The big word for early 2021 is ‘filibuster’
And now for that civics lesson that you missed in class……
The Senate filibuster first captured the American imagination in Frank Capra’s 1939 movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” when Jimmy Stewart’s character spoke for more than a day, and more recently in 2013 when Texas state Senator Wendy Davis spoke for 13 hours to try to block a bill imposing new restrictions on abortion.
The popular image of a lone lawmaker mounting an impassioned hours-long argument belies the reality in today’s Senate, where a mere threat is often enough to initiate a filibuster and hold up a bill.
A filibuster can only be stopped if 60 senators vote to end debate in a process called cloture.
In 1975, the Senate reduced the requirement for limiting debate to three-fifths of the Senate – currently 60 senators.
The argument against killing the filibuster is that it would break with tradition…..that tale is pure fiction…..there is NO tradition of a filibuster until the 19th century……
To be clear the Constitution makes mention of a ‘filibuster’……go ahead check it out……( run to Google if you do not know the Constitution)….there is NO mention whatsoever.
Now the Dems are trying and calling for the end of the practice…..but can they or should they end this practice?
The two Dem senators that will make the riddance of the filibuster have made their thoughts be known…….Democrats might consider looking at what Manchin and Sinema like about the filibuster. Sinema recently said, “Retaining the legislative filibuster is not meant to impede the things we want to get done. Rather, it’s meant to protect what the Senate was designed to be. I believe the Senate has a responsibility to put politics aside and fully consider, debate, and reach compromise on legislative issues that will affect all Americans.” Last year, Manchin said, “The minority should have input — that’s the whole purpose for the Senate. If you basically do away with the filibuster altogether for legislation, you won’t have the Senate. You’re a glorified House. And I will not do that.” (WaPo)
The saying is the the US Senate is where good bills go to die…..and the filibuster is the tool used to kill those good bills.
The Washington Monthly has weighed in to this debate……
If you care about American democracy, you need a Congress that works. If Congress can’t pass legislation or ratify treaties or confirm appointments, democracy isn’t working. And if Congress isn’t operating under some network of rules, some version of what the pros call “regular order,” then it can’t stand up to the president. It can’t be a check or a balance, like the founders intended.
If the Democratic Party ever hopes to govern this country, it needs to end the filibuster.
The reality lies in the arithmetic. Right now, there are 21 states with two Republican senators. That 42 votes is enough by itself to uphold a filibuster, to kill senate action on any legislation.
Looking at the list of those 21 states, an objective observer can see it is not likely to change its party loyalty any time soon: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The loyalty of these states to the GOP defines the partisan power of the filibuster.
My thought is if we cannot kill the filibuster then change it where 3/5 of the Senate need to be present for the whole process of bill debate.
Personally I think the a quorum is all that is needed for consideration of a bill….that sounds more constitutional to me.
Something needs to change in our government….we have enough obstructionism and stagnation….if we are ever to move past the events of the past then do the right thing and start the process of change and start with the Senate and the filibuster.
Have any thoughts?
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”