Thursday, December 28, 2006

Johnson's Condition Still Critical

There has been very little news as of late on the condition of Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), which is noteworthy because of the potential outcome his health could have on control of the U.S. Senate. An AP report today says he's still in critical condition in the intensive care unit, and he has not spoken since being hospitalized two weeks ago for emergency surgery to repair a brain hemorrhage. Although his doctor reports his condition is improving, he has been sedated for two weeks--longer than usual according to at least one medical expert. What is clear is he will not be present when the new Congress convenes in January. That means Democrats will lack a majority, or 51 votes, to do business.


Anonymous said...

This reminds me of this situation HERE

Ariel Sharon had a massive stroke, while Sen. Johnson basically had what amounts to an aneurysm. The result is the same - long term coma. PM Sharon is going on a year since his stroke and has yet to awaken and frankly may never. The same might occur with Sen. Johnson.

Anonymous said...

A "majority" and "51 votes" are not the same thing. If 100 Senators were present, the Democrats would have a two-vote margin, 51-49. If Johnson is absent and the other 99 Senators are all present, the Democrats can conduct business by a 50-49 margin. Clearly, that is a razor thin margin, but it is still a valid majority. The Democrats will lose their majority only if Johnson dies, resigns, or is removed from office and is replaced by a Republican. If Johnson's illness meant that Harry Reid would not be elected majority leader next week, don't you think the article would have noted that?

Gary R. Welsh said...

John M, my comment was not in reference to the election of the Majority Leader, which the Rs wouldn't contest. It is in reference to passing anything. It takes 51 votes to pass legislation.

Anonymous said...

Senate Rules require a majority to pass leadership elections.

Some inane items do not require 51 votes. But most legislation of meaning, which accomplishes anything, requires 51 votes.

And if you think there aren't some moderate Republicans who are bargaining like hell behind the scenes, you're wrong.

Sen. Frist is getting out just in time. (Was it EVER his time?) (Lord help us from wealthy doctors who try to lead, ala Bowen...)

And if the Republicans tried to challenge the Majority Leader election, they'd look opportunistic as hell. They don't need any more bad PR this week. Gerry Ford's ghost handled that.

Anonymous said...

"It takes 51 votes to pass legislation"

I thought it took a majority vote, which would be more than half.

Half of 99 is 49.5.

50 is more than half (49.5).

Wilson46201 said...

All it takes to pass legislation is the majority of Senators present and voting (assuming there is a quorum). Let's not bring up cloture and filibuster since we all know the contemporary oh-so-noble Republicans would never stoop to such distasteful tactics, would they now?

Anonymous said...

Current Senate rules require 51 votes for many items, Wilson.

Sad, but true.

But they can meet, organize and vote on many mundane things with 99 senators.

I am betting no one's going to touch this Johnson tenure witih a 10-ft. pole. Absollutely no winners on this one.

And, Delay, the most hateful man to occupy a Congressional seat in decades, is from the other HOuse, and gone now.

The Senate is typically more congenial.

Anonymous said...

Let's not bring up cloture and filibuster since we all know the contemporary oh-so-noble Republicans would never stoop to such distasteful tactics, would they now?

Whatever happened to little Billy?

Wasn't that used by Ted *hiccup* Kennedy during his FILIBUSTER of the GWB federal appointees the Dems were blocking in the Senate? Remember it took the moderate Dems "the Gang of 14" to resolve to allow the appointments to come up for a up or down vote and halt the filibustering.

Anonymous said...

I hope we filibuster the sh*t out of anything and everything the Dems try.

If they want a minimum wage hike, filibuster it.

If they want an increase in medicare/medicate benefits, filibuster it.

Filibuster everything we possibly can unless the Dems agree to let ALL of Bush's judicial nominees through.