January 6th, 2010
03:25 PM ET
13 years ago

Democrats struggle to hold critical 60-seat Senate majority

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/06/art.caphill0106.gi.jpg caption=" If history is any guide, Democrats now face an uphill struggle to maintain their 60-seat supermajority in the Senate."]
Washington (CNN) - 2010 has opened on an unsettling note for Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

Connecticut's Chris Dodd and North Dakota's Byron Dorgan - two longtime power players in the chamber - have announced their intention to step down at the end of the year. If history is any guide, the party now faces an uphill struggle to maintain its 60-seat supermajority.

Failure to do so could have serious ramifications for President Obama as he tries to look past the health care debate and tackle global warming, ballooning budget deficits and a range of other politically contentious issues.

The fight over health care reform has clearly demonstrated that 60 votes is now the minimum threshold for passing major legislation through the Senate. Anything less leaves the majority party at the mercy of a minority increasingly willing to employ the filibuster to grind the legislative gears of the Senate to a halt.

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Filed under: Byron Dorgan • Chris Dodd • Democrats • Senate
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. dora

    Funny when the shoe was on the other foot for the Republicans, I don't recall any headlines like this....

    January 6, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. Preston k

    Pkm i hope the voters think about if the gop does not get there 60 votes the gop will have a sayso mr obama will have trouble passing any bill to help the poos or middle class Remember health care

    January 6, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. Bingo

    The 60 votes is not the threshold for passing major legislation if it is done in an honest, open and a bipartison basis. It is the threshold to ensure that an oppressive majority party can ram through whatever they want to pass without regard to parlimentary rules, the views and rights of the minority or the wishes of the (majority) of the American people.

    January 6, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. Mike1952

    Wingnut is personally wrecking the democrat party. He's an amatuer and inexperienced leader. He whines about Bush when the going gets tough and hides behind the House and Senate while playing golf and flying around the world to apologize for any and every thng or vacationing. Good riddance to him and the democrats. Not that electing republicans is a lot better. They spent us into a doubling of the deficit from 2001-2009. I'm advocating turning them all out in 2010 and 2012, establishing term limits, putting them all on social securtiy and off their cadillac retirement plan, and removing their free health care benefits. Let them buy their own insurance like the rest of us.

    January 6, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. gt

    this country needs to be govern from the middle,,, not the right,, not the left ... in the middle where most americans are ,,,independents,,,,

    January 6, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. agro21

    All of you Bush, Cheney, Palin, Beck haters, hang on. 2010 is the beginning of the conservative movement which is gonna rock your world!!!

    January 6, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Mark my words: That 60 collapses and ZERO will get done in 2011 and 2012. Think that's bad? Wait until 2015 or so when it finallly catches up with us that we suffered 2 years fo the status quo being "shoved down our throats" (to borrow the GOPers' favorite nonsensical phrase) by a gaggle of ideologically motivated power hungry demogogues.

    January 6, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. SHIRLey Johnson

    I would say that we Conservatives, Independents and Republicans, or whatever we call ourselves when believing that we are a Republic, and not a democracy, MUST balance enactment of laws by taking over the Senate. We must also assure open debate when the majority of our citizens question the appropriateness of approval of any bill. This is OUR country, en masse, not theirs. We need a Senate that will stop catering to themselves instead of all of us.

    January 6, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  9. Mike in MN

    Republicans might not take back the Senate in 2010, but they will increase to at least 43 to 45 votes. Will be a lot harder for Dems to stop a filibuster. But this come 2 years to late to save our nation from the disaster that is being forced down the throats of a majority of voters who do not support the liberal Demcocrat agenda. Serious damage is being done. We can't afford all this spending.

    January 6, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Sue

    Look at the "real" national polls.........Reid is going to go down in 2010 as well.

    Will Reid "retire"--or will he be brave enough to face the anger of the majority of voters---and be FORCED to the unemployment lines.

    The 2010 elections are going to make history.

    Never in the history of our elections/country.........will we see as many Democrats sent to the unemployment lines in one election!!!!

    January 6, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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