Democrats are still manipulating Congressional rules. Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi developed the process to an art. She took popular bills a Democratic House could pass and set the rules so they would fail, all in order to publicly blame Republicans for “blocking” passage. The party, with the aid of the press, won some PR points, their constituents be damned. To Democrats like Pelosi, painting a bad face on Republicans trumps doing the will of your supporters.

Now, Republicans control the House so Nancy can’t play with the rules. But Harry Reid can; his party still controls the Senate. The filibuster is a tool intended to protect the political minority from excessive dominance by the majority. The majority never likes it. Reid wants to curtail its use in the Senate. There is a claim that the Constitution allows filibuster rules to be changed by simple majority vote provided it is done in the first day of a new Congress.

One day isn’t enough time for Harry Reid to get all his ducks in a row for the vote. So employing what the New York Times calls “a sleight-of-hand”, Harry has found a way to make a day beginning Wed Jan 5 last until Mon Jan 24. That is 456 hours, give or take an hour or two. Copernicus would be appalled.

The Times explains the trick. The Majority Leader plans to call a recess before the first day ends. That stops the legal clock. The clock starts again when the recess ends, to be scheduled for Jan 24th. We think little less manipulation and a little more negotiation would produce a little better legislation.

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