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13 things that would have passed the last Senate if there were no filibuster
The filibuster in recent years has allowed the Republican minority to block major Democratic proposals by requiring 60 votes to end debate. Here are 13 bills or nominations that received more than 50 votes — a majority — but failed to overcome the 60-vote filibuster.
Storified by Digital First Media · Sat, Nov 10 2012 20:27:40
The filibuster in recent years has allowed the Senate minority to block routine legislation by requiring 60 votes to end debate. Here are 13 significant bills or nominations that received more than 50 votes — a majority — but failed to overcome the 60-vote filibuster.
That does not mean these bills would have all become law. They would still have had to pass the House and be signed by the president. However, passing the upper chamber would have put more pressure on the House to act in some cases.
Also, when regular votes in the Senate are 50-50, the vice president votes to break the tie.
Prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases
After climate change legislation stalled in Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency declared it would use existing air pollution regulations to address greenhouse gas emissions. This bill
would have prevented the EPA from doing so
. If it were subjected to a majority vote and tied at 50-50, however, Vice President Joe Biden would have been allowed to vote and he presumably would have voted against it.
Failed: 50-50, April 6, 2011, Senate Roll Call No. 54, 112nd Congress, 1st Session
Confirm Goodwin Liu as a U.S. Circuit Court Judge
Goodwin Liu, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was nominated for an appeals court by President Obama. But
Republicans objected to his harsh criticism
of justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts during their confirmations.
Failed: 52-43, 1 Present, 4 Not Voting, May 19, 2011, Senate Roll Call No. 74, 112nd Congress, 1st Session
End tax breaks for oil companies
This bill would have
ended certain tax breaks
for large oil companies.
Failed: 52-48, May 17, 2011, Senate Roll Call No. 72, 112nd Congress, 1st Session
President Obama’s 2011 jobs proposal
In an effort to boost the economy in 2011, President Obama proposed a package of measures that would spend money on infrastructure and help state and local governments hire more teachers and police officers, among other things.
The package failed
, as did several of its components when brought up separately.
Failed: 50-49, 1 Not Voting, Oct. 11, 2011, Senate Roll Call No. 160, 112nd Congress, 1st Session
Hire more teachers and police officers
President Obama proposed giving
$30 billion in grants
to state and local governments for hiring (or keeping) school teachers and $5 billion for more police officers and emergency personnel as part of a broad jobs package.
Failed: 50-50, Oct. 20, 2011, Senate Roll Call No. 177, 112nd Congress, 1st Session
Spend $60 billion improving transportation infrastructure
$60 billion improving transportation infrastructure such as highways. The bill, which was part of a broad jobs package, also would have created a national infrastructure bank.
Failed: 51-49, Nov. 3, 2011, Senate Roll Call No. 195, 112nd Congress, 1st Session
Approve Richard Cordray as head of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection
When President Obama couldn’t get Elizabeth Warren through the Senate to head the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray instead. After Republicans filibustered Cordray, Obama named him
through a recess appointment
that doesn’t last as long as a Senate-approved appointment.
Failed: 53-45, Dec. 8, 2011, Senate Roll Call No. 223, 112nd Congress, 1st Session
Overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service
The U.S. Postal Service has faced mounting financial troubles because of increased use of the Internet. This bill
would have allowed
it to restructure retirement accounts to recoup $11 billion and use some of that money to encourage 100,000 postal workers to retire.
Failed: 51-46, 3 Not Voting, Senate Roll Call No. 60, 112nd Congress, 2nd Session, March 27, 2012
Repeal tax breaks for oil companies
This bill would
repeal some tax breaks
for large oil companies and use the money generated to pay for the extension of renewable energy tax credits and incentives.
Failed: 51-47, 2 Not Voting, Senate Roll Call No. 63, 112nd Congress, 2nd Session, March 29, 2012
Raise tax rates on millionaires
This bill would have
raised tax rates on taxpayers
earning more than $1 million.
Failed: 51-45, 4 Not Voting, Senate Roll Call No. 65, 112nd Congress, 2nd Session, April 23, 2012
Allow victims of gender discrimination to sue for punitive damages
People who discover that their employers have not paid them fairly because of gender discrimination can currently receive back pay if they win a civil lawsuit. This bill
would have expanded that
to allow them to sue for punitive damages as well.
Failed: 52-47, 1 Not Voting, Senate Roll Call No. 115, 112nd Congress, 2nd Session, June 5, 2012
Requiring more disclosure of election spending
End tax deduction for moving jobs overseas
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich., pictured above)
proposed a bill to end a provision in tax law
that allows companies to deduct the cost of moving jobs overseas as a business expense. The bill would have given an additional tax credit for moving jobs back to the U.S.
2 Not Voting, Senate Roll Call No. 181, 112nd Congress, 2nd Session, July 19, 2012