Filibuster Reform to Complete Shutdown: Congress in 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) hold a news conference on Capitol Hill, November 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty)

Members of Congress are enjoying their first, full Christmas recess since President Obama took office. Over the last five years, the legislative branch has delayed its holiday break or returned early for major votes over Christmas and New Year's, on divisive issues like health care, the fiscal cliff and unemployment benefits.

In 2013, Congress managed to fight its battles earlier in the year. This year, the Senate affected major change back in November, as Gregory Downs, professor of history at the City University of New York, noted in a recent New York Times Room for Debate column. Led by Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Democrats used the so-called "nuclear option" to enact filibuster reform, prohibiting its use for most presidential appointements.

Downs reviews the highlights of the year in Congress, and looks ahead to changes in 2014.


Gregory Downs

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger

Comments [2]

Mark Kramer from Minnesota

Lest we forget, the members of congress are first and foremost voted into office to represent their constituents, not to act in their own self-interest. Congress is so wrapped up in their own longevity and job security concerns that they have abandoned those they are supposed to serve. Bravery in congress? It would be nice to see an occasional example. Do we expect too much from out elected officials. No, we do not. In the immortal words of Super Chiicken, "they knew the job was dangerous when they took it".

Dec. 26 2013 09:09 AM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Congress reminded me of Dr. Seuss's story "The Sneetches," this year

Dec. 23 2013 01:35 PM

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