A Filibuster-Proof Majority?

Al Franken’s recent win of a Minnesota Senate seat gives the Democrats a 60-seat majority in the Senate, enough to shoot down any Republican filibuster which might otherwise prevent bills being passed.  Theoretically, with a Democratic House and White House, this means that one party government can do anything it likes.

Whether that will work in practice remains (thankfully) slightly less certain.  The Washington Post contends:

[Franken’s win] does not mean that Democrats have a filibuster-proof ticket to passing whatever they want. Though technically Democrats have now reached the magic number of 60 senators, it’s worth remembering that for practical purposes, the majority may have just 58. Edward Kennedy is still receiving cancer treatments in Massachusetts, and Robert Byrd is now home from the hospital but with no timeframe for returning to the Senate…

Second, even if Democrats do have 60 votes, there’s no guarantee of unanimity, as the ongoing intraparty disputes over health care illustrate…

Hopefully this analysis, which I suspect is rather too optimistic, will prove correct.  Government is typically awful, and government which doesn’t have political squabbles to overcome can be awful at a much faster rate.

Read more here.

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