Senate, Australian Senate, Medicare discussed on Vox's The Weeds

Vox's The Weeds
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A lesson Democrats have needed. To learn I think you know when we talk about lessons learned here I think it's useful to sort of put a pin in a distinction here because one thing about the Senate is it's unusual rules of parliamentary procedure and another thing about the Senate is unusual apportionment and these are distinct attributes of the United States Senate right around the world. Typically, a legislature operates under a one person one vote world I I don't WanNa say it's unheard of add to have a disproportionate upper house of legislature. But another thing you see in comparative studies that normally. Countries that have a non-proportionate. Countries like Australia countries like Switzerland, the upper house's less powerful than the lower house. But in America, the Senate is more powerful than the house because of the advisor could set will s- right if you had to pick only one body to control, you would want the Senate and the Senate is also more disproportionate than the Australian Senate or the German Africa Scott Bundesrat I think. So it's it's a very unusual. In terms of its apportionment and power. Then separately, it has this a goofball at procedural dorms that you were talking about with the filibuster and I think it's I think it's useful in this regard to take a trip down down memory lane you always like to talk about the Medicare vote count which was in an era of strong filibusters but the the Johnson Administration you know they just in their internal documents. They were counting to fifty right like the view you I'm going to tell the story. It is my favorite story. Yeah. So it's not a lynching bell. So yeah. So this is actually and I I WANNA give I WANNA give credit here's David. Berkman a political scientists at Berkeley who actually turned me found this document sent it to me way back in my Washington Post days, but there is this amazing memo that Mike Mattos, who is the Senate liaisons of the person who runs Senate relations for? President. Lyndon Johnson. So Lyndon Johnson like knows the Senate pretty well gets good. GotTa run it from Mike Manado sends on his boss Lyndon Johnson a note after the nineteen, sixty four elections and he says that if all the senators who won and lost our president accounted for in the new Senate, then Medicare will pass fifty five to forty five. So they are not even they do not even think that they need to plan for the possibility of a filibuster as you sort of gestured to their matt in this period. The only thing that gets routinely filibustered our civil rights laws, I? mean. This is why a lot of people call the filibuster Jim Crow relic true filibuster was invented around Jim Crow. But what is true is at the usage, the filibuster to impose a supermajority requirement on bills passing forward. So of what what Adam Gentlemen would. Would argue in in his book which is coming out soon, I'm called kill switch and his very good hugh-paul sort of like the rule twenty, two filibuster that was pioneered by the southern block in the in the Mid Twentieth Century but he's really only used civil rights bills and then later got picked up as party polarization accelerated by by parties. But Medicare they didn't think Medicare, would get filibustered I mean and back then you would need a two-thirds two thirds vote to break a filibuster so they. Can You? Can you imagine Medicare, it's wild. It's a totally wild. It's a totally wild thing to really sit in and try to understand how differently American politics worked. You know just a couple of decades ago and then something that that I really think people should appreciate If they want to understand you know similar what you're talking about about Joe Biden's mentality right and his You know his thinking Democrats thinking about this is one of the very first. Stories that I covered in DC had to do with the Medicare reform that happened during George W. Bush's administration and this was a very convoluted legislative saga. But the upshot of it was was that one version of Medicare prescription drug benefit passed the house and another version passed the Senate the one that passed the senate had big bipartisan majority behind it. You know classic Senate bipartisanship filibuster leading to compromise whatever, and then they went to a conference committee which. You may remember from the schoolhouse rock video and how a bill becomes a law, but actually has not been used in a long time So it's a conference committee and everybody is sort of pre theoretical understanding going into it was that the conference committee process was going to have to be bipartisan because the Senate bill was bipartisan and House Concert right-wing Congressional people didn't like this whole idea anyway So the final legislation that emerged was. Expected to look more like the Senate bill, the bipartisan belt in the house belt but it didn't he instead the conference committee came out with something that was quite close to the Republicans bill in the House and Max Baucus Zell Miller though defected and they supported this in conference committee and it wound up coming to the floor of the Senate and it passed there was something like fifty four votes in some people thought that Democrats should Philip. Right, 'cause they didn't have sixty votes for There were calls for Filibuster we didn't have twitter at the time, but if twitter had existed, left-wing twitter would have been talking about this but Democrats didn't filibuster it and what they said at the time was like, well, you can't filibuster conference report and You I was in the office and you know so that's interesting. It's not true though that like you can't Filibuster a conference committee report, there's a rule that says that it was just the. Over time we were no longer in that like nineteen sixty understanding of the Senate rules but as of two thousand and four, which was not that long ago right the understanding was you couldn't do a filibuster that way and that bog as the story of the store the Senate in recent decades is simply mistaking word can't for the word didn't exactly. And so the critical thing I think to understand about, Joe? Biden and a lot of democratic senators is that they were they in two thousand four you know what I mean like it. It feels like a lifetime ago if you're young person like two thousand four with some very long time ago. But just in political terms, it seems like a whole other. But. So many of our people in politics still come from that era right and to a lot of them that was a better era and like it's not that far gone in the past and so their instinct when anything happens like in two thousand, seven Democrats have the majority in the House and the Senate, and their idea is that they are going to pass a bunch of popular bills and either Bush will have to sign them or have to veto them and look bad. But Senate, Republicans just filibuster absolutely everything and so Democrats were like not happy about that. But there thought at the time was like we need to go back. We need to go back to the old ways and what you're saying is that it's only now because of the hardball really around A. The Supreme Court seeds that Senate Democrats are giving up on the idea of of going back to a set of norms that you know were abandoned. Really, quite recently, and it Senate Democrats themselves I mean if you if you ask a Democrat, like what happened in the judicial wars, they will say that this garland thing was the most outrageous thing. They ever saw Republicans. You know they talk about Bork I think pretty implausibly but less implausibly they say that shortly after that Medicare prescription drug incident I was talking about Democrats started filibustering some of George W Bush's circuit court appointees and traditionally. Filibuster used for that right and Democrats will say, will the reason they started doing? That is Republicans changed the Blue Slip, world which sort of let home state senators object to be. An eight at the time. This was seen as a real. Norm violation by by Democrats what caused mark touching it to coin the phrase constitutional hard ball because everybody agreed that like you were allowed to do that it just you know was one of those things that just wasn't done but then Democrats started doing it but they had a even as Democrats did that they sort of their goal was to step back from from the brink and and now you're saying that they're ready to give up on that. Yeah. Let's take a break and then I wanna come back and talk about the very particular dynamics of Supreme Court nominations in this. In, preparation for the US elections facebook has taken critical steps to secure their platforms and provided transparency. They've more than tripled their safety and security teams to thirty five thousand people implemented five-step added verification and launched a new voting information center. Learn more about how facebook is preparing at FBI DOT com slash about slash elections that's F. B. 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