FILIBUSTER FOLLOWUP….I’m confused about what’s actually going on here, but here’s a followup to my previous post about forcing Republicans to engage in a real filibuster on the Iraq war.
First, the background: The Reed-Levin amendment, currently before the Senate, would force a drawdown of troops in Iraq. Republicans have signaled their intent to filibuster the amendment, which means it needs 60 votes to pass. As usual with these things, they don’t need to actually stand up on the floor of the senate and talk for hours on end. They just have to declare a filibuster and the word is taken for the deed.
And now, the news: A couple of hours ago Harry Reid announced that unless Republicans withdraw their filibuster he will force an all-night session on Tuesday, followed by a vote on Wednesday. During the all-night session Democrats will (presumably) continue debating and will force Republicans to stay in the chamber via quorum calls. Result: a bunch of sleepy senators.
Like I said, I’m not quite sure what’s going on here. Reid isn’t forcing Republicans to engage in a genuine filibuster. In fact, it’s Democrats who are going to be doing the talking. And when it’s all over on Wednesday, he’ll hold a vote and…..what? Probably he’ll get about 55 votes for Reed-Levin and the amendment will fail.
So there’s some political theater here, which might or might not work, but as far as I can tell Reid isn’t forcing a filibuster. More here from Bob Geiger. If things become clearer later, I’ll add an update.