Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Senate Rules Kill Bailout, Foil Democracy

Senate Rules Kill Bailout, Foil Democracy
Rigged Game Stops Vote on Bill


Michael Collins
"Scoop" Independent News

(Wash. DC) The Unites States Senate voted down a "cloture" resolution last night killing the automaker bailout before it was even considered. Failure to gain approval for cloture opened the bill up to an anticipated filibuster. General Motors, the largest U.S. manufacturer, is in terrible shape financially and may not survive the month.

GM has 270,000 employees.

Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Majority Leader, offered these stirring words: "If there is no agreement that can be reached ... we have danced this tune long enough." Dec. 12, 2008 Reid joined the majority of Republicans in opposing cloture.

Cloture resolutions require a 60% yes vote to pass. A simple majority won't do. The final Senate vote on cloture was 52 in favor, 35 opposed, with 12 not present. The motion failed to meet the 60% standard by eight votes. Even with those not present, the resolution would have likely failed.

A look at the Senate vote in terms of population shows that senators representing just 26% of citizens overcame senators whose states account for 64% total U.S. population. The nay saying Senators represent 78 million citizens, while those who wanted to vote on the bill account for 192 million. The remaining 30 million are factored in for the 12 no shows.

Tyranny of the Minority

Most of the anti bailout support came from less populated, less industrialized states with lower wage for workers and unions that are deliberately weakened by state law. Some of the states with strong Senate bailout opponents are the home of foreign automakers, e.g., Alabama, South Carolina.

The geographic breakdown looks like this:


Senate voting by geographic segment
(Assumptions)

You can develop your own assumptions on how to allocate populations to Senators. However you do it, it's clear that once again the will of the majority is frustrated by the minority.

Democracy Denied, Again

This Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives promptly passed the bailout bill by a vote of 237 to 170 (Clerk of the House, Dec. 10, 2008). There were 27 members not present and one who simply voted present.

Then the bill went to the august and arcane United States Senate where sometimes, in order to pass a bill, you have to pass a bill before the bill you want to pass is even considered. A cloture resolution, the bill to pass first, limits the amount of debate on a bill. Failing to get that passed at the start gives the minority yet another tool to stop a bill through endless discussion.

Had the cloture resolution passed, the bailout would have also based on the House vote, public support, and growing fears about a looming depression.

Senators produced this result despite serious threats of massive unemployment, lower wages, less consumption and lower personal savings. They produced this result despite giving away nearly $1.0 trillion dollars to banks, insurance companies, etc. without any real oversight or input. They killed the bill despite the fact that we're on the precipice of a depression.

That didn't matter to the Senators. They're wed to an arcane system that requires procedural votes before the Senate can consider truly substantive bills, i.e., the people's business. Why? Because the process means major changes only occur on the margins, for the benefit of the few, while people aren't paying much attention to legislative maneuvers that makes little sense unless you're in the club.

Senators and historians come up with all sorts of polite excuses for this tyranny of backwards, bought-and-sold Senators who betray both the nation's interests and those of their constituents on a regular basis. The bottom line is quite simply; nothing much gets done in this ultimate insiders club other than "earmarks" and other enrichment programs for the usual list of suspects.

While the President-elect and most Senate Democrats supported the bill, they were dealing with an institution whose members are, on a good day, "difficult." Senators don't seem to care about mundane issues like recessions and depressions. They' don't have to care. They're immune.

The outcome of the bailout may be settled in short order. Through provisions in the banking give away bill and other options available to the president, the funds may be loaned to automakers without House and Senate approval.

Public reaction to this failure to will be heard when the Senators go home for their holiday break. They'll do their best to stay away from open forums. They'll offer platitudes and meaningless drivel about fiscal responsibility after spending eight years bankrupting the nation. They'll do it with a straight face too. But they won't be able to say that this was a decision that reflects the will of the people

We can only wonder if, during the comfort of their holiday meal, they will bother to think of the hundreds of thousands of people whose jobs depend on the automakers, people who are just one pay check away from the streets.

END

Permission to republish in whole or in part with attribution of authorship and
a link to this article


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Stuart Littlewood: What More Horrors Are In Store For Gaza?

I wonder what Hamas and Israeli leaders are thinking as they survey the devastation in Gaza and review the death-toll and casualty figures? Or course, neither has to live among the ruins and clamber over the devastation. More>>

ALSO:

Michael Hammerschlag: The Battle For Lysychansk; Ukr On The Move

I reached my friend Andre Samobarona (self-defense militia from Maidan) at the front Sunday- where I didn't know he was till last call 5-6 days ago, “I'm in a battle- can't talk”. He was out of touch till today, when he was on R+R from the National ... More>>

Shobha Shukla: Prevention Technologies For HIV And STIs At AIDS 2014

Women of reproductive age have a need for prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, and family planning methods. More importantly, women need prevention tools/methods that are under their control and do not leave them at the mercy of ... More>>

Gary G. Kohls: The Hiroshima Myth And The Glorification Of American Militarism

This coming Wednesday, August 6, 2014, is the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, the whole truth of which has been heavily censored and mythologized ever since war-weary Americans celebrated V-J Day on August 15. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Gaza’s Resistance Will Not Be Crushed

On the 13th day of Israel’s so-called Operation Protective Edge, stories of entire families collectively pulverized, women and children keenly targeted by Israeli soldiers saturate the media. Until now, 430 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and ... More>>

ALSO:

Ian Anderson: Rearranging The Deck Chairs On The Titanic? The Labour Party And MANA

Early in July this year, Labour Party leader David Cunliffe made headlines by apologising for being a man. Stoked by capitalist media sensation, Prime Minister John Key responded that “not all men” abuse women. More>>

Shobha Shukla: Break The Silos: Drug Use, HIV, HCV, TB, Laws And Funding

Viet Nam is one of the countries in the world that has made remarkable progress over the last decade in not only making harm reduction and HIV services available and accessible for people who use drugs but also reforming laws for supportive health ... More>>

ALSO:

Fiona Gordon: Illegal Wildlife Trading: The Global Response

At the closing session of the inaugural United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi last month, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “We need to act decisively to change humanity’s relationship with our planet.” More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
TEDxAuckland
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news