Make no mistake about it, if the minority party invokes the Rule 22 (the cloture rule) it is a de facto filibuster. The Senate GOP used it again today to block the farm bill;

The Senate blocked a $286 billion farm bill Friday, a blow to farm-state lawmakers who wanted to give their constituents expanded subsidies before next year’s elections.

Though politically popular, the bill stalled in a dispute between the parties over unrelated amendments that Republicans wanted to add. Democrats failed to get the 60 votes they needed to cut off debate on the measure. The final vote was 55-42.

The vote could push consideration of the legislation into 2008 or beyond. Senate Agriculture Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said Thursday that the bill may fare better after next year’s elections, with a new Congress and a new president.

The Bush administration has issued a veto threat against the bill, saying it is too expensive and would pay wealthy farmers too much.

AND $50 billion in much-needed funds for the Iraq War;

Senate Republicans blocked the latest Democratic effort to end the Iraq war, rejecting a $50 billion funding package that would require President Bush to begin withdrawing U.S. troops.

The 53-45 vote fell seven short of the 60 votes needed for the measure to clear Republican procedural hurdles. A GOP alternative, which would have provided $70 billion with no strings attached, failed 45-53, or 15 votes short of the 60-vote threshold.

This makes the 71st cloture motion filed since January 4th. Compare that to the 68 filed from January 4, 2005 through December 9, 2006 and it’s clear how far the GOP is pushing this procedural tactic in an attempt to stop Democratic proposals by any means necessary.

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