The Ed Show | November 30, 2012
>>> senate republicans , what have they done? they have repeatedly abused the filibuster to block common sense legislation that most americans , the majority of americans have wanted. for example, senate republicans filibustered the 9/11 health care act. it would have provided over $7 billion in health care funds to 9/11 first responders. a watered-down version of the bill eventually passed. republicans hid behind the first responders for years. they used these heroic americans to start a war of choice in iraq. then when they got sick from hazardous working conditions, senate republicans used the filibuster to deny them the proper funds they need. republicans also filibustered the veterans jobs act. it would have provided $1 billion to help create over 20,000 jobs for veterans returning home from war. these brave americans , while they were sent to iraq and afghanistan and put their lives on the line every day to serve our country, then when they came home they needed help. republicans used the filibuster to say, no way. can't do it. and republicans filibustered the bring jobs home act. the thing about outsourcing, the act would have created a 20% tax break for moving jobs back to the united states . and it would have penalized companies for shipping jobs overseas. republicans filibustered legislation that would have created jobs and helped the middle class . this one even included a tax break . they still said no. remember, these are just three of 386 filibusters that the republicans have used to stop the obama agenda dead in its tracks. time and time again, republicans abuse this rule to hurt america's progress. senate democrats basically are sick of it and they want to change this filibuster rule. harry reid wants the following changes. senators can't filibuster a debate. he wants a shorter time to break a filibuster. and he wants senators to speak out about their filibuster in public. these are not drastic changes. this isn't going to roll the senate over. the filibuster would still be a tool. but house speaker john boehner is now involved. he issued this threat. any bill that reaches a republican-led house based on senate democrats ' heavy-handed power play would be dead on arrival . isn't it amazing how they get along? this proves that boehner's do-nothing congress isn't concerned about moving the country forward. he will hold -- he will hold the american people hostage in a legislative process to just block everything he possibly can. to stop president obama 's agenda, is that what america wants? i don't think so. let's bring in john nichols , washington correspondent. good to have you with us tonight. there seems to be more and more conversation about this. let me play devil's advocate. why do this? why not let the republicans continue to filibuster and let them politically hang themselves in the midterms? why do the democrats want to do this?
>> well if the theory was that you could let them hang themselves, then they would have already hung themselves many times over. the filibuster is not front-page news. it's a procedure within the senate . the republicans have abused it now ever since democrats took control of the senate . the concern here is not to get rid of the filibuster. that's the important thing to understand. what harry reid and some of the younger senators are proposing is to restore the filibuster. it's a very simple proposal. they it want to bring back the filibuster as it existed in mr. smith goes to washington . they want it it to be like jimmy stewart where they had to go to the floor and stand on your principl principles. now, unfortunately, the filibuster is used secretly behind closed doors to stop debate to prevent us from even having a vote. that has nothing to do with what americans understand as a filibuster and there's no reason to allow the abuses to continue.
>> well, it means that if they were to filibuster, they have to go to the floor and do as you say, mr. smith goes to washington , and talk endlessly until some conclusion. what do the changes mean for democratic bills, do you think?
>> it could mean a lot. many of the bills that democrats have proposed have majority support. they can win in the senate . the problem is they can't get to the 60 votes that would required to break a filibuster or to force a vote. and so all that's being proposed here is to say, look, if you want to do a filibuster, you have to be public about it, you have to go to the floor, you have to speak openly about why you don't want to vote to occur. if you can convince a majority of senators to block it, you win. it's just majority rules .
>> what do you make of john boehner 's threat of anything that comes to his side on arrival? you think this is going to affect anybody's decision-making process now when they are talking about doing this in the senate ?
>> i certainly hope not. john boehner ought to worry about his own chamber. we're supposed to have separation of powers . the house does its rules and the senate does theirs. he ought to keep his nose where it belongs. secondly, he's talking about punishing the american people because of a rule change in the senate that would occur after the fiscal cliff deadline. the senate will organize itself at the start of the new year. so boehner's making threats that really have very, very little to do with reality. unfortunately, that seems like a lot of his approaches to this whole fiscal cliff debate.
>> john nichols , great to have you with us.
>>> there's a lot more coming up in the next half hour of "the ed show." stay with us.
>>> we are a country of un unlimited opportunity. we want the world's best and brightest to come here.
>> house republicans pass an immigration