Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released a statement threatening retaliation against Senate Democrats if they move forward with plans to reform the filibuster:
Senate Democrats’ attempt to break Senate rules in order to change Senate rules is clearly designed to marginalize Senate Republicans and their constituents while greasing the skids for controversial partisan measures. I question the wisdom of this maneuver, especially at a time when cooperation on Capitol Hill is critical, and fully support Leader McConnell’s efforts to protect minority rights, which are an essential part of our constitutional tradition. Any bill that reaches a Republican-led House based on Senate Democrats’ heavy-handed power play would be dead on arrival.
This sounds tough, but the reality is that Boehner’s threat is completely meaningless. Any bill that does not enjoy Senate Republicans’ support will already be voted down by those Republicans’ counterparts in the House, so Boehner is doing nothing more than promising to block bills that he was already going to block in the first place.
The one thing Boehner cannot stop, however, is confirmations, which belong to the Senate and the Senate alone. This is why the most important thing the Senate can do to reform the filibuster is to adopt President Obama’s proposal to ensure all nominees enjoy an swift up or down vote regardless of whether the minority wants to obstruct them.