Are Senate Republicans Trying to Force a Constitutional Crisis?

Brother Benen suggests as much:

What we’re talking about here is a shrinking Senate minority pursuing a nullification strategy — they want to nullify federal law by abusing procedural tactics in a way that’s literally never been done in the United States.

If Senate Republicans want changes to the CFPB, there’s already a mechanism in place that allows them to pursue reforms: it’s called the existing legislative process. Senators can write a bill, send it to committee, try to persuade their colleagues of the proposal’s merit, debate it on the floor, vote for it, etc.

But that takes time and effort, and it might not work, especially since the changes the GOP wants are absurd. So, instead, Republicans intend to block existing federal law from taking effect unless Democrats accept changes demanded by financial industry lobbyists.

This is crazy. The Republican message, in a nutshell, is this: “Weaken consumer protections or we’ll use filibusters to block the executive branch from enforcing existing federal law.” Our system of government simply can’t work this way.

Republicans are trying to deliberately crash our constitutional system so they can then argue “See government doesn’t work.”  It’s insane.  It’s like someone who never sets foot in a gym declaring exercise has no positive benefits.

  1. #1 by brewski on February 4, 2013 - 7:42 pm

    “Republicans are trying to deliberately crash our constitutional system”

    No. Obama already did that:

    Appointing agency “czars” without Senate approval.
    Article II, Section 2, gives the president the power to appoint ambassadors, judges and top agency officials, but only with the “Advice and Consent of the Senate.” Mr. Obama has appointed, without Senate approval, more than two dozen “czars” in federal agencies.

    Making illegal recess appointments.
    Article II, Section 2 allows the President to “fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate.” While the Senate was in session, Mr. Obama made recess appointments of Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and three members of the National Labor Relations Board.

    Using the National Labor Relations Board as a goon squad.
    The NLRB sued in April 2010 to stop the Boeing Co.’s new $750 million Dreamliner plant in right-to-work South Carolina because unions objected. Nowhere does the Constitution give the federal government the power to tell businesses where they can operate.

    Attacking a state for upholding federal law.
    The 10th Amendment says “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” In July 2010, the Justice Department sued Arizona for a law requiring state officials to enforce federal immigration laws. Nothing in the Constitution prohibits states from assisting in enforcing federal laws. Meanwhile, the Justice Department ignores “sanctuary cities” that openly violate federal law.

    The Chrysler bailout
    Building on the Bush administration’s illegal use of TARP funds to bail out the auto industry, the Obama administration bullied Chrysler’s secured creditors — who were entitled to “absolute priority” — into accepting 30 cents on the dollar, while junior creditors such as labor unions received much more. This subversion of creditor rights violates not just bankruptcy law but also the Constitution’s Takings and Due Process Clauses. This blatant crony capitalism — government-directed industrial policy to help political insiders — discourages investors and generally undermines confidence in American rule of law.

    Health care waivers
    The Department of Health and Human Services has granted nearly 2,000 waivers to employers seeking relief from Obamacare’s onerous regulations. Nearly 20 percent of these waivers went to gourmet restaurants and other businesses in Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district. Nevada, home to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, got a blanket waiver, while Republican-controlled states like Indiana and Louisiana were denied. Even beyond the unseemly political favoritism, such arbitrary dispensations violate a host of constitutional and administrative law provisions ranging from equal protection to the “intelligible principle” required for congressional delegation of authority to cabinet agencies. Unlike 17th-century English monarchs, American presidents were not granted dispensing powers: As we’ve seen, the power to suspend a legal requirement can and will be used to arbitrarily favor the politically connected. Moreover, most of these waivers were never authorized by Congress in the first place!

  2. #2 by Larry Bergan on February 4, 2013 - 8:29 pm


    I have no idea if Obama is breaking all these laws you say he is, but I DO have this to say:

    How does it feel?

    We had to sit and steam, while George-the-lesser let the goons around him break every law of God and man, but mostly Jesus.

    None of you no-names said a thing while that was going on.

    Again. How does it feel?

  3. #3 by Bob S. on February 4, 2013 - 8:44 pm


    Ever consider that if both parties are accused (and guilty) of breaking law after law — that maybe it is the entire government that is out of control and not a single party?

  4. #4 by Larry Bergan on February 4, 2013 - 8:54 pm

    Bob S.:

    Where were you when Blackwater/Ze/What-is it-now? was taking away weapons from poor people in New Orleans and letting the rich people’s security force keep theirs.

    Either we’re created equally, or we’re not.

  5. #5 by Larry Bergan on February 4, 2013 - 8:59 pm

    When you try to equate Democrats with Republicans, try to remember that Republicans are overwhelmingly in support of ALEC. ALEC is an extremely unconstitutional organization which only has a couple of Democratic supporters.

  6. #6 by Bob S. on February 5, 2013 - 4:34 am


    People accuse me of being focused on a single issue but I think you have me beat hands down in that area.

    Where was I when the Democrat Mayor of New Orleans illegally ordered weapons confiscated?
    I was planning a trip into the area of Biloxi Mississippi if necessary to get a great aunt out.

    Where was I when the Democrat Governor of the state of Louisiana allowed state guard troops to be used to confiscate firearms? Watching the TV as the media blamed everything on Bush.

    Please don’t try that tired trick of blaming everything on the republicans. Both parties have trampled on the Constitution and ignored it for too long.

    And remember this — if ALEC has any influence, it is because “WE, THE PEOPLE” have allowed it to happen. We, the people, have sent the same politicians back to Washington time and time again.

  7. #7 by Richard Warnick on February 5, 2013 - 8:31 am

    I blame Harry Reid. There is a Democratic majority in the Senate, but most people don’t know that because Reid lets Mitch McConnell run the place.

  8. #8 by cav on February 5, 2013 - 10:18 am

    Him and President McCain.

  9. #9 by brewski on February 5, 2013 - 10:43 am

    When you try to equate Democrats with Republicans, try to remember that Democrats are overwhelmingly in support of unions. Unions are people who make more money than you, have a better health plan than you, get more paid vacation and holidays than you, have a better pension than you…and all of this is paid for by you. But they want more from you for themselves. They are your enemy.

  10. #10 by brewski on February 5, 2013 - 10:46 am

    Obama missed the deadline for submitting a fiscal 2014 budget yesterday—the fourth time in five years.


  11. #11 by Richard Warnick on February 5, 2013 - 11:21 am


    If the Dems support unions, they could have fooled me. Where was President Obama when Wisconsin screwed the unions? When Michigan screwed the unions? People actually mailed comfortable shoes to the White House, but he never kept his promise to walk with union members.

    Unions are the backbone of the middle class, and they support Dems. But that support is not reciprocated. Where is the Employee Free Choice Act, for example?

    Budget resolutions are meaningless, including the so-called budgets passed by House Republicans. They are especially meaningless when it takes 60 votes in the Senate to pass an appropriations bill.

  12. #12 by brewski on February 5, 2013 - 12:01 pm

    Unions are not the backbone of the middle class. Unions are responsible for the loss of millions of American jobs. Unions are responsible for the decline in manufacturing. Unions get their money from other people. Other people who make less than them. Unions take from other people for themselves.

    If unions were the backbone of the middle class, then Detroit would be a thriving city and Houston would be a wasteland.

  13. #13 by Richard Warnick on February 5, 2013 - 12:58 pm

    I’m sure I have posted this graph before, brewski. Like I said, unions are the backbone of the American middle class.

    Source: GRAPH: As Union Membership Has Declined, Income Inequality Has Skyrocketed In The United States

  14. #14 by brewski on February 5, 2013 - 1:02 pm

    Is your point that there is a causal relationship where the decline in the proportion of middle class incomes is causing a decline in union membership? Or what?

  15. #15 by Richard Warnick on February 5, 2013 - 1:36 pm

    It helps explain the Vulture Chart that graphs income inequality. The middle class share of the economy is getting smaller while the rich get richer, Productivity gains are going to the top 1 Percent. The decline of unions is part of this.

  16. #16 by brewski on February 5, 2013 - 2:06 pm

    I thought you knew the difference between correlation and causation. You proved me wrong.

    Let me explain it to you since you don’t understand it.

    When you see two variable which appear to be correlated, there are 4 separate possibilities which can explain this:
    1. It is a coincidence.
    2. A causes B
    3. B causes A
    4. Another variable, C, is causing both A and B.

    Just showing the two appearing to be correlated does not tell you which of the 4 above is going on.

    So your chart shows nothing. You haven’t proved anything. You understand even less.

  17. #17 by Richard Warnick on February 5, 2013 - 2:38 pm

    I’ll break it down for you.

    Company A hires productive workers, and because they are unionized the union makes sure that as productivity and profits go up, so do wages.

    Company B hires productive workers, but they have no union and the bigs pocket the extra proceeds from increased productivity.

    What happens to income inequality when most companies follow the Company B model?

  18. #18 by Bob S. on February 5, 2013 - 2:56 pm


    You forget a few scenarios

    Company B hires productive workers and pays them better then union wages.

    Company B hires productive workers and implements a profit sharing plan.

    Company B hires productive workers, pays them a fair wage and returns the profits to their investors.

    There isn’t always a binary solution set but look at your Company A — often the Union will resist efforts to keep the company profitable during down turns in the economy…thus the company eventually goes out of business and no one is making money any longer.

  19. #19 by brewski on February 5, 2013 - 3:01 pm

    Let me break it down for you. One word. Detroit.

  20. #20 by brewski on February 5, 2013 - 3:05 pm

    Company A hires workers, some are productive, some are not. Company A unionizes. The world that Company A lives in is competitive. Company A needs to change how they do things. Company A needs to hire more productive workers and get rid of the whiney lazy unproductive workers. Company’s A union won’t allow this. It protects all of their dues paying members no matter if they do a lousy job. Company A suffers and goes out of business. Company A’s unions and uneducated bloggers whine about the decline of unions and blame someone else. It is always someone else’s fault.

  21. #21 by Richard Warnick on February 5, 2013 - 4:17 pm


    Your solution to income inequality is what? Romney’s deduction cap?

  22. #22 by brewski on February 5, 2013 - 4:52 pm

    1. Understand math
    2. Understand the difference between correlation and causation
    3. Understand how wages are determined
    4. Understand supply and demand
    5. Look for evidence at what works and what doesn’t. [Exhibit A:
    Exhibit B:
    6. Be able to conclude from the evidence that unions=decline and decay, nonunion=growth and prosperity
    7. Stop chasing capital and jobs out of the US
    8. Realize that money can and does move, jobs can and do move, people can and do move.

  23. #23 by Richard Warnick on February 6, 2013 - 12:24 am

    OK, I get it. You don’t like unions. But without them, we wage earners would be working for peanuts and we would not have the five-day work week, overtime pay, paid vacation, sick days, etc.

  24. #24 by Larry Bergan on February 6, 2013 - 1:50 am

    Exactly; what is a five day work week? Paid vacations are only granted if you reach the tip of the iceberg. Sick pay?; forget it!. Healthcare? Get serious!

  25. #25 by brewski on February 6, 2013 - 8:43 am

    “But without them, we wage earners would be working for peanuts and we would not have the five-day work week, paid vacation, sick days, etc.”


  26. #26 by Richard Warnick on February 6, 2013 - 8:51 am

    No, actually, it’s true.

  27. #27 by Richard Warnick on February 6, 2013 - 8:57 am

    36 Reasons to Thank a Union (Even if You Don’t Belong to One)

    2.All Breaks at Work, including your Lunch Breaks
    3.Paid Vacation
    5.Sick Leave
    6.Social Security
    7.Minimum Wage
    8.Civil Rights Act/Title VII (Prohibits Employer Discrimination)
    9.8-Hour Work Day
    10.Overtime Pay
    11.Child Labor Laws
    12.Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
    13.40 Hour Work Week
    14.Worker’s Compensation (Worker’s Comp)
    15.Unemployment Insurance
    17.Workplace Safety Standards and Regulations
    18.Employer Health Care Insurance
    19.Collective Bargaining Rights for Employees
    20.Wrongful Termination Laws
    21.Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
    22.Whistleblower Protection Laws
    23.Employee Polygraph Protect Act (Prohibits Employer from using a lie detector test on an employee)
    24.Veteran’s Employment and Training Services (VETS)
    25.Compensation increases and Evaluations (Raises)
    26.Sexual Harassment Laws
    27.Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
    28.Holiday Pay
    29.Employer Dental, Life, and Vision Insurance
    30.Privacy Rights
    31.Pregnancy and Parental Leave
    32.Military Leave
    33.The Right to Strike
    34.Public Education for Children
    35.Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 (Requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work)
    36.Laws Ending Sweatshops in the United States

  28. #28 by cav on February 6, 2013 - 9:27 am

    They’d ‘Rebrand’ this all into the memory hole and gift it with the moniker ‘Right’ to work.

    “Message: I care.”

    Freedumb. We’re strangling on it.

  29. #29 by Richard Warnick on February 6, 2013 - 9:31 am

    I actually didn’t know employers were prohibited by law from using polygraphs. I had a retail job in the 1970s where they ran lie-detector tests on employees.

  30. #30 by cav on February 6, 2013 - 11:34 am

    “Right-to-work” state = no unions; minimum, if any worker protections.

    In case I wasn’t clear.

  31. #31 by brewski on February 6, 2013 - 11:42 am


  32. #32 by cav on February 6, 2013 - 12:27 pm

    Lunch on brewski!!! Thanks dude.

  33. #33 by brewski on February 6, 2013 - 12:39 pm

    If you go through that list they mostly fall in one of several categories:
    1. Aren’t actually beneficial
    2. Were the result of the demand for labor and the competition for workers and not “thanks to” unions
    3. Predated unions by hundreds of years
    4. Are by-products of the tax code having nothing to do with unions
    5. Hurt workers

  34. #34 by brewski on February 6, 2013 - 12:48 pm

    I am in moderation.

  35. #35 by cav on February 6, 2013 - 1:12 pm

    Collective bargaining?!

  36. #36 by brewski on February 6, 2013 - 2:42 pm

    Collective bargaining is bad for workers.

    Look at the result where collective bargaining is powerful:

    And where it is not:

    Who is better off?

  37. #37 by Larry Bergan on February 6, 2013 - 5:44 pm

    I worked in an optical lab in the 80’s that made everybody take a polygraph test because a $300 eyeglass frame turned up missing.

  38. #38 by cav on February 6, 2013 - 6:41 pm

    I don’t thing your comparison is fair.

    In the collective bargaining process, there are two sides, each lawyered up to the best of their abilities. There’s also the mood of the moment. Earlier last century Unions fought, died, and succeeded in implementing the list of accomplishments Richard listed above. As things have gone along the corporate chiefs have grasped better how to win at the negotiating table. I’m saying Win, not necessarily do what is best for the people who are doing the work that ultimately determines the length of their yacht.

    Then, as we have seen lately, there are negotiators who negotiate against themselves, making the opposition’s job easy. There are also ruthless, greed-headed negotiators.

    For example.

    The crack in the dam that led to the Johnstown flood was started by Andrew Carnegie’s partner Henry Frick who didn’t want to spend any money at all to shore up the infrastructure he had weakened by constructing a playground for rich fucks on the artificial lake and by demanding the dam be lower so his fucking carriage could be driven across it.

    Similarly, as our society collapses, we see example after example of those responsible for its collapse being allowed to escape without consequence.

    In the years following the disaster, some people blamed the members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club for their modifications to the dam and failure to maintain it properly. The club had bought and redesigned the dam to turn the area into a vacation retreat in the mountains. They were accused of failing to maintain the dam properly, so that it was unable to contain the additional water of the unusually heavy rainfall.
    The club was successfully defended by the firm of Knox and Reed (now Reed Smith LLP), whose partners Philander Knox and James Hay Reed were both Club members. The Club was never held legally responsible for the disaster. The court held the dam break to have been an Act of God, and granted the survivors no legal compensation.

  39. #39 by brewski on February 6, 2013 - 7:31 pm

    In collective bargaining it does not matter a whit how much one is lawyered up. What matters is one’s negotiating position. A union is basically like a cartel for the suppliers of workers. In a closed shop, an employer cannot legally say that they don’t like the union leadership’s position and just offer a deal that may be mutually acceptable to a great many of the workers and then go back to work. No, the union leadership will not allow some workers to accept a deal that those workers find to be a good deal. They tell those consenting adults that they are not allowed to work under the terms that they find agreeable. So the union takes away those adults’ choice. Unions are anti-choice.

    Apparently all of those employed Mercedes Benz employees look to me to be a whole lot better off than the millions of Detroit former auto workers who currently make zero.

    Tell me how that graph shows that unions are good for workers.

  40. #40 by Richard Warnick on February 7, 2013 - 9:13 am

    The union leadership will not allow some workers hold a vote to accept a deal that those workers find to be a good deal.

    Fixed it for you.

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