Record Breaking: Senate Conservatives Use Filibuster for 62nd Time in This Session of Congress

New Report Shows How Conservative Minority Rules by Filibuster,

Preventing Up or Down Vote on a Record Number of Bills

Dec 18, 2007, 00:00 ET from Campaign for America's Future

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Republican Senate
 minority today filibustered an omnibus budget bill, setting a modern-day
 record for blocking the most legislation during a congressional session. A
 new report released today by the Campaign for America's Future details the
 62 times conservatives have used the filibuster to block legislation (or
 force modification of bills) in the first session of the 110th Congress. In
 just the first year of this two-year Congress, their use of the filibuster
 in the Senate topped the previous record, reached during the entire 107th
     The new report outlines every bill filibustered, vetoed or threatened
 to be vetoed by President Bush. Conservatives filibustered bills to end the
 occupation of Iraq, provide soldiers in Iraq rest time equal to their
 deployments, support renewable energy and grant residents of the District
 of Columbia representation in Congress. Today's record-breaker involved a
 $516 billion budget package passed by the House to fund the federal
 government in 2008. The conservative minority demanded $20 billion
 additional funding for the war and opposed House language to bring troops
 home, and threatened a filibuster to prevent the bill from getting an up or
 down vote.
     "In just one session, a minority in Congress has prevented a
 mind-blowing 62 pieces of legislation from going to the floor for an up or
 down vote," said Campaign for America's Future co-director Roger Hickey.
 "Our report shows how over and over again, the uncompromising minority has
 thwarted the will of majorities in Congress and of the American people,
 holding the Senate floor hostage to a radical right-wing agenda."
     Sixty votes are needed to invoke cloture and end a filibuster. The 62nd
 cloture vote of the session is more than any single session of Congress
 since at least 1973, the earliest year cloture votes are available online
 from the Senate. Republicans are on pace to force 134 cloture votes to cut
 off a filibuster, according to the Campaign for America's Future analysis,
 more than double the historical average of the last 35 years.
     Even pieces of legislation that have made it past the Senate filibuster
 blockade have been obstructed by President Bush. Last week the President
 vetoed for the second time a popular bill that would expand health coverage
 for 10 million American children. According to the Campaign for America's
 Future report, Bush has threatened to veto 84 bills and has vetoed six as
 of December 17. In contrast, during the period when the Republicans were in
 the congressional majority, Bush went the longest time without vetoing a
 bill since President Arthur Garfield.
     Eric Lotke, Campaign for America's Future research director and lead
 author of the new report, calls the obstruction a "deliberate strategy." He
 observes that the congressional Republicans block legislation, then blame
 the Democrats for getting nothing done. "It's like mugging the postman and
 then complaining that the mail isn't delivered on time."
     The story of this historic level of obstruction has recently been
 covered by The New York Times, but has yet to be fully told in the media.
 The new Campaign for America's Future report shows how major media outlets
 describe the 60-vote threshold as an ordinary procedure, neglecting that
 this tactic is an unprecedented assertion of minority control.
     ** NOTE: To obtain an electronic copy of the Campaign for America's
 Future's report "Block and Blame: The Conservative Strategy of Obstruction
 in the 110th Congress," please visit **

SOURCE Campaign for America's Future