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Not-So-Random Numbers

OK, we have our new Congress, and Speaker Boehner holds the big gavel. There's a new sheriff in town, and things are gonna be different. But let's keep some very important numbers in mind.

218: The number of Representatives required to pass a bill out of the House.
242: The number of Republican Representatives in the House.
193: The number of Democrats in the House of Representatives.
290: The number of Representatives needed to override a presidential veto.

51: The official number of Democrats in the Senate.
53:
The effective number of Democrats in the Senate.
47: The number of Republicans in the Senate.
50: The technical number of Senators required to pass a measure (presuming the Vice President is present and favors the measure).
60: The practical number of Senators needed to pass a measure that is staunchly opposed by a unified group.
67:
The number of Senators needed to override a presidential veto:

1: The number of Democratic presidents who sign or veto bills passed by both Houses.
0: The number of Republican presidents who sign or veto bills passed by both Houses.

Under the current Congressional makup, the Republicans have the numbers to pass whatever the hell they want. But they need to persuade a minimum of 3-4 Democrats to get that bill through the Senate and to the president. And should he veto the measure, they will need at least 38 Democrats -- one out of five -- to get it overridden in the House. In the Senate, it's even more daunting -- they will have to win over two out of every five Democratic Senators to override that veto.

On the other hand, in order to get their way, the Democrats will have to peel off 25 Republican Representatives and seven Senators -- or one in ten and one in seven.

Of course, that is strictly on a partisan basis. Not all votes will fall on a purely partisan basis.

But with all the hoopla about the Republicans, it's worth noting that the Democrats -- who held took both Houses of Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008 -- still hold the reins of power.  That hasn't stopped them from blaming the Republicans for everything, and it certainly won't stop them from continuing to do so now that the Republicans took back one House.

Just keep those numbers in mind. The Republicans' power is largely negative now; they can't do anything constructive without the assent of at least some Democrats. But they can effectively check the Democrats from doing things -- because the Democrats will need to sway at least a relatively small number of Republicans to get their items through.

So, we have two likely outcomes to the situation: a Congress that learns to put partisanship aside, at least some of the time, or a deadlocked government that ends up doing very, very little.

Personally, I don't see much of a downside to either outcome.

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Comments (15)

Negative power works for me... (Below threshold)
TexBob:

Negative power works for me. Time to slam the brakes & put the car in R for reverse!!!!

Fortunately, negative power... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:

Fortunately, negative power is all that we really need. Just inform the Democrats that if they want to have any budget passed, they will have to give up some of their toys. If they aren't willing to give up some of their toys, then they will be forced to give up all of them.

I doubt the politics surrounding a government shutdown are the same today as they were in the 1990s.

Deadlocked is the state whi... (Below threshold)
Pile of Pooh:

Deadlocked is the state which the Constitution intends for Congress. By design, it is supposed to be very difficult to get bills passed into law. Because when it's easy, Bad Things happen -- like ObamaCare.

"...a deadlocked government... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"...a deadlocked government that ends up doing very, very little."

Just think of all the damage THEY CAN'T DO!

Under the current Congre... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Under the current Congressional makup, the Republicans have the numbers to pass whatever the hell they want.

Don't count on it. Republicans have a smaller majority than the dems did and they don't have presidential veto power. There are plenty of dems angry at republican obstructionism over the last 2 years and I expect a significant number of dems will be bent on getting back at republicans for it.

Tina S. what planet do you ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Tina S. what planet do you live on. It didn't matter what the republicans wanted in the last two sessions. The democratic rule committee just about excluded input from minority members, etc. Read JT's post again. You missed some things or you are not bright.

JT, if the republicans play this right, 2012 will be totally republican in both houses and the white one. ww

Tina S wrote:<blockqu... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

Tina S wrote:

There are plenty of dems angry at republican obstructionism over the last 2 years and I expect a significant number of dems will be bent on getting back at republicans for it.

You're misreading the tea leaves. The surviving Democrats have taken notice of the huge November, 2010 backlash to their arrogance. We're going to see more and more Dems breaking rank because it's clear that what the voters want.

Pelosi had the worst showing for a Speaker candidate among party members in nearly 90 years. The rats are already leaving the sinking ship.

Poor Nancy. Going to have ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Poor Nancy. Going to have to fly commercial now.

I hope for Her sake Nancy h... (Below threshold)
914:

I hope for Her sake Nancy has her broomstick all gassed up. Or, perhaps She could ride coach for free on Tina's.

@ Tina,Did you jus... (Below threshold)
Pile of Pooh:

@ Tina,

Did you just stop reading at that sentence? He meant they could get anything passed through the House. The very next sentence goes on to talk about the fact that the Republicans have to sway Dems in the Senate to get anything through it. And the very next sentence after that one talks about the fact that they don't have the votes to override a veto.

Try getting ALL of the information (in this case, reading the entire post) before wagging your tongue; it cuts way down on that "looking like an asinine tool" factor. Try it! Pass it on to your friends! You'll be astonished at how much more intelligent you appear.

There are plenty o... (Below threshold)
Eric:
There are plenty of dems angry at republican obstructionism over the last 2 years and I expect a significant number of dems will be bent on getting back at republicans for it.

TinaS, you have fallen victim to Democrat propaganda. Simply put, the Democrats have lied to you and you lapped it up like a puppy. The Republicans have not had the power to obstruct anything for the last two years.

Q: How many Republicans in the House and Senate voted in favor of the Healthcare bill?

A: 0, none, nada. In fact, 34 Democrats voted against the bill in the House. So with 100% of the House and Senate Republicans plus 34 House Democrats voting against the bill, it passed anyway. The Republicans didn't obstruct that, with 100% of them voting against it.

Q: How many Republicans in the House and Senate voted in favor of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009?

A: 3, and one of them changed party to become a Democrat shortly afterward. So all but three Republicans in the House and Senate voted against the ARRA, and yet it passed anyway. The Republicans didn't obstruct that with nearly 100% of them voting against it.

"a deadlocked government th... (Below threshold)
retired military:

"a deadlocked government that ends up doing very, very little."

Hey that is a win. Especially if Nancy Pelosi isnt speaker.

If I were Boehner I would make the Senate vote on the health care repeal and not pass anything else out of the house until they DO vote on it one way or another.

After it gets voted down in the senate then do busines for a month or so and then pass the healthcare repeal again and tell the Senate nothing passes out of the House until the healthcare repeal is voted on one way or the other.

Continue to do that. Continue to have the dems vote for Obamacare time and time again.
And even if the Senate does vote to overturn it (but they wont) then let Obama veto it time and time again.


Tina...Nah, forget... (Below threshold)

Tina...

Nah, forget it. I can't add a damned thing to what Pile said. I didn't explicitly say "pass whatever they want IN THE HOUSE," but the next sentences spelled out that that was what I meant.

Thanks, Pile.

J.

Perhaps some diagrams, sche... (Below threshold)
Drago:

Perhaps some diagrams, schematics and color coding would help Tina follow the conversation?

Maybe she's a "visual" vice "written word" type of "learner".....

Maybe if JT used smaller wo... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Maybe if JT used smaller words and shorter sentences that would help Tina S.? We don't want to lose her? ww




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