It Is Time To End The Filibuster
The “rights” of the minority party should not come at the cost of minority rights. H. R. 1 must be passed to defend against voter suppression.
“Republicans Slam Dems Using Race To Attack GA Law”
- Fox “News” Headline 3/29/21 9:28 AM
In the most generous definition of the filibuster, the objective of the procedure is to ensure that the party controlling the majority in the Senate consults and compromises with the minority. In times where both parties are willing to work together, this moderates legislation and is good for the country. However, when one party refuses to engage with the other and believes that “willing to compromise is evidence of a weak position”, then the result is gridlock and the inability of the government to work on behalf of the American people.
While both parties have been willing to use the filibuster to block legislation that directly contradicts their values, the Republicans have turned the procedure into a political weapon. The use of filibusters increased dramatically during the Obama administration with “anything more controversial than renaming a post office [requiring] 60 votes during the entire Obama presidency.” Senate Republicans were especially derelict in their duty to provide advice and consent for the president’s executive branch and judicial nominations. While most presidents are given wide latitude in selecting people to fill these positions, Obama was faced with a situation where the opposing party “announced their intention to filibuster all of [his] nominees to the DC circuit court simply because they didn’t want a Democratic president to be able to fill any more vacancies.” That is not governing; it is obstruction.
With Biden’s presidency less than 100 days old, the Republicans are once again indicating that they will use the filibuster to grind Senate business to a halt. The majority of Americans approved of the COVID-19 relief plan put forth by the president, but Republican congress members voted unanimously to reject it. They rebuffed any attempt to compromise, forcing the Democrats to use parliamentary manuvers that…