Thursday, October 15, 2009

The unspoken assumption on health care debate

As David Waldman at Congress Matters reminds us, in a full Senate, Republicans must have 41 votes to sustain a filibuster, not 40. There are only 40 Republican Senators--which, in some parallel universe where the Senate majority leader and the President (both Democrats) enforced party unity, would mean Senate Republicans could never prevent the cloture vote that would end a filibuster.

Therefore--and it's a small but not-inconsequential point--any talk abut a Republican filibuster on health care reform begins by assuming as a given that there will be Democratic defections on the cloture vote.

As Kos writes this wrote yesterday morning:
Bill Frist never had 60 votes. Bill Frist never cared. Republicans ran the Senate as if they owned the place, even when enjoying razor-thin majorities.

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