The Buzz

Filibuster complaints flip now that Senate control has changed (Updated)

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri plans a news conference today to criticize Senate Democrats for stalling a vote on a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. Democrats are filibustering the measure because it includes language on immigration, to which they object.

Their position may or may not have merit. But Blunt may want to be cautious complaining about a filibuster: records suggest he voted for more filibusters last year than any other senator from Kansas or Missouri.

According to the website kill filibuster, Blunt voted to sustain filibusters 91 times in 2014, a filibuster-support rate of more than 80 percent. Sen. Jerry Moran’s rate was just shy of 70 percent, while Sen. Pat Roberts’ rate was more than 73 percent.

Both are Kansas Republicans.

(UPDATE: Blunt tried to explain the difference on the Senate floor Thursday. The video is here. The explanation comes at roughly 1:50.)

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri backed just one filibuster last year, a rate of less than one percent, the website says.

There’s a reason, of course: McCaskill is a Democrat, and was in the majority party last year. Filibusters are almost always tools used by the minority party.

Democrats wailed when Republicans filibustered important legislation last year, but are now using the tool because they’re in the minority. Last year Republicans said filibusters protect minority rights, but now complain loudly that Democrats are obstructionist.

So there you go.

For the record, here are the career filibuster support rates through the end of last year as compiled by the website:

Blunt: 64.3%

McCaskill: 6.4%

Roberts: 49.3%

Moran: 64.7%

Why is Roberts’ record relatively low? Because he’s been in the Senate long enough to have served in previous GOP majorities, when filibusters weren’t needed on his side of the aisle.

By the way: Utah Sen. Mike Lee is also scheduled to be at Thursday’s newser, complaining about the filibuster. His filibuster support rate is nearly 84 percent, among the highest for any sitting senator.