Eric Yollick, The Golden Hammer
It’s time to end filibusters in the United States Senate once and for all, because the American People are paying a dear price. We’re seeing a giant illustration of the problem right now on Capitol Hill. There’s a much bigger problem with the impact of filibusters in the hyper partisan climate that the money-driven members of Congress have fostered.
President Donald Trump and the American People clearly want Congress to fund $5.7 billion for a border wall to help stop the flow of illegal immigration. President Trump made clear Thursday morning that he would veto any continuing resolution to fund the following Cabinet-level departments: Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation, and Treasury. Of course, many Americans would jump for joy with the closing of those departments for good, or at least a majority of their unnecessary functions.
Thursday evening, the United States House of Representatives voted 217 to 185 to adopt a continuing resolution which included the border wall funding. The day before, however, the United States Senate passed a continuing resolution, by an unanimous voice vote, without the border wall funding.
Now, matters sit in the United States Senate where the House funding bill cannot move forward, even though the Republicans have a 51 to 49 majority. Why?
Under Senate Rules, legislation requires 60 votes to close debate. That gives a minority enormous power to stop legislation dead in its tracks.
The 60-vote requirement, in this era of hyper partisanship where Republicans can’t even be seen speaking with democrats, and vice versa, let alone negotiating or voting with them, has resulted in a total mess of the budget process where the only appropriations bills Congress can assemble are continuing resolutions or omnibus bills that include every liberal democrat spending program that Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Planned Parenthood can imagine.
The filibuster rules are protecting government largesse and preventing any pro-national defense or pro-law enforcement reforms, such as a border wall, from proceeding.
There no longer is an appropriations process where members of Congress take enormous care examining spending proposals. Instead, only omnibus spending bills move forward on an ad hoc and emergency basis.
If someone were to want to examine individual expenditures during a legislative process, there would literally be no mechanism whatsoever for doing so. In other words, current spending for everything is frozen into legislation. Only new spending to which democrats agree can add to existing spending. Once added, there are no mechanisms for removing the new spending.
What a dream world for advocates for larger and large spending forever!
The “nuclear option” is a parliamentary maneuver, which democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid utilized in 2013 in order to confirm a slew of President B. Hussein Obama’s judicial nominees. After the Senate failed to muster the 60 votes to invoke cloture (ending debate) and the President Pro Tempore announced the motion to close debate had failed, Senator Reid appealed the ruling of the chair, which under parliamentary procedure only requires a majority vote. By a 52 to 48 vote on November 21, 2013, the democrats utilized the “nuclear option” for the first time to bypass the cloture rules in the United States Senate and confirm President Obama’s nominees.
The current Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, has indicated he won’t utilize the “nuclear option.”
Clearly, McConnell should go far beyond just utilizing the “nuclear option” to pass the funding for the border wall. It’s time to end the ability of a minority of Senators to stop legislation from moving forward, because all that does is to freeze wasteful government spending in place forever. (It’s a bit like the reason the Montgomery County Commissioners Court won’t ever reduce the County government budget: they’re too lazy ever to examine the budget line-by-line to find areas where they can help the taxpayers.)
Yes, it will give future liberal majorities the ability to pass legislation with a mere majority. It will also give conservatives the ability to force an orderly budget and appropriations process which Congress has so sorely lacked now for almost two decades.
Of course, if we can use the demand for a border wall as a pretext for a long-term shutdown of the federal government, we can probably all live with that quite nicely too!