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. Right Leaning Independent

    Good! We can not afford another 2 years of Dem controlled Senate!! This year is starting off GREAT!!!

    January 6, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Terry from West Texas

    If the Democrats don't increase their hold on the Senate, the Conservatives will put this country through hell. They want the Presidency back, and they know that the more the voters of this nation suffer, the more likely it is that they will turn to Republicans in 2012. Republican leaders go to bed at night praying for a terrorist attack.

    Don't worry, Republicans won't DO anything to harm Americans. But, they will prevent the federal government from doing anything to deal with pressing national problems. As the nation deteriorates, Republicans will be talking death panels, socialism, "soft on terrorism" and lots of other lies.

    Then they will run a campaign of tough-on-terrorism and fiscal responsibility. Then, when elected, they will lower taxes and increase spending, just like in 1980 and 2000.

    January 6, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. George

    I don't see it as much of a struggle. When America realizes that the Republicans are anti America the dems should do just fine. The Republicans are the DEATH PANELS and do not want the uninsured to get insurance. They have voted against everything good for America all year. They are like the pungent odor coming from a sewer pipe.
    AMerica, wake up and put more people in office that care about people, not rich businessmen. Just keep remembering the damage Bush and Chenny did to out country, and vote that that never happens again.

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

    we need to talk with the dem base to understand nothing is going to change unless we stand strong in all elections even midterms we need to GRET UP AND VOTE 2010 OR WE CAN ONLY BLAME OURSELVES IF THE CRAZY REP.GET IN


    January 6, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. haren

    Mark my words democrats will gain absolute majority in both chambers and Moderate/ liberal one in senate.

    January 6, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. LacrosseMom(stuck in moderation)

    Really? "Democrats struggle ......"? How so, they do have a 60-seat majority NOW.

    So what if Dodd & Dorgan wont run again? There will be other candidates to take their places. And Gov. Ritter of Colorado, well, I bet that he may run for the senate.

    CNN don't count chicken that haven't hatched just yet!

    January 6, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. howie

    The Health Care debacle will end the terms of many liberal senators. They simple are not listening to the pulic, the public does NOT want this health package.

    January 6, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Jane/Seattle

    Coincidence? Or just more shenanigans from the Republi-Crats who want to keep their endless JOBS making policy and laws that only the unlawyered have to live with? What was Lie-berman doing in the Democratic Caucas again? Why was he allowed to hold any power or important seat? I can't hear you!

    Wasn't it just for the purpose that we now see in the Healthcare mess? "Oh, Yes, I'll have another Martini. Now how can we get these people to buy health Insurance and not mess up our election funding?" Brilliance comes on during the 2nd, 3rd, 4th drink and/or hit of whatever is the choice! "Good Idea, Joe. This will keep all of Big Bidness happy and make the little guys more misery, but that's not our problem. We're still Rich!" "See ya at the golf course soon, Joe. And ALL Capitalists will just LOVE this and the Israeli Lobby, too!" Thanks, Joe"!!! Not Impossible and Highly Probable! All a Big Show for the little folks while the books get cooked elsewhere under the table! Consider it for a minute! Peace

    January 6, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    We really won't know that until much closer to the election. We'll be able to see who the candidates are and how close they are to the people and in the polls. If the Democrats lose the 60 seat position, then they have to hurry up and get everything passed through the Senate as quickly as possible.

    January 6, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. RealityKing

    Progressive liberals have once again proven themselves detached from reality..

    January 6, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. andy

    Obamas lies and the dems bullying america is catching up with them.

    January 6, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. vwrtb

    Republicans sit on their thumbs all year and the southern hillbilly's love em... Shows what kind of work ethics the southern states have... Such a brain dead and backward people...

    January 6, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. haren

    All this analyst from CNN are concern about 7% (55 billion) waste and fraud in stimulus package of 787 billion.
    My question to them is what about waste and fraud in Defence budget of 636 billion, I am sure it is more than 55 billion, with Iraq and afghanistan war fighting with no bid contract and private contractor.
    Why don't they talk about that?

    January 6, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Mike

    So just because this old man is retiring, Democrats should just give up? "Oh no the sky is falling". Geeze, give us dems a break. Did you ever think that maybe, just maybe, another dem could win?

    January 6, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Illinostom

    AG Blumenthal may run for Dodd's seat? Bye bye 60 seat majority!

    January 6, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. dude palin

    Everyone in the senate should be ask to leave after 2 terms anyway !
    More repubs.should step down also.What good are they when they only obstruct the flow of this great country.Shame on the the gop for trying again,to make something out of nothing !

    January 6, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Mark

    A conservative congress in 2010, a new president in 3 years!

    January 6, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Losing the 60 seat majority is the only way to save this country from the Obama train wreck. He has demonstrated that even with a suprer-majority, he can't effectively govern. His foriegn apology policy has made us less safe and his ineffective threats to Iran and North Korea are jokes.

    January 6, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. seebofubar

    We can only hope that this de-rails this garbage bill that will do nothing but put more pepole out of work and stuff more money into insurance complany's coffers

    January 6, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. stevegee

    The November elections will be a landslide victory for conservatives! Update your resumes you liberals, because you'll al be out of a job.

    I'm sure Russia or some other oligarchy would be impressed with your Marxist credentials.

    January 6, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. B

    There should be an eight year limit on all congressional and senate seats !

    Term Limits !

    January 6, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. Frank, Las Vegas

    Why is the story about an up-hill struggle for the democrats? True the democrats have 2 senators retiring, but the republicans have 6 senators retiring. It seems like it's more of an up-hill struggle for the GOP.

    January 6, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    This is only the begaining to the end of the democratic hold congress by by Nancy.

    January 6, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. cobra Montana

    Looks like the demo RATS are abandoning the sinking ship. Hope people remember some of the other democrats that vote for the health bill that most of the people want nothing to do with.

    January 6, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Arden Muller

    Let the GOP blow their horns and make fools out of themselves. We will see what really happens in November. Sometimes we need drastract measures to make change. Getting new people might be a good thing. We must ,however, get out the vote for democrats. This is not a time to assume anything.

    January 6, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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