There is no greater act of deceit and chicanery than when Republican Senators like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Roy Blunt of Missouri, and Susan Collins of Maine claim, on the one hand, to be strong opponents of abortion, determined advocates of less spending, and strong opponents of ObamaCare, but, on the other, defenders of the filibuster rule that makes sure these policies will never pass the Senate.
The 60-vote threshold for ending debate in the Senate will block immigration enforcement, tax cuts, Obamacare repeal, and every other Republican bill.
But Majority Leader McConnell zealously defends the filibuster saying that it keeps the Senate as the deliberative branch of Congress. He essentially maintains that it is nobody’s business if it remains in place blocking all legislation. “Senate rules are a matter for the Senate and a lot of other people have opinions.”
If McConnell won’t get out of the way, it is time to get rid of McConnell as majority leader. This one man cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the desires of the entire Republican electorate and the Republican president simply because he wants to maintain the Senate’s traditions.
Message to McConnell: It’s an elected Senate, not the House of Lords.
The key reason to kill the filibuster is its now routine use to block legislation. This was never the case before. Until the 80s, the filibuster was only used rarely, usually to thwart civil rights legislation. It used to be the bête noire of liberals and its elimination always headed their agenda.
But in this era of intense partisanship, where few if any date cross party lines, it has become normal to require 60 votes in the Senate to proceed with legislation.
The Constitution is silent on how many votes it would take to pass a bill in Congress. Clearly, the founders anticipated that a simple majority would suffice. Where more would be desirable they said so, as when they required two-thirds to ratify a treaty or override a veto.
But now the Democrats are using the filibuster to kill all of Trump’s proposals.
They say that they use it as a lever to force negotiations. But then they refuse to negotiate unless all their demands are met. Voting as a party block, there is no diversity of opinion among the Democratic Senate caucus. Everybody toes the line in order to preserve their bargaining ability.
It is time to stop them from hijacking the results of the election. The institutional safeguard the Senate provides — as specified in the Constitution — is that only one-third of its member are elected in each cycle (as opposed to the entire House of Representatives). But when that rotation ultimately manifests itself in a change in party majorities, to make the change get to 60 votes is way too high a bar.
What if the tables are turned and the Democrats take the Senate? Republicans will likely still have the House and the presidency, more than enough to check the Democratic agenda.
The filibuster must go and McConnell along with it.
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