On Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009, considered the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. There was a motion to invoke cloture and cut off debate. The vote was 72 to cut off debate and 23 to allow debate to continue. Fourteen Republicans voted for the motion and all the votes not to cut off debate came from Republicans. The question is whether the change in the Presidency led to 14 Rs deciding to vote for cloture on this legislation?
If you look at what states the Senators who voted against cloture came from, a pattern emerges. Only two Senators who voted against cloture came from states carried by Obama. On the other hand, seven Republicans who voted in favor of cloture came from states that Obama carried. Those seven Rs include both Republican Senators from Maine, one from North Carolina, one from Florida and Ohio's own George Voinovich.
Although this vote may not get the attention that the Senate's refusal to block the second part of the bank bailout, it is a good sign that progressive legislation won't always be blocked by Republican filibusters. Republican Senators have seen their ranks decimated in the 2006 and 2007 elections. Not all of them want to join the ranks of their fellow elephants.