Daily Archives: July 18, 2013

Filibuster rule change avoided for now

Good for the U.S. Senate for reaching a tentative agreement Tuesday that avoids changing Senate filibuster rules. Democrats have been upset by how much Republicans have abused the filibuster, but lawmakers were correctly concerned about changing Senate tradition and limiting the legislative options of the minority party. Will the agreement last? Lawmakers agreed in January to change some filibuster rules, but that didn’t stop the filibustering. In fact, a move earlier this year by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., to block a vote on a budget resolution was a last straw for Democratic leaders. “It is things like that that will cause the Senate to have to reassess all the rules, because right now they accomplish so little,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said at the time. On the first test vote of the new agreement, 17 Republicans (but not Moran or Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.) joined with Democrats in preventing a filibuster of Richard Cordray, who was nominated by President Obama two years ago to lead the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau.

12,000 suspended voters insignificant?

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was remarkably cavalier about 12,000 Kansans (including about 2,400 in Sedgwick County) who registered to vote but were put “in suspense” because they may not have provided proof of citizenship. “I don’t think it’s a major problem,” Kobach said. “This is a pretty tiny percentage of 1.8 million voters. It’s a small number of people.” But when Kobach sold the Legislature on enacting new voting laws, he treated voter fraud as an epidemic, even though it is minuscule in comparison. According to records before Kobach took office in 2011, there had been only seven cases of alleged fraud referred to local, state or federal authorities in five years, and only one of those cases was prosecuted.