Thursday, June 14, 2012

The truth about "Obama controlled congress..."

We often hear the claim from Republicans that President Obama had control of Congress for his first two years and yet "failed" to solve the problems brought about by the recession and the policies of the previous administration.  This claim implies that anything that Obama might have proposed should have been enacted because he had "control" of both houses of Congress.  This is seldom if ever refuted by the so-called liberal main-stream media.

The claim is simply UNTRUE.  Anyone who follows politics and legislation, watches or reads the news, or has taken civics in the past several decades knows that nobody controls the Senate unless one caucus holds 60 votes, the number of votes needed to break a filibuster.  In all of the 111th Congress (Obama's first two years), the Democratic caucus held more than 59 votes for only 77 session days.

Democrats did not hold 60 votes until Al Franken was sworn in on July 7, 2009.  He was the 60th vote.  Ted Kennedy died August 25, 2009, so 59 votes.  Kirk sworn in to replace Kennedy September 24th, so 60 votes again.  Brown sworn in after special election to succeed Kirk for Kennedy's seat on February 4, 2010, so back to 59 votes.

From July 7, 2009 to February 4, 2010, there were only 77 days when the Senate was in session and the Democratic caucus held 60 votes for control of the Senate.

Sources:  Library of Congress' Thomas, The 111th US Congress

Update:  Having heard this claim on SiriusXM's POTUS channel, I tweeted one of the hosts, Karen Finney (@finneyk) to suggest that she not let people get away with this false claim and gave her the above facts.  Ms Finney retweeted my tweet to her more than 13,000 follows.  AND on Friday, June 15th, she was on Bill Maher's Real Time panel on HBO.  Almost immediately one of her co-panelists made the false claim, and she brought up the facts from my tweets.  From my blog to Bill Maher's audience!!