The Ed Show | March 14, 2013
>>> tonight. we needed serious filibuster reform long before the 113th congress was sworn in. now republican obstruction is even worse. and the confirmation process has come to a screeching halt. today, president obama asked senate democrats , say, will you do something about this thing? this thing called the filibuster i didn't like either. there are 18 nominees pending and republicans have blocked five of them so far. senator jerry miran of kansas justified the obstruction saying i think in every instance i know of, they've either been controversial nominees like senator hagel or there's been senators who wanted more information before another secretary was confirmed. hagel controversial? give me a break. the republicans once said they'd only filibuster reform nominees under extraordinary circumstances. right wing senators are threatening to filibuster the unnamed nominee for labor secretary. the head of the alcohol, tobacco and firearms and the director of the consumer financial protection bureau. senator elizabeth warren says that filibuster would hurt the agency.
>> i see nothing here but a filibuster threat against director cordury as an attempt to weaken the consumer agency.
>> the filibuster is crippling major agencies and threatening the nation's judicial system . there are 85 vacancies on the nati nation's appellate courts right now and the president has nominated 30 judges who are waiting for the republicans to get their act together. the filibuster is designed to empower the minority but republicans have turned it into really a devastating political weapon to stop everything. democrats forced 18 filibuster votes on nominees during the entire eight years of the bush administration . the republicans have forced 30 filibuster votes on president obama 's nominations and apparently they say they're just getting started. not to mention the national labor relations board . we could go on and on. let's turn now to former senator tom daschle who is the former majority leader for the democrats and author of the book "the u.s. senate ." tom, great to see you, good to have you with us tonight.
>> great to be with you, ed.
>> you bet. well, in your book, the u.s. senate , what do you say about filibusters now?
>> well, it's been abused, you're absolutely right. the numbers speak for themselves. we have more than twice as many cloture votes in the last congress, ed, as we did in the 50-year period between 1917 and 1967 . that was a time during the civil rights era and vietnam and all of the other things we faced. twice as many in two years as we did in 50. that's all you need to know about the abuse of filibusters today.
>> yeah. you're a close friend, worked with him for years, harry reid , what should he do? what can he do?
>> well, harry's done all, i think he thinks he is capable of doing right now under the circumstances. he doesn't want to violate the rules of the senate in ways that would speed the process for dealing with rule change. but i actually think there are a couple of things that we could do. one, i think you ought to hold the floor when you're filibustering. just the other day when rand paul did that, i think that went back to the traditions of the senate and we ought to force every senate who is going to require a filibuster to hold the floor. we broke that filibuster in part because senator paul could only hold the floor for about 13 hours and that's really what history is all about. the second thing is i don't think we ought to have a dual track. set bills aside and take up other legislation. if we're going to filibuster, you stay on the bill and you keep the people filibustering until they can't take it anymore.
>> are the democrats and harry reid especially and you were in this position, as well, worried about any senate rule changes? because the shift of power could change and it could really possibly poison the cooperation within the senate and the minority would be completely diminished. and i know the answer to that but i want to hear what you have to say about it. but also, your thoughts on just how far this has gone. doesn't that change the dichotomy of it at all?
>> well, it does. there is a concern. what goes around, comes around and everybody knows at some point the majority is going to be in the minority again. and people want to make sure we have the rights that are the minority in the senate . you also have the character of the senate and that's what senator reid's thinking about maintaining the kind of character that we've had historically. what we've seen is an abuse of the character of the senate in the last few years in particular. but clearly we've got to look at ways which especially to deal with nominations. it's one thing to deal with legislation that will ultimately be permanent in law. it's another thing to deal with nominations where the people who get nominated are only going to have that job for a couple of years, three, four years. and to filibuster them for a fourth or a third or half that time is just not acceptable.
>> what do you say about republicans threatening to block funding for obama care?
>> well, i think that they're really making a huge mistake. ultimately, obama care has been already we know. it's been a far greater success than most republicans are willing to acknowledge. virtually the entire health sector right now recognizes the importance of moving forward, expanding medicaid, making sure we get the exchanges up and running, making sure the protections that are there for the -- for all the american people are actually implemented. all of that is real progress. and i think the american people overwhelmingly support it. so to defund it or to oppose it at this point, they don't get it.
>> citizens united . give me 15 seconds of what you think of that and what it's doing to america.
>> i think one of the single biggest disasters electorally and politically we've seen in 200 years. no connection between speech and money. and yet the court continues to insist there is. what it's doing is destroying the american political process. it's corrosive, wrong and i think it sends all the wrong messages about how to be successful in politics. i'm very, very concerned about its implications for the future.
>> senator tom daschle . great to have you with us tonight. thanks so much.
>> you bet.
>> you bet.
>>> tonight in the survey i asked you, is scott prouty a hero? 99% of you think he is. 1% of you, not so sure.
>>> coming up. the new "ed show" 5:00 to 7:00 p.m . saturday and sunday. i'll tell you what's coming up on