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Jennifer Granholm

Jennifer M. Granholm is the former governor of Michigan. She hosts Current TV's political talk show "The War Room," teaches courses in law and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley and is a Politico columnist.

September 26th, 2012 6:38 PM

Debunking the myth of Obama’s two-year supermajority

Mitt Romney’s at it again -- shading the truth on CBS News' “60 Minutes.” In this video he's perpetuating the false Republican narrative that President Obama should have gotten more done during his first two years in office because he had a super-majority in the Senate.

 

A super-majority is a filibuster-proof 60 or more Senate seats, allowing one party to pass legislation without votes from the other.

Don't forget: the President needed a super-majority because of the Republicans' unprecedented use of the filibuster as an obstruction tactic - they've used it more than 400 times. 

But here's the deal - the real deal - there actually wasn’t a two year super-majority.

This timeline shows the facts. President Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009 with just 58 Senators to support hisagenda. He should have had 59, but Republicans contested Al Franken's election in Minnesota and he didn't get seated for seven months. The President's cause was helped in April when Pennsylvania's Republican Senator Arlen Specter switched parties. That gave the President 59 votes - still a vote shy of the super majority. 

But one month later, Democratic Senator Byrd of West Virginia was hospitalized and was basically out of commission. So while the President's number on paper was 59 Senators - he was really working with just 58 Senators. Then in July, Minnesota Senator Al Franken was finally sworn in, giving President Obama the magic 60 - but only in theory because, Senator Byrd was still out. 

In August, Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts died and the number went back down to 59 again until Paul Kirk temporarily filled Kennedy's seat in September. Any pretense of a super-majority ended on February 4, 2010 when Republican Scott Brown was sworn into the seat Senator Kennedy once held. Do you see a two-year super-majority? 

 I didn't think so. 

  Originally aired on The War Room with Jennifer Granholm. The War Room airs weeknights at 10 p.m. EST on Current TV. Follow Jennifer Granholm on Facebook and Twitter, and The War Room on Facebook and Twitter.

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