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Monday, December 17, 2012

State Senate Dems Reject "Bipartisan" Coup, Propose True Power Sharing

Posted by on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 5:26 PM

In a series of statements and letters issued today, state Senator Ed Murray (D-Seattle) rejected the organizational structure proposed by the so-called "Majority Coalition Caucus," while offering a bipartisan power sharing proposal of his own.

"It is clear to us that the Senate is in a virtual tie and that the organizational structure should reflect this," Murray wrote in a prepared statement. "We propose a structure of co-leadership and co-chairs of all committees. We would support Republicans and they would support us in a true bipartisan arrangement with true sharing of power and responsibilities."

The proposal follows an earlier letter (PDF) to Senator Rodney Tom (?-Medina) in which Murray rejects the organizational structure offered by the Republicans, as well as Tom's premature claim to be majority leader.

Murray points out that under current and past Senate rules, the majority caucus is defined as "the party containing the most elected members," which currently is the Democrats, and thus the Democratic Caucus elects the majority leader. In other words, Murray is still the majority leader, at least until the Senate convenes in January.

In my counsel’s interpretation of Senate rules, accomplishing the ends that you and the Republicans seek requires a change in the permanent rules of the Senate to redefine what a majority caucus is, as well as a change to the current governance structure to recognize a new position of Senate leader with as-yet unknown authority, duties and responsibilities. After discussions with Lt. Gov. Owen, it is my understanding that his interpretation of current Senate rules is consistent with this interpretation and, until such time as the Senate rules are changed, that he will continue to recognize the Democratic Caucus as the majority caucus of the Senate. It is also my understanding that he has advised the Republican leadership of this interpretation.

Murray goes on to call out Tom's proposed "bipartisan" committee structure for the sham it is:

I would note that members of our caucus reject the notion that both you and Sen. Sheldon are, under your proposed structure, designated as Democrats for committee membership allocation purposes, even while you intend to organize and caucus with the other 23 elected Republican members of the Senate. For example, we recognize that this would provide the Republicans with an effective 12-7 majority on the Rules Committee, as well as a 3-1 majority on the very important energy committee with Sen. Sheldon as one of the “Democratic” members.

Tom, Sheldon and the Republicans went out of their way to advertise their coup as a "bipartisan" coalition, when in fact it is anything but: It's Tom, Sheldon, and all 23 members of the Republican caucus. But Murray's response puts the lie to this claim, while backing Tom and Sheldon into a corner. Either the "coalition" unilaterally rewrites the Senate rules—an unprecedented exercise fraught with all kinds of unexpected consequences—or Tom and Sheldon officially become Republicans by joining their caucus. Either way the veneer of bipartisanship is stripped away.

Or, of course, if they're really more interested in bipartisanship than just a crass power grab, they could always accept Murray's power sharing proposal. But I wouldn't count on it.


Comments (18) RSS

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JonnoN 1
"our caucus reject the notion that both you and Sen. Sheldon are, under your proposed structure, designated as Democrats"

wow I missed that before. how slimy of them.
Posted by JonnoN on December 17, 2012 at 5:33 PM · Report this
Go get 'em, Ed!
Posted by gloomy gus on December 17, 2012 at 5:41 PM · Report this
Ed's pen is mightier than the sword.
Posted by originalcinner on December 17, 2012 at 5:47 PM · Report this
I am seeing Ed deeper than before he was majority (?) leader. I know he wants to be mayor, but He is a refreshing change from Frank Chopp. Too bad he can't stick around as long.
Posted by wl on December 17, 2012 at 8:21 PM · Report this
I guess the Tomicans didn't really want to share power after all. I am shocked. You mean they really only wanted bipartisan cover for their antics?
Posted by teacherguy on December 17, 2012 at 8:35 PM · Report this

Normally one would expect Democrats would be in favor of this Europeanized Parlimentaryesque coalition forming move.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on December 17, 2012 at 8:58 PM · Report this
Great move on Ed's part. Call their bluff. Either they switch labels and become rethugs in name as well as deed or they caucus with the party they campaigned as members of. And, in either case, they lose their sudden power broker status.
Posted by gnossos on December 17, 2012 at 8:58 PM · Report this
oh and @4: I agree. Ed's already showing more spine than Chopp. I hope he decides to stay in Oly, we need him there more than we do here.
Posted by gnossos on December 17, 2012 at 9:00 PM · Report this
MrBaker 9
Not going to have cake and eat it, too, rule.
Posted by MrBaker on December 17, 2012 at 9:10 PM · Report this
MrBaker 10
@6, they are, but that's not what the Republicans are offering.
Posted by MrBaker on December 17, 2012 at 9:13 PM · Report this
Wow. Way to go, Ed! The ball is now in the DINOs' court.
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on December 17, 2012 at 9:27 PM · Report this

The background behind all of this is the 8 years of citizens voting for a 2/3rds majority for raising taxes.

Each and every time the "representative" government of Democrats has fought the will of the people on tax increases.

The current party system forces a choice between socially conservative Republicans and tax-hungry Democrats.

This is the opposite of what people want.

They want socially progressive politicians but do not want centrist high tax governance.

So, the worst that could happen for the power brokers is for the moderate ends of each party to come together and form a Great Middle that is truly representative of the people. At that point the game is over...and a really representative, middle of the road, local based political coalition is born.

Move over wingnuts and urbists, your reign is ended...welcome back to Eisenhower Republicanism.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on December 17, 2012 at 10:44 PM · Report this
Bailo, when Eisenhower was President, the high-earner tax was in the 70 percentile. These Republicans and the people who vote for them have nothing in common with Eisenhower Republicans, nor are they in any way moderates.

Posted by sarah70 on December 17, 2012 at 10:56 PM · Report this
LEE. 14

"welcome back to Eisenhower Republicanism."

wait...does that mean a return to 91% tax rates on the highest earners in the state?
Posted by LEE. on December 17, 2012 at 10:57 PM · Report this
What the people want is all their social services, and more funding for schools, without more taxes.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on December 18, 2012 at 1:01 AM · Report this
@12 Eisenhower was a Republican who believed in massive 'big government' projects like the Interstate Highway System -and the taxes to pay for them - plus progressive social policies like school desegregation. Today's Republicans have nothing in common with Ike.
Posted by SuperSteve on December 18, 2012 at 8:05 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 17
@12: you say "tax-hungry democrats", i say responsible legislators who don't want to cut the budget to the bone as it will harm the state. as it is already doing - come out of your bunker & look at UW tuition and the condition of our roads.
Posted by Max Solomon on December 18, 2012 at 9:17 AM · Report this
Time for these two d-bags to stop playing with people. If they do a party switch, maybe they'll exercise control, but that's better than this "have their cake and eat it, too" bs they're currently trying to assert. Moments like Kastama's crap last session and these two are pleasurable because we finally see a moment where people in the party demonstrate some intestinal fortitude. Treat them like the exiled d-bags they aspire to be. No more D money or support in any way for these f-wads.
Posted by floofy on December 19, 2012 at 2:56 AM · Report this

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