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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

No Ganging Up On Health Reform

In a period of great conflict and confusion over health reform, one of the most promising signs is the general refusal of Senate “centrist” Democrats to fish into a particularly devious Republican gambit: an effort by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) to recreate the bipartisan Gang of 14 that notoriously headed off the “nuclear option” of a permanent elimination of judicial filibusters in 2005.
According to Politico‘s Carrie Budoff Brown and Chris Frates, Graham’s been targeting former Democratic members of the Gang of 14 to suggest they stop the use of reconciliation for helath reform and force a start-over based on a smaller bill.
But so far “centrist” Democrats aren’t buying it, and in fact, are making something of a mockery of Graham’s effort to treat the use of reconciliation for an eleven-page set of “fix” amendments to bills already passed by both Houses to the 2005 GOP threat to kill judicial filibusters forever. Check out this embedded quote from Gang of 14 member Ben Nelson:

The Gang of 14 averted a plan in 2005 by Republican Senate leaders to abolish the filibuster for judicial nominees. The group, which included 10 members still serving in the Senate, agreed that nominees should be filibustered only in “extraordinary circumstances.” Otherwise, they should receive an up-or-down vote.
Nelson said the two situations are not the same.
“It is different to say judges get up-or-down votes except in extraordinary circumstances,” Nelson said. “The Gang of 14 was directed at getting up-or-down votes. This is aimed at stopping an up-or-down vote.”


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