Does the House have filibusters?

White House press secretary Jay Carney at a daily briefing last month. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
White House press secretary Jay Carney (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Our colleague Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler gave President Obama a whopping four Pinocchios for a speech last week at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dinner  in which Obama said that, since 2007, Republicans have filibustered “500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class.”

Turns out, Kessler, in his blog on Friday and in Sunday’s print edition, concluded that, after taking us through an analysis of the numbers, the correct number — generously including nominations as well as “pieces of legislation” — is about 133 “successful” filibusters since 2007. (And that includes two years when Obama was in the Senate during the George W. Bush administration.)

White House press secretary Jay Carney, asked at Monday’s press briefing whether Obama still stood “by that number” of 500 pieces of legislation, said:  “I didn’t see the comments or the context.  There’s no question that there has been historic obstructionism by Republican-led Congress, in the House in particular, but I don’t have the context for it.”

Carney apparently hadn’t taken note of Obama’s speech or all those fine Pinocchios he earned by it. (Four Pinocchios is the highest award you can get, reserved for whoppers.) Then Carney pointed to “obstructionism” by Republicans in the House — which we didn’t think even had a filibuster.

 

 

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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Al Kamen · May 13