Why DeWine Is Wrong

Speaking at the press conference yesterday, Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) argued that the agreement allowed him to change his mind at any time if he didn’t like how the filibuster was being used. DeWine said:

[I]f an individual senator believes in the future that a filibuster is taking place under something that’s not extraordinary circumstances, we of course reserve the right to do what we could have done tomorrow which is to cast a yes vote for the constitutional option.

But that’s not what the agreement says. Section IIB provides: “In light of the spirit and continuing commitments made in this agreement, we commit to oppose the rules changes in the 109th Congress.” Section IIA makes clear that senators maintain their commitment to the agreement as long as they only filibuster in “extraordinary circumstances,” a determination to be based on their “own discretion and judgment.”

So DeWine can’t go nuclear simply because *he* decides the filibuster is being used in something other than “extraordinary circumstances.” Rather, based on the language of the agreement, the deal would only dissolve if senators filibuster without making a good faith determination — based on their “own discretion and judgment,” not DeWine’s discretion and judgment — that there were extraordinary circumstances.