Friday, October 31, 2008

The Hoops to Pass a Bill

Earlier today, I suggested that Democrats in the US Senate go nuclear and end the filibuster. Not only do I suggest it, but I'll go so far as saying that the death of the filibuster is inevitable, sooner or later. To better understand why, let's look at how hard it is to pass a bill through federal government. (I'm lifting most of this off a comment I made to the original post, but it's so important to stress that I'm making this its own post.)

Here's the current hoops bills have to go through to pass:

In the House:

The bill must be filed, with co-sponsors. It usually takes many co-sponsors to get a bill to pass.

The bill must get through committee; the vast majority of bills never do.

The bill then has to get through the entire House.

The Senate:

A bill must be filed; co-sponsored. It usually takes many co-sponsors to get a bill to gain steam.

The bill must get through committee; the vast majority of bills never do.

Then it must get a filibuster proof majority (with the exception of the budget).

Then it must pass.

But we're not done yet!

House and Senate:

Now the two similar bills must go through and pass conference committees. This in and of itself can be a very difficult process, because there's often very different versions of these bills, with people wanting very different results. Let's assume it passes conference committee.

Now the unified bill must be passed through the House and Senate again - and these bills are often radically different than the original bills passed, so again, this is no easy process.

Now, we're *still* not done. The bill must survive the veto pen. If it does not, to pass the bill there must be a veto-proof majority (2/3rds, I believe).

And we're STILL not done. Now that the bill is law, it must pass constitutional muster. If the bill is radically far out there, it very well may not.

I could go on.

So under normal and even no-where-near normal circumstances, it's very hard to pass bills. It's nearly impossible to pass bills that would be anethema to the American people.

Do we really need a filibuster, with all those other safety measures? NO!

  • If a party has all a firm majority in both houses of the legislature and
  • If the same party has the presidency and
  • If there's complete party unison to one ideological extreme and
  • If all of that leads to bills that are against the will of the people,
  • Then we're going to see one angry mob at election booths across the country within short order.
I am not worried.


Anonymous said...

Your party is in shambles locally. Care to comment? Sal, Bobby DeLeo, John R, Wilkerson, Patty M, Mumbles, etc., etc., etc. As Batman once said, "This town sure could use an enema." FBI, State Ethics, Inspector General, Coakley, etc., etc., etc.

Time to clean house?

Anonymous said...

How come supporters of the gay and lesbian issues that you support are not objectively looked at for the thieves and crooks that they realy are?

What say you about Sal et al.?

Anonymous said...

Why the special handling of Sal? Isn't he as ethically offensive as Finneran et al? You seemed to have a bit of fun with the Senator from Alaska? Different rules for different people. Sounds like a Mass Democrat to me. Actually it sounds like the Governor. One day he's endorsing Di and the next day he is crapping on Di. What a pal.

Anonymous said...

Who wins, Rogers or DeLeo? Who loses? The people that play by the rules. Which of the dirty Dems at the statehouse got the surprise subpeona? Guesses? My guess is Di will roll and many of your pals are nervious. How about that Republican Senator from Alaska? What a creep.

Anonymous said...

The quote is from today's Globe, a liberal rag if there ever was one.

"Beacon Hill is once again awash in charges of political corruption, cronyism, and influence peddling, a spate of scandals that seasoned observers describe as perhaps the worst in three decades."

They are your pals not mine. Explain yourself!!

Anonymous said...

These are your pals. What say you?

Already reeling from Sen. Dianne Wilkerson’s bribery scandal, the State House received another legal jolt with the news that a lawmaker has received a subpoena as part of a probe into alleged illegal lobbying payments connected to a ticket-scalping bill, the Herald has learned.

A law enforcement source confirmed last night that an unidentified state lawmaker has been issued a subpoena in connection with a grand jury investigation into Richard Vitale, an accountant and close friend of Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi. Sources said neither DiMasi nor House Ways and Means Chairman Robert A. DeLeo received the subpoena.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's more important to get the legislators to vote only one bill(idea) at a time. The earmark additions(pork) are what people are disgusted about. The 50 million addition to help out rum manufacturers which was added to the recent Wall St bailout is what is wrong.

Anonymous said...

DiMasi refuses to provide records
House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi is refusing to comply with a demand for records from the state Ethics Commission in its conflict-of-interest investigation, leading to a secretive legal showdown that has yet to be resolved, according to officials familiar with the matter.

Anonymous said...

Why so quiet?

Home / News / Local / Mass.
DiMasi refuses to provide records
Ethics panel files motion to force his compliance

DiMasi is NO better than Lady Di!!!

Anonymous said...

We still need the filibuster because in amongst all the thieves and scofflaws that have been elected there might be one lone honest politican and their voice should be heard. Remember ABSCAM, Wilkerson, potentially Dimasi, if they're all in on it one way or another, I want one honest voice to have the opportunity to speak up. Mr Smith goes to Washingtom was a semi-documentary.

Ryan said...

Wilkerson and Sal have nothing to do with the filibuster. And I'm not willing to let the 1 bad bill die if it means 500 good ones will go down with it. If the bad bill passes, it will mean the party that passed it will face almost certain retribution from the people of this country can fully blame that party on it. That can happen if and only if we make the Capitol Hill process more transparent and simple. Otherwise, people as well as parties can usually avoid the blame of a bad bill.

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