The Tyranny of the Senate Minority, Again
The final cloture vote on the gun bill in the Senate is supposed to happen late afternoon today. This will be the vote to end debate and move to final passage. This vote requires 60 under the rules, while final passage would need just 51.
There will be nine amendments under agreement, some from the Democrats and some from the Republicans. And...each of those will need 60 votes.
Things don't look great. From the Politico story:
At this point, only four Senate Republicans — Toomey, Collins, and Sens. Mark Kirk of Illiniois (Ill.) and John McCain of Arizona (Ariz.) — are backing the Manchin-Toomey plan, or have signaled they may may do so.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is considered a swing vote because she was among the 16 Republicans who last week crossed the aisle and voted to begin debate on the gun bill.
Another one of those 16, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), said late Tuesday he will oppose the measure. Heller’s opposition could prove decisive, as McConnell has a solid 40 votes against Manchin-Toomey, according to public whip counts. One more vote would put McConnell over the top.
First of all, this is no way to run a legislature. Remember, the bill already got 60 votes once. Now all the amendments have to get 60. Then the final bill has to get 60 again. Then, after all that, we get to see if it can "pass." It's really, really hard to get people to focus on process questions. I guess most people just reflexively figure the rules are the rules and there must be reasons for them. Well, there are reasons for these rules, all right, but they're terrible, reactionary, insupportable. I hope that if this measure does fail to get 60 this afternoon, the millions who want Congress to act on guns will awaken to this absurdity.
Second, if it does fail, we could be looking at a pretty good issue for the Democrats in 2014. It could be the first election where more people go to the polls motivated by the gun issue who are for restrictions. McConnell may win this vote, but he and his pal LaPierre are inadvertently building a movement--on the other side.