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An Accidental Moment Of Candor From Judd Gregg: With Franken Tied Up, 'We Can Do A Lot With 40 Votes'

You'll seldom hear Republicans admit that this is their legislative strategy--even though it manifestly is their legislative strategy--but sometimes obvious and uncomfortable truths are hard to deny, and slip out accidentally. And it's an important truth.

This strategy is crucial to understanding the GOP's gambit in the Minnesota Senate race. When that issue is decided, the Senate will have 100 members, and if Franken is declared the winner (as is widely expected) the Republicans' 40 votes will no longer be enough on their own to mount a filibuster.

For his part--in the weeks since he decided not to join the Democratic administration and chose instead to lead Republican opposition to the President's budget--Gregg has become one of the filibuster's strongest proponents.

He compared efforts to circumvent the filibuster to mob tactics, despite the fact that he used those same tactics when Republicans were trying to advance the Bush agenda. It's a sort of...flexible philosophy. One has to imagine, though, that if he'd gone through the nomination process to become Commerce Secretary, and 40 senators had filibustered his confirmation, he'd have had a suspiciously different take on minority obstruction.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at