Liberal Democrats Form A Hell No Caucus To Block Republicans In The Senate

elizabeth warren bernie sanders hell no liberal caucus

Liberal Democrats flexed their muscles by coming together to block approval of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Last night’s vote was the first move by a group of Democrats that are set to give Senate Republicans major headaches over the next two years.

Politico reported,

The defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline in the Senate marked a major show of muscle for next year’s new hell-no caucus: liberals.

It was a remarkable move for a group that has stood behind Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over the years, as he sought to protect vulnerable moderates, like Landrieu and some of her now-ousted colleagues, from taking tough votes on divisive environmental, health care and social issues.

But red-state Democrats like Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska are on their way out, and liberals like Jeff Merkley, Bernie Sanders and Sheldon Whitehouse — with Elizabeth Warren leading the way on messaging — may cause as many headaches for Senate Republicans as tea partyers caused Democrats in the past four years.

The good news that comes from being in the Senate minority is that the Democrats who are still there are much more liberal and will play a bigger role in the caucus. Bernie Sanders, who is an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Jeff Merkley are just four of the members of the Democratic caucus will play a larger role in shaping policy. The Democrats no longer have to protect and cater to red state Democrats.

For every Keystone XL that will pass with the support of oil and gas state Democrats, there are three Republican bills that won’t. The Hell No caucus isn’t going to obstruct everything, but they are going stand up for the principles and values of the left.

For example, Senate Republican attacks on regulations that protect the environment are going to be in trouble. Anything that tries to expand Citizens United will likely die, tax reform disguised as a gift to the wealthy will not go very far.

The rules of the Senate make it impossible for Mitch McConnell to do what John Boehner is doing in the House. In the Senate, the minority has power and rights. Republicans abused this power to stop the Senate from functioning. The liberals are promising not to do the same, but life is about to get very difficult for Mitch McConnell and company.

The rise of the Senate liberals in combination with President Obama’s leftward shift may result in the Republican congressional majority being boxed in.

Senate liberals are leading the fight towards 2016, and yesterday’s rejection of Keystone XL was a warning shot designed to let Republicans know that there is a new day coming.

*** Note: The Hell No caucus isn’t an official Senate group, but a collection of liberals who have a set of common ideas that will more often than not vote together.

35 Replies to “Liberal Democrats Form A Hell No Caucus To Block Republicans In The Senate”

  1. But there are still enough weak kneed dummycrats to give the teahadist a veto proof majority. We shall see if we have any party discipline.

  2. I didn’t know until this morning on The Bill Press Show as pointed out by Rep. Kildee (Michigan) that the Keystone bill states that if there are any leaks the company is not responsible for the cleanup. We are so screwed since it will pass in January 2015.

  3. Just read an article saying that Rand Paul
    voted against reforming the NSA. Am I losing it?
    I thought Rand Paul was one of the greatest
    critics of the NSA and its overreach.

  4. Yes but the blatant cynicism will only turn off independents, as more Democratic Senate Kabuki actions (Landrieu likely knew from the start that her call to allow the Keystone project’s passage would fail to muster the required votes to pass, making the vote consequence free for her, as she can just blame the Hell No caucus) paint them as just the same as republicans who voted for the abolishment of the ACA, knowing full well the program wasn’t in any danger of repeal. What needs to happen to change this dynamic is red state democrats taking anti-conservative positions and standing on principle, not acting as craven cowards, afraid to lose their seats for taking principled stands. Then we’ll have a clear delineation of the parties, and their messages. Til then, its “same-old, same-old.”

  5. And why would you believe anything Aqua Buddha say? Show me any issue and you will find he came out on both sides of the issue

  6. Its true because the oil lobby had tar sands not classified as an oil.I always wondered about that town in Arkansas that had a major tar sands spill? I wonder if it was ever cleaned up

  7. He has to lie because he’s thinking of running for president. Yeah okay little man. You will never ever be a president of anything. The boy is constantly plagiarizing! Has no vision of anything positive. He is just a blathering mouthpiece jumping left to right wherever he thinks the votes will go. I do not trust this man as far as I can throw him. He ran from the immigrants! The minute he gets in he would give businesses the right to deny service to blacks Mexicans etc. He is another liar on the right who is just dying to be a president for no good reason but to their draconian religious controlling BS on us. Fk that!

  8. I do understand the reason for Harry Reid’s having to “protect” the blue dog Dems, but those bastards are gone or going now. I am SO happy to see this happening and I WILL support every Democrat in this HELL NO! caucus and I will NOT support those not involved.

    Better late than never, Democrats –

    Do not give them a goddamn inch!

  9. Finally, I love it!!! On another page called Buzzflash there is an excellent piece on McConnel and his being involved in the drug trade. THROUGH HIS FAMILY. HIS wife’s NAME IS CHAO the Chao family makes their money from shipping mainly(Coal)The same coal Mitch had no regulations on. Now the family is involved in also shipping Cocaine. Found 90 pounds in the hold, worth 65 million. Watch the video!!Will Mitch evade, how will Mitch evade? He just became speaker of the Senate!!! The choa family ( father in law) gave Mitch millions. beside money for his elections.

  10. The republican congress can pass all the bills they want on the Keystone XL pipeline. They do not have the authority to authorize it, or approve it. That lies solely on the Executive Branch. It’s obvious that republicans have no clue what civics are.

  11. What he did was defuse a 2016 primary attack that he knows will be leveled at Ted Cruz: “He voted with Obama and the Democrats to weaken national security to help ISIS terrorists”. Paul’s trying to have it both ways and he always has, while the Democrats are the ones pushing for NSA reform.

    No, the parties are not the same on civil liberties. And in the end, Rand Paul sided with the GOP because in the end, he’s a typical wingnut Republican. So don’t tell me he’s a “champion of civil liberties” when given the only real political opportunity for advocating for meaningful NSA reform ahead of an incoming GOP Senate that won’t even take a vote on the NSA in the next two years, he instead was a coward and a Glibertarian douchebag.

  12. Hey that got to eat. Now if they didn’t eat their own democratic base maybe they would still be Senators

  13. I must caution you on something….
    Last year, Sen. McConnell was asked what he’d do as Majority Leader. While he was coy about it, correctly claiming that “we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it”, he did admit what he’d do first: “nuke” the filibuster. You see, if the filibuster is gone, then the Democrats can’t do the same things he did to them for the past eight years.
    Of course, if he and the GOP do nuke the filibuster, it’ll yet be more proof of one of the 10 Tenets of the GOP: hypocrisy.
    BTW: in 2005, when the GOP had control of the Senate, they came up with the “nuclear option” for the filibuster and used it as a sword of Damacles to threaten the Democrats into not employing the insurrectionist and seditious obstruction that they, the GOP, have done since they lost the Senate majority. While the Democrats back then got the message, the GOP had no problem being huge hypocrites when they lost the majority.

  14. I had no doubt Feinstein and Boxer would vote NO and both will continue to block everything.
    Don’t mess with the California liberals

  15. All that will happen is that obstruction will be turned against the dems in 2016. Here is my preview of 2016 should Hillary run 1)Benghazi 2)Monica 3)Obama. Repeat a million times and along with voter suppression, Citizens United, another supreme court appointment or 2 (remember how old those justices are and Ginsberg has cancer) and you can see the future. And the repubs control 30 state governments and the popular vote doesn’t count for a hill of beans, they just elect delegates to the electoral college. You saw it here first folks, any repub seeking re-election has to repeat is “Benghazi, Monica and Obama” about a million times. They’re a lock on 2016 already.

  16. I went and did a little research.

    JOHN ROBERTS 59 – Will probably serve until AT LEAST 2035. With todays advanced health care he could easily serve to 100 yrs old. Remember, he’s there for a lifetime.
    STEPHEN BREYER – 86 How much longer can he hang on? 2 more years under Obama + 8 under a repub Pres. He would 96 by 2025.
    RUTH GINSBERG – 81 Has cancer. Even if she dies her seat will sit vacant until after 2016 because does anybody out here think McConnell will allow Obama to put another justice on the court?
    ANTONIN SCALIA – 78 Will probably serve another 10 years but would probably take a meeting about resigning should the rpubs take the white house and keep control of the senate in 2016. Good rpubs step out of the way when their party asks.
    Anthony Kennedy – 78 Probably will die holding that seat. No replacement until after the 2016 election.
    I’m running out of room so I’ll cover the youngsters next.

  17. On we go!
    CLARENCE THOMAS – 66 Will probably serve for another 20 years or more.
    SAMUEL ALITO – 64 Will probably serve for another 20 years or more
    2 die hard, democrat hating repubs that will be there until at least 2035.
    SONIA SOTOMAYOR – 60 Probably a permanent minority on the court. How long do you stay if everything you try to do is shot down on a 5 – 4 vote? Frustration has to set in sometime.
    And the baby of the group ELANA KAGAN – 54 She will serve in the minority (probably) until at least 2050.
    The point is that the next president will probably appoint 4 justices in his/her first term. And when you control the supreme court you control the whole govt. This is what the dems should be running on in 2016, but they wont because they’re cowards. In 2016 they are going to be running away from “Benghazi, Monica and Obama”. And just like in 2014 they will lose their A**.

  18. props to you kids. thom hartmann gave you guys a shout out and referred to this today.

    lets see if any of the few progs in the house and senate get a backbone, and do the dance of the filibuster and defecation on anything gop…

    but we know all these progs need to spend 1/3 or more of their time raising money, so we’ll see…

    i for one hope for a serious ersatz civil war, in d.c…. its time for a complete meltdown. then we’ll see who gets the blame…

  19. I listened to Paul Rands interview on Bill Maher’s Real Time, based on his discussion with Bill you would have thought he was a centralist, progressive. Bill even suggested he would vote for him if Paul continued to act as he portrayed himself in the interview. I was flabbergasted and confused.

  20. “Before November 2013, Senate rules required a 3/5s vote of “duly chosen and sworn” members of Senate – (usually 60 votes) to end debate on a bill, nomination or other proposal; they also require a two-thirds vote (“present and voting” – 67 or fewer votes) for a change to the Senate rules. Those rules effectively allowed a minority of the Senate to block a bill or nomination through the technique of the filibuster. This had resulted in a de facto requirement that a nomination have the support of 60 Senators to pass, rather than a majority of 51. A three-fifths vote is still required to end debates on legislation and Supreme Court nominations.

    On November 21, 2013, the Senate voted 52-48, with all Republicans and 3 Democrats voting against, to eliminate the use of the filibuster against all executive branch nominees and judicial nominees other than to the Supreme Court.”

  21. This is one thing this bloc could push and it would be backed by the majority of Americans

    Give Americans A $2,000 Check From “Deferred” Corporate Taxes
    U.S. multinational corporations are hoarding an estimated $2 trillion “offshore” to take advantage of a loophole in our tax laws. At our 35 percent top federal corporate tax rate, that represents up to $700 billion in taxes owed but “deferred” because they are “offshore.” This is not imaginary or future money; it is taxes owed on $2 trillion of profits these companies have already made. Who should get this money?
    Read More

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