When we are all children, we learn that it takes a simple majority of votes to pass legislation in the senate. Unless someone filibusters! That is a rare and exciting and dramatic event undertaken only when a piece of legislation is so offensive or dangerous to one or a group of Senators that they'll try that famed last resort stalling technique, talking non-stop, day and night, until a bill's sponsors give up or two-thirds of present Senators (eventually 3/5ths of of sworn Senators) can be mustered to vote to end the non-stop talking. So dramatic!
Except of course now how a filibuster works is someone just says "ok I'm filibustering" and everyone present goes out for drinks or a smoke or even home to bed if they feel like it! The procedural filibuster ruined the filibuster.
If everyone had to actually go through with it and filibuster properly half of them wouldn't bother and the stimulus would probably pass with a simple majority because, look, the Republicans and moderate Democrats bitching about all the extra spending on stuff that doesn't actually count as stimulus? Oh no they're buying computers for the Interior Department! Well that leads to this:
The momentum to cut spending became apparent in votes on several amendments. First, the Senate fell two votes shy of the 60-vote threshold needed yesterday to add $25 billion for highway projects and transit programs.
Oh, which budding young Strom Thurmond was going to stand up there and talk all night—for weeks if necessary!—to stop those goddamn highway projects! Oh, but the simple majority works sometimes!
Then, on a 52 to 45 vote, the chamber stripped $246 million in tax breaks for Hollywood production companies, a measure offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the Senate's self-appointed watchdog on federal spending. Coburn, who almost always loses his quixotic efforts to cut funding, appeared jubilant — if somewhat surprised — by his unexpected victory.
Hah! All the Republican refuse to vote for the stimulus until it looks more like "Bush's tax cuts" and less like "economic stimulus," but then they do something like this?? Apparently we're allowed to tax some rich people and wealthy multinational corporations as much as we want, as long as they are godless Hollywood liberal rich people and corporations.
Long story short, "procedural filibusters" are ruining democracy and plunging us into a new great depression (side note: the filibuster, procedural or no, has pretty much only been used for evil since the 1940s, more or less). Also Harry Reid: get your fucking house in order, sir. This is not amateur hour you useless old mormon jackass.