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home : opinions : editorials November 25, 2015

7/17/2013 6:00:00 AM
Editorial: McCain saves the day with negotiation skills
The Daily Courier

In conversation, the subject of Congress most often elicits groans. Its approval rating is low, its progress can be glacial, and results are seemingly intangible. Let's face it - Congress is about as popular as photo-enforcement cameras in Prescott Valley.

For some time now, the U.S. Senate has been struggling with confirmations, specifically approving them. Simply put, it comes down to the filibuster - the minority party's power to stall or block a yes-or-no vote on nearly anything.

Rewind to Monday: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had insisted that if Republicans didn't stop blocking confirmations, he would trigger a change in the Senate's procedures to strip them of their ability to filibuster.

While a simple majority vote is required to confirm presidential appointees, it takes 60 votes to end delaying tactics and proceed to a yes-or-no vote. Reid's threat to remove that right as it applied to nominations to administration positions was invariably described as the "nuclear option" for its likely impact on an institution with minority rights woven into its fabric. The same term was used when Republicans made a similar threat on judicial nominations in 2005 - an earlier similar showdown.

The key in the mix both times? Sen. John McCain, who helped defuse the problems - even when in 2005 it was his own party threatening to change the rules unilaterally.

This time (2013), the Senate on Tuesday avoided meltdown, clearing the way for confirmation of at least one of President Obama's nominees and nearing a deal to fill several other vacancies.

"Nobody wants to come to Armageddon here," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat whose talks with McCain were critical in taking the Senate off its collision course.

To put it all in perspective, on Obama's executive nominees alone, Republicans have filibustered 16 times. In contrast, executive nominees were filibustered 20 times in the past 60 years.

While McCain is a veteran of uncounted legislation struggles, he told reporters that forging the deal was "probably the hardest thing I've been involved in."

Hardly, but it shows that the Maverick from Arizona is alive and well - and may yet have a career in negotiations.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Ernie Pyle Chortled:

"The O in GOP stands for obstruction (sic)"

To which I rejoin:

The "D" in Democrat stands for "Disaster."

The "E," for "Economic Ruin."
The "M" is for "Maudlin Maundering."
The "O," well, that's taken.
The "C" may well stand for "Cretinous,"
While the "R" stands for "Regressive."

The "A" stands for... well, never mind. (This is a FAMILY paper!)

And in conclusion, the "T" is for "Take everything they have, and GIVE IT TO SOMEBODY ELSE."

Sorry I didn't make it rhyme...

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Ernie Pyle

The O in GOP stands for obstruction

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Jack Jones

"McCain saves the day....." In the interest of accuracy, the headline should have read, "McCain and Schumer saves the day......" Yes, Sen. Schumer was mentioned ~ one sentence, paragraph 7. And, the previous writer was correct ~ "saved the day" ~ with 'day' being the operative word, was literally the case. The "compromise" was agreed to ONLY because of the threat to change the filibuster rules which would have had the effect of preventing the Republican option of invoking the filibuster ~ exact same scenario, only shoe on the other foot, in 2005. Certainly not because of any high-minded sense of duty. Congress is a ship of fools ~ just watch how they continue to be the "do nothing but blow smoke up you know who's behind.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Bad Business

This is because McCain is the greatest Flip-flopper of all time. He's as crooked as they come.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Just Sayiing

McCain't is a sell out.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Hey Folks

Both parties have unfortunately used senate rules to block nominations in a variety of ways. Any president should get the vast majority of his nominations quickly and efficiently. The political games hurt the country, but help senators with their bases. I applaud McCain for his effforts. I rarely agree with him politically, but I believe this effort is done in good faith.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

Saves the DAY? Who cares if Obama's hot picks get approved? Maybe Harry Reid but not me. No, saving the day is when you actually do something big not that. I"m getting kind of tired of McCain. I actually voted for him but I don't think I would now.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: It's Bush's Fault

McCain is no Republican. Next thing you know he'll be running for Vice President with Hillary. I"m not giving him any points for buddying up the Dingy Harry Reid.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Thank God!!!!

Thank God that McCain didn't become our President. He is too wishy-washy on everything and he likes to pat himself on the back for anything good, whether he thought of it or not. He wants the credit for everything, and he is not willing to take the blame for something going wrong. He is just like the majority of the policitical people we have in offices today, so he fits right in.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Funny Stuff

McCain is a war-monger .... He's the embodiment of what's wrong with American Geo-politics.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Padraig Houlahan

This editorial makes about as much sense as saying Saddam deserved credit for ending the Iraq war.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Saved the Day??? Seriously?

Congress is broken. The filibuster is a seriously problem in the Senate. It needs to go! McCain did not save the day - he ensured more obstructionism so nothing gets done. It needs to be done away with. COMPLETELY!

And, you have it wrong, what Reid was going to do was remove the filibuster for confirmations only.

Not really relevant - get rid of it all together.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Jesse L.

This editorial neatly ignores the primary reason *why* recent nominations have been filibustered.

If the President's blatantly unconstitutional recess appointments are confirmed, it will make the Supreme Court case regarding those appointments moot. Rather than risking having the Supreme Court strike down the appointments as unconstitutional, which would both remove the power the executive is seeking to secure and be highly embarrassing, the White House and Sen. Reid wanted the issue to go away before the case was even heard.

This wasn't just about petty politics. It was about trying to avoid a dangerous shift in executive power.

Democrats broke the rules and when Republicans threatened to stop them while playing within the rules, Democrats threatened to break them again.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Juan McCain as well as most of congress needs to learn the constitution. The Federalists and the Anti Federalists slugged it out during the constitutional convention and the confirmation process making the document and the demanded Bill of Rights better. Now, it seems the "professional politicians" of both parties are more interested in winning points than holding to the constitution. I would rather see McCain negotiating contracts outside the congress of the United States than inside.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: There You Go Again

McCain is a RINO (Republican in name only). Let Reed use the 'nuclear' option. Then, when the Conservatives have a majority in the Senate, we can undo some of the damage, because little things like the law and rules do not stop the left.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Break out the champagne-- McCain did his job

Remarkable. McCain performed the job he was elected to do for once. I'm sure he won't let that happen again anytime soon. Now he'll be back on the Sunday talk shows telling us how great he is.

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