The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

July 16, 2013

Filibuster fight could prompt tougher battles

WASHINGTON (AP) — The threat by majority Democrats to change Senate rules to make confirmation easier for some nominees could open up two cans of worms that could weaken the chamber's minority party for years to come.

Exasperated by what he considers excessive Republican efforts to block some of President Barack Obama's appointments, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is threatening to use his muscle to change the rules so only simple majority votes are needed to approve top-level federal agency jobs.

Currently, opponents can thwart those appointments with filibusters. Since those delaying tactics take three-fifths majorities to end, Reid currently needs the votes of 60 of all 100 senators to push those nominations through his chamber — a high hurdle since Reid generally controls only 54 votes, including two usually loyal independents.

If Reid prevails, that could encourage Republicans to broaden the exception whenever they recapture the Senate, experts say, perhaps also eliminating the 60-vote margin needed to end filibusters on legislation. Republicans have pointedly said would make it easier to establish a nuclear waste depository at Nevada's Yucca Mountain, which Reid has thwarted for years.

Several experts said the change would be the biggest since 1975, when the Senate reduced the threshold needed to end filibusters from 67 votes to 60.

Another issue is Democrats saying they will change the rule by a simple majority vote.

Currently, opponents of a rules change can start a filibuster that special rules say can be ended by a two-thirds majority of voting senators — 67 if all 100 lawmakers vote.

Yet over the years, the Senate has used simple majority votes to overrule its own presiding officer and change how its rules are applied.

Combined, the two moves would make the Senate similar to the House, where the majority rules and the minority party enjoys little leverage.

1
Text Only
AP Iowa
  • Chairman: Branstad staff pressured board on hires DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The chairman of the state's Public Employment Relations Board said Thursday that two aides to Gov. Terry Branstad pressured the board to hire a friend of the administration, in the latest accusation that top government officia

    April 18, 2014

  • Police still hunt escaped inmate in central Iowa CLIVE, Iowa (AP) — Officers are still looking for a prisoner who escaped in suburban Des Moines while being transferred for a court hearing in a burglary case. Polk County Sheriff's Lt. Brent Long said Friday that 37-year-old Kenny Bevard remained at

    April 18, 2014

  • Iowa sex offender gets 18 years for child porn SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man twice convicted of child sex offenses have been given 18 years in prison for possessing child pornography. Prosecutors say 49-year-old Kevin Ammerman, of Clarion, was sentenced on Wednesday in U.S. District Court i

    April 18, 2014

  • Court: Man can seek office despite conviction DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A split Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling Tuesday that allows a Des Moines man to run for state Senate and affirms that second-offense drunken driving is not an infamous crime as defined by the Iowa Constitution. The opinion

    April 16, 2014

  • Iowa Public Radio seeks more from universities IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Public Radio is asking for additional funding from the state's three public universities, a departure from a plan to become financially independent of them, according to a proposal released Tuesday. IPR is asking the Iowa

    April 16, 2014

  • Ex-Iowa doctor gets jail for violating probation HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) — A former Iowa doctor convicted of sexual exploitation has been given jail time for violating his probation. Forty-one-year-old Brian Hansen was found in contempt of court on Monday in Franklin County District Court. He'd violated

    April 16, 2014

  • Regents considering Branstad order on settlements IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — More than three weeks later, the Iowa Board of Regents is still figuring out how to comply with Gov. Terry Branstad's order to post employee settlement agreements online. In an executive order on March 24, Branstad ordered his

    April 16, 2014

  • Medical marijuana bill may surface in Senate DES MOINES (AP) -- Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal says he will sponsor a bill legalizing the sale of medical marijuana in Iowa, reviving an issue once thought dead this year. The persistent efforts of woman who have children with epilepsy chang

    April 15, 2014

  • Iowa investigators join Story County death probe CAMBRIDGE, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is helping local officers probe the death of a woman in the Story County town of Cambridge. Her body was found by officers around 10 p.m. Monday. The woman's name and other details ab

    April 15, 2014

  • Sioux City council advances pit bull proposal SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Sioux City Council has advanced a proposal to change the city ordinance that bars pit bulls from inside city limits. The measure was advanced at Monday's meeting on a second vote and faces a third and final vote next Monda

    April 15, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National