Congratulations to the record-breaking Senate GOP — Most Obstructionist Ever
The Carpet Bagger Report
December 19, 2007

For quite a while, many of us have wondered whether Republican officials in Washington have any apparent talents at all. Governing is clearly not their strong suit, but are they completely without skills?

Absolutely not. The 49-member Senate Republican minority has done something no Senate minority in American history has ever done: they've filibustered more bills than any Congress ever has — and they broke the record with a full year to spare.

The latest came this morning, when the Senate GOP filibustered an omnibus budget bill, the 62nd Republican filibuster since the 110th Congress began in January.

"In just one session, a minority in Congress has prevented a mind-blowing 62 pieces of legislation from going to the floor for an up or down vote,' said Campaign for America's Future co-director Roger Hickey. "Our report shows how over and over again, the uncompromising minority has thwarted the will of majorities in Congress and of the American people, holding the Senate floor hostage to a radical right-wing agenda." […]

Eric Lotke, Campaign for America's Future research director and lead author of the new report, calls the obstruction a "deliberate strategy." He observes that the congressional Republicans block legislation, then blame the Democrats for getting nothing done. "It's like mugging the postman and then complaining that the mail isn't delivered on time."

Brian Young, noting the historic quality of the achievement, added, "Only a group with a near-pathological disregard for the actual health of our democracy, only a group with a single-minded focus on the cynical political strategies of their consultants, only a group with an imperious disdain for the people of the country could've pulled off such a feat."

Quite right. This was a record that wasn't meant to be broken. The "Roadblock Republican" label is not meant as a compliment.

Back in April, Trent Lott conceded publicly, "The strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail … and so far it's working for us."

Bill Scher reminds us that it may be working for the GOP, but it's failing for everyone else.

What have conservatives obstructed this year? Here's just a partial list:

  • Ending the disastrous occupation of Iraq.
  • Providing health insurance to millions more kids.
  • Empowering Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices.
  • Taking away handouts to Big Oil so we can invest in renewable energy.
  • Repealing the effective ban on embryonic stem cell research.
  • Investing more in health research.
  • Making it easier for workers to join unions.
  • Investing more in fighting poverty and training workers.

Is obstructing all of that popular legislation "working" for Republicans?

If Congress' approval rating is any indication, the answer is no.

But it's the speed with which the Republicans broke the record that really amazes me. The previous record took two years to accomplish; these guys broke the record in half the time. That's like breaking the single-season home-run record before the All-Star break.

And by the way, just for good measure, let's answer the trivia question. When was the previous record set? That would be the 107th Congress — the last time Republicans were in the minority.

It took a while, but we've finally found what the minority party is good at. Congratulations, Republicans, for undermining the legislative process, the will of the people, and a much-needed policy agenda to a literally historic degree.

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