But should the Senate rules be changed in order to end the Republican minority’s rampant filibuster abuse?
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that the Senate is the world’s most deliberative body for a reason–unlike the House, the Senate has significant protections for the rights of the minority. And I do believe that the minority should have those rights and should be able to prevent the Senate from becoming majoritarian.
So while I do support the filibuster, the current Republican majority has utterly and completely abused it. They’ve made the country almost ungovernable by requiring an unrealistic 60-vote supermajority to pass every piece of worthwhile legislation.
Even though the Democrats do have a 60-member caucus, the GOP’s constant filibustering means that Democrats can’t afford to lose a single member on any important bill. And considering how geographically and ideologically diverse the Democratic caucus is, it’s nearly impossible to hold them all together for nearly every vote.
And what the Republicans are doing is unprecedented–they’ve repeatedly set and broken records for filibustering. Just look at the huge spike in filibustering during the 110th Congress, when the GOP became the minority:
And it’s only gotten worse since then.
What’s the solution? I’m not entirely sure. A Senate rule change is certainly in order, one that would either limit the ability of the minority to filibuster or one that would exact some kind of price for filibustering, thus forcing the minority to use the filibuster judiciously.
Typically, the minority has enough respect for the majority–or at least respect for the fact that the American people voted to make the majority the majority–to make judicious use of the filibuster. The filibuster was meant to be a shield, not a sword, used to protect the minority, not assault the majority.
Unfortunately, the Republicans decided to hell with the American people and with American history, deciding instead to filibuster everything under the sun.
This is not the way our country was meant to be governed, and I don’t think the Democratic majority–or any majority, for that matter–should have to stand for it. We need to draw a line between acceptable uses of the filibuster and filibuster abuse.
If the GOP can’t control themselves, if they can’t bring themselves to respect the will of the people and allow the majority to move their agenda forward, then they should be forced to. The American people have the right to a government that works, and a rule that is routinely abused to prevent our government from doing the people’s business is a rule that needs to be changed.