Even though Democrats have held a majority in the Senate under President Obama, very little of his agenda in the past two years has found traction in part because of the increased use of the filibuster by Republicans, dictating that it now requires 60 votes, not 51, to pass legislation through that august body.
That's led some to say that Washington is more broken than ever, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is tired of it, talking about what has been called "the nuclear option" to make it a lot harder for Republicans to pull off such filibusters. In a sense, making them truly do it the old fashioned way, like when Strom Thurmond once spoke for over 24 hours in 1957 against a civil rights bill.
Of course, the Democrats might not like these rules being changed if and when they return to being a minority, and that worries some of them, including our own Bill Nelson. Nelson tells the New York Times that he doesn't care for the nuclear option, saying that “a body like this runs on comity and common sense,” and he said he worried that going nuclear would do serious damage to that atmosphere.
And that's Bill Nelson in a nutshell. He's a moderate, whatever you say about his voting record. And though he doesn't really thrill anybody, he seems to be the sort of old school Florida Democrat that keeps getting elected.
In other news, CL was the lone reporter at a speech St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster gave yesterday at Eckerd College. He spoke on many issues, but the one that concerned his audience the most was whether the state will add a traffic light in front of the South St. Pete campus (actually I thought it was in Gulfport. Whatever).
Committee chairmanships were announced in the Florida Senate yesterday, and St. Petersburg's Jeff Brandes will now helm the transportation committee. Big news for the former Iraq war veteran, but some advocates for a ban on texting while driving may not be thrilled to hear his comments about such potential legislation in Florida.
A liberal think-tank is calling out those CEO's who want to see entitlements cut in the fiscal cliff discussions, saying they're a bit hypocritical from what they're saying and what they're doing in their own jobs.