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The Filibuster Vs. The Filibuster, Hagel Edition


These days, when we say filibuster we mean the minority has defeated a bill or nominee that has majority-but-not-supermajority support in the Senate. But the filibuster as commonly understood is an effort by the minority to extend debate or consideration of an issue even if a majority of the Senate is ready to put it to bed. That's basically what happened today. Republicans say they're not ready to end debate on Hagel's nomination yet, but that in about 10 days, they'll be prepared to see him confirmed.

You may find that annoying, unnecessary, disingenuous, wasteful, pick your adjective. But it's a lot less disruptive to the functioning of the Pentagon than if they'd filibustered Hagel the way they filibustered the DREAM Act or the way they'll likely filibuster the Democrats' plan to pay down the sequester.

Which is to say if you're describing what's happening to Hagel as a filibuster, it's important to be clear about your terms.

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 brian@talkingpointsmemo.com