Some interesting remarks from Vice President Joe Biden:
VP Joe Biden on Monday accused Senate GOPers of holding their top members’ votes hostage in exchange for ranking committee posts, assailing the GOP as sitting “on the sidelines” while the economy nearly collapsed.
“I know at least 7 [GOP] senators, who I will not name, but were made to make a commitment under threat of losing their chairmanships, if they did not support the leadership on every procedural vote,” Biden said at a fundraiser Monday night.
“Every single thing we did, from the important to the not so important, required for the first time in modern American history, majority votes required 60 votes. All the sudden a majority became 60 instead of 50,” the VP added, according to a pool report of the event.
I have no idea whether or not this is true (the RNC’s communications director seems to have issues a not-quite-denial) but what I find striking about it is what a sensible notion it would be for a political party to demand that its members support the party leadership on procedural votes. Had the Democratic caucus adopted such a rule, the White House, the leadership, and the members themselves would have been spared an awful lot of headaches and the country would be in much better shape. After all, every member of the caucus puts some value on his or her ability to secure chairmanships of committees and subcommittees, so such a rule could very plausibly have swiftly led to the creation of a norm against filibustering your own party’s initiatives. Vote “no” on final passage if you like, but vote with the leadership on process.