It happened again today. The Washington Post says the Democrats lost in the US Senate because they were “unable to muster the 60 votes needed.” As a result, states won’t get help paying for Medicaid, long term unemployed won’t get relief, and hedge fund managers will continue to enjoy their $35 billion loophole that could have helped pay for it.
More frightening than the substance is the process, and the reporting of it. Republicans have been so successful in their obstruction — filibustering everything — that 60 votes is now reported as if it were “needed.”
Let’s be clear. 60 votes are not “needed.” 60 votes are extraordinary.
In 2008, we exhaustively documented how record-breaking Republican obstruction was paralyzing the Senate. For a short time, the media reported it as obstruction.
But no more. Today the Washington post describes 60 votes as “needed.” Last week the Associated Press reported that Senate sponsors of a climate and energy bill are “still short of the 60 votes they need to advance the legislation.”
So it goes. 60 is the new 51. A majority is no longer enough. The Republican minority has amended the constitution.