    In the modern filibuster, the senators trying to block a vote do not have to hold the floor and continue to speak as long as there is a quorum, although the Senate Majority Leader may require an actual traditional filibuster if he or she so chooses.

    Harry Reid is too much of a wimp, though.

  4. Hi Ben —

    I wish wikipedia was right, but it’s not. Occupational hazard with wikipedia, although it’s no worse than traditional media. I used to be very down on Reid, but actually he’s done a pretty good job under very trying circumstances. The 1975 rule reduced the cloture vote to 60 in exchange for the silent filibuster. I want to change it, but it’s not the rule now.

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Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…

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