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What is Senator Reid’s true aim in ending filibusters

July 13, 2013

podiumThe US Senate hot topic right now is the filibuster. Senate Democrats have claimed Republicans in the Senate have over-abused the filibuster to a point where the executive branch cannot function anymore! Really? If only that were true. The US Senate filibuster is a tool meant to keep Congress from being an institute that rules by tyranny of the masses. That is basically how the House works, is that really what Senator Reid wants for the Senate as well?

Senator Reid now says filibuster reform is necessary because the minority viewpoint of Republicans are halting progress. Ironically Senator Reid fought against Republicans doing the same thing when Democrats had the minority in the Senate. He says it is because President Obama has had his nominations obstructed more than any other President. That may be true, but Obama has also been told by a federal judge that his appointments made during short recess periods were unconstitutional. What is Reid really up to? Is this about a few nominations or is there a bigger prize in Reid’s eyes that would make him change his mind on this issue now that he is in the majority.

David Harsanyi has an article over at reason that may shed some light on this issue. Here is part of what he has to say:

As for Reid, the threat of filibuster reform may well be politics, a bluff meant to bring attention to these saboteurs of progress in the Senate. But for many activists pushing Democrats, it’s about a lot more. Though both parties detest the filibuster when in power, progressives hold an enduring contempt for it because they hold an enduring contempt for federalism in general. A more majoritarian process makes it easier to cash in on fleeting public sentiments and steamroll an array of comprehensive “reforms” to impel even the most reactionary states to partner up with Washington.

Now it makes sense. This is part of the NoLabels Progressive 2.0 agenda that is happening in DC lately. In fact when you look at NoLabels 12 ways to make Congress “work” there are two agenda items relevant to filibuster reform. NoLabels has no respect for minority viewpoints. That can be proven by their own words on filibuster reform:

This means that 41 senators, representing as little as 11% of the U.S. population could theoretically obstruct passage of a bill supported by 59 senators representing as much as 89% of the population.

NoLabels makes is sound bad that minority viewpoints would be protected in DC. NoLabels also wants the President to be able to make appointments even if there is disagreement within the Senate about that nomination:

If a nominee’s name is not confirmed or rejected within 90 days, the nominee would be confirmed by default.

90 days may sound reasonable. However depending upon the timing and other legislative actions going on it does not take long to run up the clock to 90 days. It also would mean a majority leader could simply refuse to put the nominations on the agenda for a vote. This by default would “accept” the President’s appointment. I have no double that any “success” Reid has with stopping filibusters of Presidential appointments will lead him to change the rules for all filibusters. Then we can say goodbye to one of the few power restraints left in DC.

Have filibusters been over-used lately? That is debatable. I would actually say filibusters are under-used. However no matter how anyone feels about the current use of filibusters it is imperative to remember this tool is used to protect minority viewpoints. Anyone claiming to care about “minority issues” and yet fight to end the filibuster is beyond hypocritical. I hope voters remember this move by the Democrat Party and Congressmen that have signed up as NoLabels “Problem Solvers” going into the 2014 election.

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