Last year, the Roadblock Republicans of the 110th Congress set the all-time filibuster record. Forcing 104 cloture votes by October 2008, the Senate's GOP minority easily eclipsed the old mark of 61 filibusters. And now, fresh on the heels of "elated" and "celebrating" House Republicans' refusal to provide a single vote in support of President Obama's $825 economic recovery package, Senate Republicans are now suggesting they will filibuster the stimulus bill.
That's the word from ThinkProgress, which Friday afternoon offered a round up of the latest in Republican obstructionism. While Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions offered a none-too-thinly veiled threat of a GOP filibuster ("I think its going to take 60 votes to pass the bill"), Arizona's John Kyl said he would explore "whatever parliamentary possibilities are in front of us." Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) promised to join the effort, announcing, "I would be a part of it." And on Thursday, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told Robert Siegel on NPR that a filibuster of the Obama package passed by the House could be in the cards:
SIEGEL: By the way, Senator, we always just assume that anything in the Senate requires 60 votes because there will be a filibuster threat. Is that right? Does this bill need 60 votes to pass?
SIEGAL: It does?
The revelations are just the latest signs that Senate Republicans will violate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's pledge three weeks ago "I don't think this measure's going to have any problem getting over 60 votes." Referring to almost $300 billion in tax cuts already incorporated by the Obama administration, McConnell said:
"It could well have broad Republican appeal and make it much more likely that the measure passes with broad bipartisan support, which is what the new president would like and what we would like."
As it turns out, not so much. Getting in line with their obstructionist House brethren, Senate Republicans are apparently once again preparing to return the filibuster. That would be the same Senators who until their crushing defeat in the November 2006 mid-terms routinely demanded their judicial nominees get an "up or down vote."
(This piece is crossposted at Perrspectives.)