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Democratic 'Supermajority' is Back on the Table

January 29, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Roll Call is reporting that President Obama is thinking about naming Republican Senator Judd Gregg (NH) to serve as his Secretary of Commerce. Sam Stein, the Huffington Post’s D.C. reporter, is calling it a “strong possibility.”

Here’s why this is a potentially big deal: if Gregg accepts the job, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, a Democrat, would appoint Gregg’s replacement, giving Senate Democrats the 60-seat majority they have been hoping for (assuming Al Franken is seated in Minnesota). Sixty is the number of votes that are needed to overcome cloture, a parliamentary motion that is often used by the minority party to block majority-party legislation.

It would mean that the Democrats would be in a position to push virtually anything they wanted through Congress this session, as long no one in their party defects in the Senate.

Expect a heavy push from the right telling Gregg to turn the offer down.

And related: check out this excellent analysis from Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEighty showing which GOP Senators have been voting with Obama the most this session. I was shocked to see Gregg as #2 on the list.

UPDATE: Kagro X at Congress Matters has a more detailed breakdown of Gregg’s votes so far this session.

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  • JJ1 01/30/2009 5:08pm

    That would be really surprising if it happened. I hadn’t figured anyone would be discussing a supermajority again until the next elections at the very earliest. It would certainly change a lot of things if the Democrats had that kind of power.

    The Democrats are already touting their first 100 days as the time when they are going to get a tremendous amount accomplished. I hope they do accomplish something significant in the first 100 days. It seemed like the last Congress didn’t accomplish much in all of 2008. I saw that the Friends of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is asking people to give their opinion on the most important thing for Congress to do in their first 100 days. Then they’re going to work to get Congress to accomplish what the public actually wants them to do. Make sure to add your opinion so Congress can know what our priorities are – . It is especially important to share your opinion if the Democrats DO get a supermajority. In that case, a lot more legislation will go through – and it would be more beneficial to everyone if the new laws were the ones the people wanted.

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