Harry Reid should not be allowed to manipulate Senate rules to further stifle Senators’ freedoms

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) accidentally drew back the curtain on fabricated tales of Republican obstructionism and revealed the dark secret of Democrats who have been promoting “gridlock” in the U.S. Senate for nearly a full four years.  It happened so quickly anyone who blinked missed it.

Upon filing for Senate consideration of the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) Act, Sen. Reid immediately “filled the tree” by offering the maximum amount of amendments permitted under the rules and filed cloture on the bill before any other Senator could speak, offer debate or filibuster the bill.

Senator Reid essentially asked the Senate to consider a bill then immediately asked to end consideration on that bill, all within the space of a mere two minutes.  Some have speculated this parliamentary slight-of-hand may have made history with its sheer speed.

While proclaiming the need for filibuster “reform” and complaining of its over use by the minority, Senator Reid continues to apply these tactics, limiting debate and preventing Senators of both parties from submitting their own ideas through amendments.  His actions essentially produce a “majority filibuster” which prevents the voices of citizens throughout every one of the 50 states from being heard through their Senators.

Yet, even while setting a new speed record, Sen. Reid’s tyrannical control of the calendar is nothing new.  Reid has spent the last four years turning such bold obstruction into regular operating procedure for the Senate – with Tuesday marking the sixth-ninth time Sen. Reid has launched a majority filibuster.

These actions are atrocious in their violation of the purpose of the Senate in our federal government and their steamrolling of two key rights of all Senators.

On the official Senate website, the Senate Historian notes: “All senators have two traditional freedoms that, so far as is known, no other legislators worldwide possess. These two freedoms are the right to unlimited debate and an unlimited opportunity to offer amendments, relevant or not, to legislation under consideration.”

Since Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has successfully manipulated standing Senate rules to severely stifle (and in many cases, entirely eliminate) the second of these unparalleled freedoms by routinely “filling the amendment tree,” only one of those freedoms remains.  With Reid’s iron-fisted control of the process — frequently preventing even Senators from his own political party from offering their own amendments — it is no wonder Senators of all stripes question the wisdom of removing their remaining freedom. In fact, it is a wonder Majority Leader Reid does not face a mutiny from within his own party.

But the story gets much, much worse.  Because Reid cannot capture enough votes (despite a Democratic majority of 55 Senators) to institute his radical rules change under the existing rules (which requires 60 votes), he has proposed a method that ignores the rules entirely.  Instead, Reid’s grand plan is to pretend the “Standing Rules of The Senate” simply do not exist during the first day of a new Congress – and only during the first day.

This runs into a major problem through a simple reading of Rule V, Section 2, which itself clearly states that (emphasis added): “The rules of the Senate shall continue from one Congress to the next Congress unless they are changed as provided in these rules.”  Furthermore, this rule was initially adopted, at the will of the Senate itself, in recognition of the Senate’s unique place in our legislature.

For Majority Leader Harry Reid to completely ignore the rules in order to re-write the rules (something he promised he would never do) in the name of political expediency would violate matchless freedoms of every U.S. Senator while also violating the Constitution itself.

Ultimately, this boils down to three observations.  One, the pervasiveness of majority filibuster and obstructionism of their own agenda has helped slow action in the Senate.  Two, this atrocious behavior by the Senate Majority Leader snatches away exceptionally unique freedoms and rights of Senators from both sides of the aisle, and all deprived Senators should demand reform.  And three, Majority Leader Reid’s proposal, if carried through, would irreparably depart from the rules and Constitutional provisions guiding our “most deliberative” legislative body.

This is the essence of the current debate between totalitarian forms of government and conservatives: whether existing rules can be ignored for political or popular expediency, or whether the rules must be followed in order to protect the unique freedoms and force compromise which truly moves our nation forward.

Regardless of what reforms are needed in the Senate, the rules are the rules – and those rules must be followed in order to bring about credible, positive and lasting improvement.

 

Comments

One Response to “Harry Reid should not be allowed to manipulate Senate rules to further stifle Senators’ freedoms”

  1. Barbara says:

    This old old old man should be sent home. Don’t know how you people vote to send trash like this to the Senate. Talk about old white men this man is the epitome of such. Send his old butt home.

Leave a Reply

Maher tells PC liberals 'shut the f up'

Bill Maher's politics are not always the greatest. But when it comes to knocking down the liberal PC brigade, he is on point like no other.

SNL parodies Starbucks' race campaign

What if another company--say, Pep Boys (or Girls! Or Whatever!)--took on their own campaign to talk about gender and sexual identity?

SNL's "The Rock" Obama goes beast-mode

Dwayne Johnson hosted SNL last night, so naturally he had to play a muscled-up Obama, who can finally do all the things he really wants—like throw John Boehner through a window and rip of Tom Cotton’s hand.

Devo does not want Scalise to 'Whip It'
A founding member of the 1980s band Devo really does not want to see House Majority Whip Steve Scalise “Whip It Good.” Scalise has been using the bands hit song “Whip It” at events and his staff recently created a joint fundraising committee with Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to raise money for a 1980s-themed birthday party […]
Jon Stewart rips Democrats for race-bait

“Oh, for f---s sake.”

White House

Carly Fiorina says there’s a ‘higher than 90 percent chance’ she’s running for president

Carly Fiorina’s 2016 campaign is all but certain now—and she’s making no secret as to whom she’ll be targeting.

White House promises not to use legal loophole to keep NSA spying alive if Patriot Act expires
If the Patriot Act expires, it will stop the National Security Agency’s bulk spying too. The Obama administration promised this week that it will not take advantage of a legal loophole to keep the NSA spying alive unless Congress re-authorizes the Patriot Act, Reuters reported. Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the NSA to collect data on […]
In honor of National Puppy Day, here are the top 10 cutest presidential puppies

Today is National Puppy Day! To celebrate, we give you the top ten cutest puppies to grace the White House Lawn.

Obama: ‘By hook or by crook’ I’ll push my agenda through
This is probably not the smartest phrasing to use. President Obama had an interview with Huffington Post over the weekend and while much of the interview was his oft-repeated lines about how Republicans are the reason nothing is getting done in Washington, he added a new phrase about his legacy that is bound to raise […]
Obama tells Prince Charles that Americans like the royal family better than their own politicians

President Obama has admitted what we all already knew: Americans far prefer the Duchess of Cambridge to Michelle.

Congress

Sen. Harry Reid will not seek re-election
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, the wily Nevadan who dominated the Senate for a decade from the minority to the majority and back again, announced Friday he will retire after five terms. Reid, 75, who shepherded key Obama administration initiatives including the president’s health care law, lost his role as majority leader — […]
Schock: Lincoln faced challenges too
Embattled Rep. Aaron Schock (R- Ill.) gave his farewell speech on the House floor Thursday, promising that it was “not the end of a story, but rather the beginning of a new chapter.” While his own trials are more of the “Downton Abbey” decor and Katy Perry concert variety, Schock likened this tough time to that […]
Boehner, Pelosi read mean tweets
Taking a cue from Jimmy Kimmel’s famous “Mean Tweets” series, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) got in on the fun and read some mean tweets about themselves in a video for the 2015 Radio & Television Correspondents Association […]
GOP blocks Warren's student loan plan
THE HILL — Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked an effort by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to attach an amendment aimed at lowering student loan rates to the budget. Senators voted 46-53 against Warren’s amendment to the Republican budget resolution. Warren’s amendment would have allowed people with college loan debt to refinance at interest rates from […]
Rand really liked those 'Stand with Rand' trolls

During Ted Cruz's big announcement at Liberty University yesterday--which students were required to attend--some Rand Paul supporters decided to troll Cruz with some "Stand with Rand" shirts: