on the American election - a query and a comment

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Fri Dec 1 18:37:10 MST 2000

> The House of Representatives, after being Democrat-dominated
> therough the Reagan and Bush years, went Republican in and stayed that
> way over the latter half of the 90s and the Republicans have managed to
> narrowly hold on to that majority there.  The Senate, also a long-time
> Democratic bastion, passed into the hands of a narrow Republican
> majority.
> - Juan

Dems controlled both houses of US Congress for all but six years between
1954-1994 (Reps had Senate majority between 1981-1987).  Morover, Dem
control of Congress extended - except for a couple of years in late
1940s & early 1950s - back to early 1930s.

Dems, however, were never very good majority party.  Conservative
coalition of Reps and southern Dems first reared its head in late
1930s, effectively bringing New Deal to halt.  Same grouping stopped,
among other things, civil rights legislation for 2 decades, prevented
body from debating Vietnam War for years, rendered impotent full
employment bill, secured passage of Reaganomics, all while Dems
controlled (with exception of Senate in last instance).

fwiw: US Senate will be 50-50 if dot.com Dem millionaire Maria Cantwell's
win in Washington state is certified (and I think her narrow win against
incumbent Slade Gorton has stood up following recount).

Filibuster has become standard procedure in US Senate although there are
few instances of members reading Washington, D.C. phone book late into
nite anymore.  Today, filibuster of bill is announced and Senate goes on
to other matters until 60 votes (number needed to invoke "cloture" to
stop filibuster) are assembled to continue debate on said legislation.

Also, individual Senators are free to place "legislative hold" on a
bill (usually involves phone call to respective party's leader) which
means member is expressing personal objection to given proposal.  Since
much Senate business is conducted by unanimous consent - all senators
agreeing to allow bill to come to vote - single senator can block
legislation.      Michael Hoover

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