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.

Full story

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

    THey couldn't get their act together with 60 Senators, and they have nobody to blame but themselves

    January 6, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. Chris - Denver

    Yeah, I think we can safely say the 60-seat majority is gone, thanks to the short attention span of the American voter. I agree that the Democrats have not done a good enough job of cleaning up the mess left behind by the Republicans. But to think that the solution involves going back to the failed policies of the Republicans is to me just unfathomable.

    January 6, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. Dar

    You think you Dems are strugging now, just wait until 2010/2012

    January 6, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. dg

    good,now we are seeing some sense in govt, get the loser liberals out

    January 6, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. mavcal

    The only reason any of Obama's grand ideas are passing through Congress is because Democrats hold the majority – if they didn't Obama's grandiose ideas would be frozen in time.

    January 6, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    democrats won't have as big a problem as these republican backed news sources think. after the health bill passes and the president makes our nation safer and the republicans eat each other ,before any election . the democrats will do fine .. so the media can think what ever it wants . it has been wrong more than it has been right . networks are owned and run by republican big business . so what do you exspect to be bomb barded with , same as posting anything from dick cheney and his wacko daughter .. ofcoures she is going to side with her wacko father . wouldn't most humans ? 🙂

    January 6, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  7. obama the liar

    this looks like the resurrection of America from a close call of socialism

    January 6, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. Gary

    Why as always are you slanting this story in favor of the repubs. They have just as many seats to defend and just as many if not more senators retiring. Cnn should try to at least appear to be impartial.

    January 6, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. Dennis in AZ

    Both Democrats and Republicans should fear the 2010 election. If the system hasn't been corrupted by election rigging and voting machines from China or Mexico, we should be seeing a major turnover. My only hope is that with the glut of previously elected politicians in the country, we don't shoot ourselves in the foot re-electing more of the stupid or corrupt, or just plain theives that have been in Washington, DC before. Electing local dummies to higher office isn't necessarily a good idea either–the issues just aren't the same. Electing scholars to serve tends to leave the country with too liberal leadership spending money we just don't have anymore. How about we elect honest men or women who aren't tainted by the soil of corruption–oops! That's what they did in Iran, and look at what happened there!

    January 6, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Sarah

    Rats abandoning a sinking ship.

    January 6, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. mjm

    60 votes are critical to passing bills? Since when did this become the norm?

    Other admins and congresses were able to pass legislation without supper majorities because they put together solid bills.

    That should be the real story Alan Silverleib....you hack (moderate THAT!)

    If they need 60 to pass it's because the bill is terrible. Considering the Democrats need to buy off their own people, it's only going to get worse. Democrats will hold out for the highest bidder before they vote for now on.

    I don't know what is more disgusting. CNN's reporting or the 111th Congress.

    January 6, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. Four and The Door

    The fight over health care reform has clearly demonstrated that 60 votes is now the minimum threshold for passing major legislation through the Senate.
    I do not agree at all. If the Democrats had listened to the American people and come up with a bill that actually does reform health care and starting by lowering the cost instead of doing things that just raise the cost, Republicans would absolutely have supported that legislation.

    With the Health Insurance Bureaucracy Act being proposed, they couldn't even get all of the Democrats on board without buying their votes with rediculous, expensive bribes.

    With a 60 vote supermajority, America gets the worst of what Democrats can slap together.

    January 6, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. rick Fitts

    Wow. I thought Dick Cheney was the last person on Earth whose opinion was important to me. I was wrong!

    January 6, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. Jim

    Dorgan is actually a bigger loss than Dodd. Dorgan's seat was considered by most to be safe, whiel Dodd was pretty much set to lose. There will be a nu,ber of really close states to watch this year on both sides. Right now, I'd move ND to the Reps and Ct to the Dems, but other ones to keep an eye on are Delaware, Ohio, FL (if Rubio wins the GOP Primary), NH, Colo, and MO.

    January 6, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Obama Victim

    it is over for Obummer...........can you say "Jimmy Carter"......guess that hope and change just didn't work out........oh, that's right...there was no change

    January 6, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. steven harnack

    By my calender the 2010 election is still 11 months away.Please stick to current news and leave crystal balls in the carnival.

    January 6, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. cmoore

    The crooks are leaving before they get BOOTED in November!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 6, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    As usual, as soon as the dems have power, they screw it up. It's no wonder that libtarded Obamabots like myself are getting more frustrated as the days go by. Nice job, rocket surgeons. You just blew any chance of positive change in my lifetime. And all for a buck. Disgusting. Have a nice day! 😉

    January 6, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  19. ByeBye

    No chance of winning re-election makes it a great time for Dodd to retire. Do not be sad for Dodd, he gets a nice fat, at tax payer's expense, pension and excellent health coverage.

    January 6, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    "60" would not be so critical if Obama had really tried to reach across the aisle and not just posture to trap his opponents into looking bad.

    Another campaign promise down the tubes. Back to same 'ol same 'ol. Instead of Change.

    January 6, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  21. ladonna

    Ha Ha. Can't wait until the dummycrats lose their majority. Chris Dodd needs to take Barney (the purple dinosaur) Frank with him. Here's hoping Nancy Puke-low-si gets the big boot in her bottom too! They have had the majority, didn't need any republican support and they have still managed to do nothing, just like their lame "I can't give a speech without a teleprompter" president. Hey liberals, how's that "change" working for ya?

    January 6, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. Sgt. USMC

    They need the 60 otherwise say goodbye to progress.

    January 6, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. haren

    Do you know why Michael Steele is not sure of getting majority in congress in 2010?
    Because he knows that as long as Dick Chenney and his ill informed daughter keep spitting venom at president GPO has no chance.

    January 6, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. Ben in Texas

    Democrats have only 58 senators, and some of those are disloyal. The reason there needs to be 60 Democrats is that Repugnants are in Nazi lock-step to try and shut down progress for the next four years, believing America will not notice that they are the Party of No.

    There's no telling now what will happen in the next 2 elections, but Democrats are as likely to increase their numbers as they are to lose members, depending on the economy, the wars, and Guantanamo. However, CNN has to have some salacious or speculative "news" to print everyday, so they feed us meaningless polls or wild speculation. CNN is consequently short-circuiting all the real news that happens in the world daily. For that, one must watch BBC or other international broadcasts.

    January 6, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. Democrati Ignorati

    Regarding the article "Rep Ryan endorses Rubio"...

    Rep Paul Ryan is from Wisconsin

    Rep Tim Ryan is from Ohio

    Next time, do some fact checking, CNN.

    January 6, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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