Senate Democrats must grow spines and finally nuke the filibuster so that Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doesn’t use it to endlessly obstruct legislation Americans need.
Democrats now have the Senate majority thanks to two run off victories in Georgia and Vice President Kamala Harris, but you wouldn’t know it the way McConnell is trying to force them to heavily restrict their power.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is trying to hammer out a power-sharing agreement that needs to be passed so that Democrats can take over committees and start moving a legislative agenda forward. But McConnell is demanding that any such agreement include a guarantee that the filibuster will remain. The filibuster, which Republicans disregarded last year to quickly confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, would require 60 votes to pass major legislation, effectively meaning that Republicans would still get to decide what legislation passes and what doesn’t, ensuring that Democrats won’t get anything done legislatively in the next two years.
Such obstruction would render Democrats powerless and would likely cripple their ability to keep the Senate majority in 2022.
That’s why Senate Democrats need to break this abusive cycle and finally get rid of the filibuster once and for all so that the Senate can be a working part of the government again.
The filibuster is not in the Constitution. The founders intended for the majority to make the rules and pass laws. For years, McConnell has been arguing for so-called “minority rights,” which he mentioned in a Twitter post demanding Democrats agree to his demands, which amount to negotiating with a terrorist.
Minority rights on legislation are key to the Senate. President Biden spent decades defending them. More than two dozen Senate Democrats backed them just four years ago.
This isn’t complicated. Simply reaffirming that Democrats won’t break the rules should not be a heavy lift.
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) January 21, 2021
Except they are not “key” to the Senate at all and never have been. It’s only the key to the Republican plan to block every piece of legislation they don’t like even if a majority of the American people support it. President Biden would also have a harder time getting his Cabinet picks confirmed, not to mention a harder time getting judicial nominees confirmed. Then they’ll go out on the campaign trail and claim that Democrats are incapable of governing. It’s a lose-lose for Democrats if they keep the filibuster intact. McConnell would effectively be in control of the Senate despite his party being the minority, and that’s not how it’s supposed to work. Were the roles reversed, McConnell would never agree to Schumer’s demands, and certainly did not care about the filibuster as he worked to pack the courts with right-wing judges.
If Democrats are going to lose the majority in 2022, it should be because Americans oppose their policies, which they don’t, instead of because Senate Democrats didn’t get anything done due to rampant obstruction they could have nipped in the bud when they had the chance. It’s time to get things done for the American people, regardless of whether Republicans like it or not.
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