The US Will Change Dramatically Without The Senate Filibuster

I believe the press and political talking heads are significantly understating the significance of proposed changes to Senate filibuster rules.

The filibuster protects the minority in the Senate, no matter which party is in control. It effectively requires a supermajority to pass controversial legislation. It is a God-send tool of the minority that enables those not in power to force a supermajority vote on legislature that is frivolous or dangerous.

Two reiterate, the filibuster protects the interests of the party that is in the minority. Given that the control of the Senate has changed rather frequently in recent years, both parties have used the filibuster extensively.

Changes in the filibuster rule have taken place in recent years. In 2013, Democrats were in control of the Senate, and with a simple majority adopted a new rule for confirmation of federal judges. No longer could the minority force a 60-vote minimum for confirmation of these lower court nominations.

In 2017, Republicans, then in control of the Senate, changed the rule for confirmation of Supreme Court Justices to a simple majority. This enabled Republicans to jam through the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh, who was barely confirmed with a majority vote.

After the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, Democrats lost a supermajority in the Senate because Scott Brown, a Republican, won Kennedy’s seat. Democrat seats decreased from 60 to 59, depriving Democrats of a supermajority. This occurred just after the enactment of Obamacare, and effectively ended Barack Obama’s plans to radically change our economy and our society. He had to govern with presidential mandates for the balance of his tenure being unable to override filibusters by the minority.

Note: Mandates by former presidents are easily reversible with a strike of the pen by subsequent presidents, which Trump affectively did when he was elected, and Biden is doing now. The executive power is often criticized because the president is, in effect, enacting laws without congressional approval.

So, what we have seen is that the party in power in the Senate frequently calls for weakening of filibuster rules, only to regret it after they are relegated to the minority in subsequent years.

The fairness argument is pretty solid for both sides. The party in power should dominate the enactment of laws, and filibusters make this difficult. On the other hand, the most important legislative actions in our country should be bipartisan. Another important tidbit is that filibusters give small state senators a much bigger club, as any senator can stand up and demand a supermajority vote on any legislative proposal.

What’s going on now? Democrats are in power and have free reign to enact a progressive agenda of legislative items, affecting the most important political, societal and economic issues. With the control of the presidency and both houses of Congress the only barrier to new legislation would be a Republican filibuster that requires a 60% Senate majority vote.

Even if you are a Democrat, do want your party to have unlimited power? Don’t you want to hear both sides of complex and strategically important issues? Wouldn’t you rather see bipartisan votes in Congress and not automatic votes along party lines?

Biden and his liberal colleagues are going to try to change some really important laws in coming months. I would like to hear what the implications of this legislation are from both sides, wouldn’t you?

The Filibuster Is Critical To A Two-party Government

There was a balanced article in the New York Times yesterday about the fate of the filibuster in the Senate. I suggest interested parties read this publication.

I have addressed the filibuster several times in recent days because it is such a critical element of lawmaking in the Senate.

Let’s start with the basics. To pass a law, legislators must obtain approval of the House of Representatives and the Senate, along with the signature of the president. The House operates with a simple majority. The Senate can pass a law with a simple majority if no senator objects. If one does object, the bill must be approved by 60 senators, a supermajority, if you will.

The importance of the filibuster cannot be overstated. Recent history proved this point. In 2013, Senate Democrats voted to change the filibuster rules as it pertains to confirmation of judges, except for the Supreme Court. This action enabled Democrats to confirm a large number of judges that would normally have been unacceptable to Senate Republicans and would have been blocked with filibusters. Republicans were furious about the action by Democrats and soon found their revenge.

In 2020, Senate Republicans took control of the Upper House and changed the filibuster rule further by subjecting Supreme Court justices to a simple majority for confirmation. This action has changed the nature of the Supreme Court for decades as Donald Trump was able to fill the court with relatively young conservative justices. These confirmations could have a devastating impact on many embedded laws affiliated with social issues, including abortion rights, gun control and a plethora of management/worker issues in this country.

Now let’s consider the current state of affairs. Elimination of the filibuster for every day lawmaking will increase the power of the Democrat majority in the Senate. It will enable the Senate to pass laws with a simple majority. With a filibuster, the minority can require a supermajority vote of 60 to pass a law. Abrogating the filibuster only abets the activities of the majority, so long as it holds power. When the majority changes, as it often does, the advantage swings from the former majority to the former minority. So many senators think it is shortsighted to abolish this important protection for the minority.

What will Biden, the House and the razor-thin majority in the Senate do with total control of the legislative process? They might enact frivolous laws that do not represent the wishes of a majority of people in the country. The filibuster traditionally makes controversial and difficult legislation more challenging to pass by forcing consensus and compromise.

For instance, if the Biden administration wants to push through legislation that increases taxes for the middle class even if the majority of citizens are against these tax increases, they can do it. The minority has no power to stop them. This proposal would normally face opposition from the minority Republicans who would likely use a filibuster to impede it.

The bottom line is that without a filibuster, a government that controls all three branches of the lawmaking process is too powerful. As citizens, we need to demand that important legislation finds some consensus to become law. This becomes problematic without a filibuster.

The Dangers Of One Party Government

Our nation is about to face a critical moment on January 5th, as Georgians vote for two senators. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are Republicans and the Reverend Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff are Democrats all vying to become part of the highly politicized Senate.

I doubt I have very many readers who are voting in the election, but the contest is going have a monstrous national impact on the way we are governed prospectively. Therefore, every American should be aware of the implications of these two Senate campaigns.

Other than to say that the Democrats are radical and left-wing politicians, and the Republicans are relatively moderate lawmakers, I will address what could possibly happen in the future in Congress depending upon who is victorious.

If Democrats win the two seats, they will effectively control the Senate with a 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats. Vice president Kamala Harris will vote in any ties. If Republicans win either contested seat, they will control the Senate.

What are the ramifications of having a Democratic-held Senate? It would mean that Democrats would control the presidency, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Currently, the Senate business is subjected to filibusters by the minority party for all votes except judges and SCOTUS nominations. This means that judges and justices are confirmed with a simple majority vote. This changed several years ago when the Democratic majority voted to eliminate the filibuster, or a supermajority vote, to confirm judges. A few years later a Republican Senate majority voted to abrogate a supermajority vote for SCOTUS justices.

Currently all laws are enacted with a majority, unless the opposition filibusters the vote. Then the controlling party needs 60 votes to end the filibuster and enact a law. Democrats have threatened a vote to eliminate the filibuster for all Senate business. This would mean that the opposition party would have no power to stop any legislation for all intents and purposes.

You may ask why a filibuster is necessary. After all, the majority should rule. The filibuster became part of the lawmaking process so that frivolous and inappropriate legislation would be more difficult to enact. It is a way for the opposition to make it more difficult to enact laws that they believe are bad for our country. If a party has 60 votes in the Senate, as Democrats did during the early years of the Obama administration, there is no stopping the majority party if they also hold the presidency and the House.

Why is this issue critical at this moment? It’s because radicals in the Democratic Party have indicated that they would take action that will hurt our country our economy and our capitalistic system. Here is a short list of Democratic objectives:

  • The Senate can change the number of justices on the Supreme Court, thereby changing the political persuasion of the Court.
  • Congress would effectively change our economic system from a capital-based economy to a socialistic economy by bleeding the affluent and most successful among us.
  • The right of Americans to bear arms would be in jeopardy.
  • Immigration policy would be open borders.
  • Health care would be 100% socialized at an enormous cost.
  • Inane climate change policies would cripple industry.
  • Taxing policies would steal assets from hard working Americans.

Radical left-wing lawmakers would have a field day ripping down basic institutions like the banking system and high-tech companies.

The US would take several steps backwards just by the election of two Georgia senators.

Even if you are a Democrat, you should be aware of a country run by power hungry politicians with unlimited control over our government.