The Cycle | November 30, 2012
>>> turning to the other big legislative talker today, filibuster reform, harry reid 's effort to change the tactic that's blamed for much of the gridlock in congress. and harry reid 's efforts to change it got a boost yesterday with the backing of president obama . the white house released a statement of support, quote, the president has said many times that the american people are demanding action. they want to see progress and not partisan delay games. and while reid now has the president's support, he's still lobbying to get his own party ducks in the row as there are democrat being senators that remain unconvinced, not to mention of course the fierce opposition by the gop. speaker of the house john boehner is on the record saying the move is designed to marginalize republicans. in the guest spot today is our recent content specialist on the ways and means of congress. jimmy williams . thanks for being with us.
>> happy friday.
>> so our friend steve kornacki is not here, but he has strong feelingses on the shove philly filibuster reform. he thinks the changes won't make a difference.
>> it's called the motion to row. it means that a bill could only be filibustered once it's being debated on the floor. even if adopted, it will still take 60 votes to pass anything in the senate .
>> and steve also says that requiring senators to hold the floor like the old fashioned stewart goes to congress, mr. smith goes to congress, wouldn't also an major advance because ultimately republicans might like to showcase their obstructionism on fox news and become a champion of the right. what do you make of the reforms?
>> well, i mean, first of all, we don't know what it's going to be yet. there's a lot of rumors swirling around in the building behind me right now. but what we think we do know is that reid whether mon we get back in january and he'll move reforms by a simple majority vote. and he will do that by overruling the parliamentary. so the vice president of the united states will probably be in the chair and the partliment taker will make a ruling and then the vice president will overrule his own parliamentarian parliamentarian. and they will object to that and the objection will be a 51 vote majority. and if they do that, that's the change to the senate rules . basically for all intents and purposes, it will say the senate has to go old school, has to go like it used to be, where senators like strong thurman got up on the senate floor and read cookbooks and phone books to protest civil rights legislation back in the 1960s . and back then, you actually had to do that. you had to stand up on the floor and talk. and you couldn't sit down. the rules of state, once you sit down, you lose the floor. so that's one of the things he'll move and he probably should move it. one of the things that steve talked about, though, is this issue of the motion to proceed. in america, they're like what the hell is that. noor do nor does it matter to most americans. but something to understand quickly, the motion to proceed is already not filibusterable. that's not a word, i just made that up.
>> i like it, though.
>> a good word. you can't spell it, nor can i. but the bottom line is in morning business, which is the first two hours much the senate 's businessnot necessarily in the morning, the motion to proceed is not filibusterable. but they can filibuster once you get on the bill. so just so you know, what reid will move would not change the senate radically. the senate moved to filibuster reform in '67, '69, '79. the last time we changed the rules because under the republican led senate in 1986 so there were only 30 hours of post closure debate. republicans practice that move, not the democrats.
>> so talking about filibuster reform and reforming the rules of the senate is coming up now because nothing gets done in the senate . do you think one of the reasons why nothing gets done in the senate is because the culture of the house has moved into the senate with more and more former members of the house moving in to the upper chamber and bringing that sort of, oh, i don't know, cantankerous nature?
>> a good number are former house members. so that does give you sort of the mentality of majority or tyrannical rule which is the way the house works. always has. the senate is a different body. but when you put a bunch of old house members in to the senate , they keep thinking like house members. here's the problem with the senate . i'll be completely honest and i will catch a lot of hell for this. take cameras out of the senate chamber and members won't have a reason to sit down there and grand stand and they will make deals. it that's one way you could actually stop this slow moving senate , if you will.
>> speaking of cameras, that split shot of john and jimmy was precious.
>> battle of the shirts .
>> i think i win.
>> we are the best dressed show on cable television .
>> we are both fabulous.
>> jimmy williams , thank you much.
>>> up next, the difference between necked and naked. i can't