Blogs » Politcs Plus » Compromise:Reform the Filibuster



I think our system of government is amazing when all the working parts are in order The House of Representatives is supposed to be the place where after extensive debate and mostly partisan rhetoric has been exhausted; a simple majority and will send a piece of legislation over to the Senate. The Senate is designed to slow down the process and allow the more reasonable adults to put aside their differences and amend the house version with something both parties can live with. I don't have to tell you, that is no longer the case; it's time to reform the filibuster. It’s not unusual to hear a senator say, “the bill being sent from the house is the dead-on arrival."

There's no reason to believe that we will have a compromise in the next congressional session, for example, Indiana recently elected, Richard Murdock, over long time conservative icon Richard Lugar because he had a reputation of compromising. Newly elected Tea Party candidate, Richard Murdock, said that his idea of compromise was when the Democrats agreed 100% with Republican proposals. I've always thought that Olympia Snowe was a moderate, but even she gets caught up in the hyper partisanship. She was telling Joe Scarborough how both sides are to blame for gridlock, and Joe Scarborough agreed with her. She then went onto blame Harry Reid for not allowing amendments to be added on certain bills. Joe Scarborough quickly reminded her that her party used the filibuster a record number of times as a way to obstruct. You could see the embarrassment on her face as she quietly acknowledged the truth. Poll after poll shows that Americans want compromise but our lawmakers don’t believe that because when asked, they will usually give their version of what the American taxpayer wants.

I'm not for eliminating the filibuster; I'm for restoring the initial intent. I’m all for the rights of the minority party and the right to unlimited debate. Bring back the filibuster as it was portrayed in the movie “Mr. Smith goes to Washington" starring James Stewart. It doesn't have to be a single senator, bring in the cots and television cameras, and allow the multiple senators to fight for their cause, nonstop. Right now, a lone senator can bring up the motion and bring legislation to a halt, unless there are 60 votes to invoke cloture. Senator Udall (D-NM) is trying to gather the necessary 51 votes to reform the filibuster rule.

Remember when President George W. Bush tried to ram through ultra-conservative judges and both sides came up with a "nuclear option" which meant that 14 senators would try to find common ground. For some reason, senators do not want to challenge the 1892 Supreme Court ruling, United States vs. Ballin that held "“the Constitution empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings." Both parties can see that rule being used against them when they're not in the majority. I think that they would rather control their own destiny, instead of giving that power to the Supreme Court.

Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, is at his wits end because Republicans are trying to get around the rules by submitting a multitude of motions to "suspend the rules," which violates the concept of cloture. He knows that he can't get anything done during a lame-duck session, but it'll probably be the first thing on his agenda if the Democrats keep the Senate.