The politics of delay

A showdown in the US Senate over the filibuster illuminated both a political tactic painfully familiar to the oil and gas industry and a reason for the industry not to feel alone. The tactic is delay. Senate Democrats, frustrated by inaction on several of President Barack Obama's Executive-branch nominations awaiting confirmation, proposed a change that would have required a simple minority to allow nominations of that type to move to a vote. The current requirement for 60 of 100 possible votes to end filibusters keeps the minority party from being stampeded but has been used with increasing frequency in recent years. Democrats call that obstructionism. When Republicans controlled the Sen...

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