Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mitch McConnell on filibuster reform

A change in the rules by a bare majority aimed at benefiting Democrats today could just as easily be used to benefit Republicans tomorrow. Do Democrats really want to create a situation where, two or four or six years from now, they are suddenly powerless to prevent Republicans from overturning legislation they themselves worked so hard to enact?

Here's the thing: the proposed reforms don't leave the minority party in the Senate "powerless."

Instead, they make the minority party actually work to obstruct the passage of legislation: If you want to filibuster, you actually have to take the floor of the Senate and filibuster. Right now, all Mitch McConnell has to do, essentially, is utter the word "filibuster" and the obstruction is passed. That's simply too low a bar -- one that presumes the minority has veto power over legislation unless proved otherwise.

Old-time filibustering actually worked once upon a time. It's why civil rights legislation was delayed. Filibuster reform is not filibuster removal. If you want to mount a filibuster, Sen. McConnell, be my guest. Stand up, make a speech, and drag out the cots for your colleagues.


KhabaLox said...

Why is making a filibusterer actually talk better than not? Seems like hoop-jumping to me.

namefromthepast said...

Don't forget it was Sen. Mondale in '75 that moved to have the filibuster arranged as it is now. Back then it was to change the rules to favor liberals, surprise. Now lets change 'em again to favor libs.

No need to worry about the future Joel liberals will always find a way to tilt the field.

Joel said...

Name: It's not as though the filibuster has gone from rarely used to commonly used in the last 35 years. I've heard a suggestion that the parties agree to filibuster reform now and have it set to go into effect in six years, when we don't know who will be running things. FIne by me. THe present state of affairs isn't really workable.