In anticipation of another two years of Congressional gridlock, Democrats are once again fervently trying to block Republicans from using the Senate filibuster to stop their horrific agenda.
The Senate filibuster is a longstanding parliamentary tactic. It is not mandated by the Constitution but has been in use since 1837 to stop overzealous Senate majorities. Both Democrats and Republicans have relied on it when they were the minority party.
More recently Democrats used the threat of a filibuster in 2005 to attempt to block several of President George W. Bush’s Appeals Court nominees. So Democrats aren’t exactly strangers to relying on the filibuster to get their way.
But now, having dodged Republican attempts to take back the Senate in 2012, yet still lacking a filibuster-proof majority, Democrats are impatient to get back to the important task of turning the U.S. into a European-style welfare state. And newly empowered Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will stop at nothing to achieve his goal of letting the decade-long Bush tax cuts expire for high-income earners.
Reid reassures us that, “We’re not going to do away with the filibuster, but we’re going to make the Senate a more meaningful place,” which he could presumably accomplish via scented candles and Barry White tunes.
Here’s an idea: Reid could consider making the Senate “a more meaningful place” by passing a budget for the first time in four years.
Republicans have reminded Reid that changes of the type he is proposing can be accomplished only through a two-thirds majority, per the “cloture” rule Democrats instituted in 1975. Yet, Reid is undeterred and is trying to use the so-called “nuclear option” that was introduced by Republicans in 2005 as an avenue to stop Democrats’ filibuster of Bush’s appointees to change the rules via a simple majority. Is Reid also interested in making the Senate “a more meaningful place” by following the Democrat-devised rules for changing Senate protocol?
Republicans have only been threatening so many filibusters for the past four year because: (1) Reid’s insistence on blocking Republicans from proposing amendments to Democratic legislation, and (2) Democratic legislation.
Far from being an archaic, legalistic, outmoded scheme for abusing legislative power, filibusters are a godsend for stopping liberal Congresses from shoving through monstrosities like Obamacare, even if the floodgates don’t always hold.
If Republicans have any sense, they will filibuster Democrats’ attempts to curb filibusters and install even more robust parliamentary roadblocks after they regain control of the Senate, even if it hurts them in the short-term, so they can stall statist Democratic legislation from getting through for the next century.