April 12, 2005

2 GOP Allied Groups at Odds With Senate GOP on Filibusters

The National Right to Work Committee and Gun Owners of America are opposed to the Republican “Nuclear Option” on President Bush’s judicial nominees.

WASHINGTON - Two groups normally allied with Republicans have bolted from the party's effort to ban judicial filibusters — the first major defections from a conservative push to prevent Senate Democrats from blocking President Bush's judicial nominees.

The National Right to Work Committee, a 2.2 million-member group critical of unions, and the Gun Owners of America, with 300,000 members, say they fear eliminating judicial filibusters could eventually lead to doing away with filibusters altogether.
They fear that Republicans are going to lose their majorities in Congress one day and they might need the filibuster to block improved union policy and sensible gun laws.

Both groups have benefited in the past from use of the Senate parliamentary tactic to block gun control and labor bills. A filibuster technically is unlimited debate, and requires 60 votes from the 100-member Senate to stop. [...]

But National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix said in a letter last month to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., that the filibuster "has been and remains a vital safety net" for his group.

"If a bare majority of senators vote now to eliminate judicial filibusters, legislative filibusters will not stand for long," Mix predicted. "We would be extremely foolhardy to stand by while anyone, regardless of how good their intentions, proceeds to tear holes in it."

Larry Pratt, executive director of the Gun Owners of America, said filibusters like the one performed by Jimmy Stewart in the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" are worth protecting. "We think it's kind of nice to have these traditions that have protected good guys and bad guys," he said in an interview.
The Republicans believe they are never going to be in the minority again, at least some conseratives are not drinking the kool-aid and are looking towards the future of Democratic majorities.


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