Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat
Before I get into the Republican hypocrisy about the Senate filibuster which is as loud as Metallica heavy metal concert unclose with no earplugs and as obvious as the Grand Canyon is big, I just want to get to the constitutional arguments about the Senate filibuster.
Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution grants all Federal legislative powers with Congress. Under the U.S. Constitution Congress writes their own rules. So the Senate decided to have a filibuster and cloture rule. The House decide to have an almost completely majoritarian framework in how they run their business. Which is both the right of the Senate and House of Representatives to write and enforce their rules the way they decide to. Whatever rules they make for themselves are constitutional. Its the laws that Congress passes together that are subjected to judicial rules by the Federal judiciary.
Now the more fun side of this debate. Where were GOP calls for eliminating the Senate filibuster and calling it unconstitutional the first two years of the Obama Administration when Democrats controlled Congress and even had 3/5 majorities in both the House and Senate? But under then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a few Senate Democrats as well, were still able to block some bills proposed and passed by House Democrats. Like extending Unemployment Insurance and additional stimulus bills to the economy. Senate Republicans were able to do this because they stayed inline and prevented Democrats from getting 3/5 majority vote in the Senate.
Or where was the GOP call to eliminate the filibuster from 2011-15 when there were two divided Congress’s because House Republicans won back the House in 2010 and held onto majority in 2012. With Senate Democrats keeping the Senate in 2010 and 2012? Senate Republicans with 47 and then later 45 members, were able to block a whole list of Obama Administration executive and later judicial appointments simply by preventing Senate Democrats from obtaining 60 votes. Which is why then Senate Leader Harry Reid eliminated the filibuster in 2013 on executive and judicial nominees.
There are very good reasons why Congress is more unpopular than traveling salesman, lawyers, trial lawyers and make conmen look like good decent moral people. One of those reasons is hypocrisy.
Members of Congress will say they believe in fiscal responsibility and even fiscal conservatism. Until they become fiscally responsible at least in the sense that they’re now in power and in control of the nation’s fiscal policy. They run against deficit spending when they’re in the opposition, especially when they’re in both the opposition and minority, which is where Republicans were in 2010 and 2011. And then whey come back into power which is where Republicans are now, deficits no longer seem to matter to them. Especially if they have political priorities and objectives and things they need to accomplish in order to get reelected in 2018.
Why try to pay for tax relief and tax reform and ask people to pay for those things with few government services, when you can just finance those things on the national credit card and get way with it, if they’re successful in passing it this year? Being in the political opposition is easy in the sense that you can complain all you want and not really pay any price for it. But governing is difficult because it means making decisions and risking offending groups that you may need to win reelection. Which is where the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans find themselves now.
Republican complaints about the Senate filibuster today and Congress failing to move on anything because legislation getting blocked in the Senate, well their a couple of problems with that.
One, the House isn’t passing much if any legislation right now either. At least legislation that even Senate Republicans want to deal with. So maybe the GOP should look at their colleagues in the House when it comes to gridlock or their own Senate Leadership. But the second reason is more obvious and is nothing more than hypocrisy on a month long sugar high. The GOP was in favor of the filibuster when they were in the opposition, especially the opposition and minority, because they could use it to obstruct the Obama Administration and Congressional Republicans. Now they’re against it because they’re divided and can’t seem to find enough votes to even pass legislation with a simple majority, let alone a super majority. Opposition to the filibuster is nothing more than political hypocrisy at this point and a big example of why Americans hate politics and hate Congress.
Now This World: Trace Dominguez- U.S. Senator Rand Paul: What Is A Filibuster?
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