For years now Senate Republicans have been filibustering … everything. At the end of last year there was an effort to convince Democrats in the Senate of the need to reform the filibuster so things We the People need to get done could get done. At the last minute, however, this effort was scuttled by House Majority Leader Harry Reid who instead made a gentleman’s agreement with Republican leader Mitch McConnell. So now Republicans are filibustering … everything. And Reid, in a strongly-worded statement, threatened to issue a sternly-worded letter.
In the last few years pretty much everything We the People were hoping to accomplish to make our lives better was filibustered by Senate Republicans. So many bills and nominees that were so important to us … the American Jobs Act, a terrible cost. The Bring Jobs Home Act and the Ending Offshoring Act to end tax incentives for sending jobs and factories out of the country, the Public Option, the DREAM Act, the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act, the Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act, and the DISCLOSE Act so we could at least know what companies and countries were bribing our politicians. … Just so much cost…
Public Doesn’t Know
The public doesn’t even know that so many important acts and nominees have been filibustered! The public believes a filibuster is Senators taling all night, but rules changes allowed Senators to block bills without doing anything. The media did not report these obstructions as filibusters, only saying things like “the Senate failed to pass a bill to…” or “Senate rules requiring 60 votes …” or, most destructive to democracy, “Democrats failed to gain -passage of …” The public had no idea what was happening, no idea of the extent of the obstruction, and no way to know who to hold accountable for the failure of government to accomplish anything. Democracy can not function without an informed citizenry.
Make Them Talk
So after years of obstruction and non-functioning government it was proposed to change the rules and “make them talk.” The idea was to restore the filibuster to make Senators just talk — exactly what the public thinks the filibuster rule already is. There was an all-out effort to get this done, and a sufficient number of Senators appeared to be on board. But in January, Reid scuttled the effort to Fix the Filibuster,
“I’m not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold,” Reid (D-Nev.) told me this morning, referring to the number of votes needed to halt a filibuster. “With the history of the Senate, we have to understand the Senate isn’t and shouldn’t be like the House.”
Of course, if Republicans take the Senate their very first act will be to end the filibuster so Democrats can’t use it.
So Here We Are
So here we are. Republicans are still filibustering and obstructing everything and everyone. Government continues to be broken. The will of the public continues to be thwarted and the public’s faith in government and democracy to solve their problems further recedes.
But now Harry Reid is fed up! He issued a strongly-worded statement in impassioned floor debate!
And there are rumors that it is possible that he might resort to sending Republicans a strongly-worded letter. So matters are well in hand.
A sternly worded letter and hours of impassioned floor debate! That’ll show ’em!
If Harry Reid keeps this up I might have no choice but to issue forth an angry tweet.