Mitch McConnell is playing a new game of Block the Democrats in a 50/50 Senate. He wants to hold on to something called the “legislative filibuster” which calls for a 60-vote supermajority on most bills.
And not just keep it, but get Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to agree, promise, pinky-swear that he won’t use something ominously called “the nuclear option” to get to the 50/50 with Vice President Harris casting the tie-breaker. Mitch is essentially filibustering the rules changes to preserve the filibuster. And note, nuking the filibuster is not in the rules change right now, but Mitch’s hissy fit is preventing Committees being reordered to accommodate the Democratic majority creating a zombie-land where the floor is controlled by the Democrats and the Committees are still controlled by the Republicans.
So, should they nuke the legislative filibuster? Mitch and the Republicans make it sound like it is something we should keep to honor the long standing traditions of the Senate. Constitutionally, there are only five instances where a two-thirds majority is required: override a veto, impeachment removal, treaty ratification, expelling a member, and constitutional amendments. So, basically this is a “rule” and not a Constitutional requirement.
To make matters worse, Republicans have already nuked the filibuster rule multiple times. It is how they forced through all those conservative judges with simple majorities. Ironically, the legislative filibuster can be killed by a simple majority vote.
So, I say kill it. Kill it dead. It is the one thing that prevents the majority from getting what it wants. So, yes, we get what we want if we go nuclear option. We can sail through all kinds of legislation. Vice President Harris will be longing for her old Senate office space, she’ll be spending so much time in the Senate casting that tie-breaking vote.
But is there a better reason to nuke it? Yup. The legislative filibuster transfers power from the Majority to the Minority. But wait, you say, consider that the ACA would be history if not for legislative filibuster. Ahhh yes, the problem is that we’re not always the Majority. So, now we must ask, will it be worth the retribution in two or four or six years, when Democrats once again relinquish control of the Senate?
So, preserve it. Don’t kill it. We need it when we’re not in power. (Sounding a little like Mitch now.) Maybe using it as a “light switch” turning it on and off? Now you see it, now you don’t? Today, we are operating under filibuster, tomorrow not so much? I can’t answer this question. Can you?