The Lie: Obama’s Free Rein Democratic-Controlled 111th Congress


Republicans say President Obama had a Democratic majority in congress during his first two years as president, and this much is true. Republicans also say that Obama had free rein to pass anything he wanted during that 111th Congress when Democrats held control of both the Senate and the House, but is this true?


What Republicans don’t tell you is that they have filibustered nearly everything that President Obama and Democrats have tried to do since the moment Obama took office in January 2009. Because of the threat of Republican filibuster, that means Democrats needed a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the Senate. Republican memory might be fuzzy but my memory is clear. Democrats only had a 60-vote majority in the Senate for a relatively short time. The number is five months, and this includes when congress was not in session. The Democrats could have pushed anything through congress for a total of five months (when in session), but that assumed that all Democrats (and two Independents) were in agreement. So when Republicans say it was two years, they are wrong and they know it.

Democrats had a 60-vote majority from July 7, 2009 to August 25, 2009 and again from September 25, 2009 to February 4, 2010. You can refer to this Wikipedia chart for confirmation. As Doug Mataconis explains it over at Outside the Beltway:

To the extent there was a filibuster proof majority in the Senate it lasted during two brief periods which lasted for a total of just over five months when counted altogether (and Congress was in its traditional summer recess for most of the July-August 2009 time frame).

It’s important to keep this fact in mind when discussing what could have happened in the 111th Congress. – Did The Democrats Ever Really Have 60 Votes In The Senate, And For How Long?

Republicans don’t tell you the whole story. They want you to believe that Democrats had free rein to pass anything they wanted during Obama’s first two years. What Republicans fail to tell you is that anything Democrats wanted to pass needed to overcome a Republican filibuser. Details matter. Facts matter.

– Beat that with a stick –

Right-Wing Lies: A Left Call series debunking the mountain of conservative and Republican lies, one-at-a-time.

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