The Republican case against changing the Senate filibuster rules — in 1 chart

July 11, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) went at it hammer and tongs on the floor this morning over the Democratic efforts to change the rules regarding ending filibusters on President Obama's Cabinet and agency nominees.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Reid called his plan to adjust the rules to allow a simple majority to end debate on those nominees -- rather than a 60-vote threshold -- a necessary result of Republicans "blocking qualified nominees to circumvent the legislative process, force wholesale changes to laws or restructure entire executive branch departments."

McConnell retorted that Reid "gave his word and now he appears to be on the edge of breaking his word."

So, who's right? It depends on which side of the partisan aisle you sit.  Given that divide, we reached out to Reid's and McConnell's offices and asked them to send us the single chart that makes their point best. Check them both out, then make up your own mind.

(And, yes, we understand that asking Reid and McConnell to sum up their arguments in a single chart is an exercise in oversimplification. But, we also know that political arguments -- including this one -- are often/always(?) won by the side who makes the more easily digestible and straight-forward point.)

Here's the chart McConnell's office sent us. (We'll have a post on the Democratic chart later today.)

McConnell repeatedly hit on the fact that the vast majority of President Obama's nominees have been confirmed during his remarks on the Senate floor this morning -- at one point calling the idea of sustained Republican obstruction a "fairy tale".

“Since this President first took office, the Senate has confirmed 1,560 people — 1,560," said McConnell. “The Senate has confirmed every single one of the Cabinet nominees that has been brought up for a vote this year — every single one. The President has gotten nearly three times as many judges confirmed at this point in his second term as President Bush."

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.
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Sean Sullivan · July 11, 2013