A growing number of political commentators on both the left and right believe that it’s time to dispose of the dreaded filibuster because of the negative effect it’s had on policy making.
Included among those who favor discarding the non-constitutional rule is Fox anchor Gregg Jarrett.
“This is exactly what the framers didn’t want,” he said during a discussion Friday evening with GOP Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan about the Senate’s current inability to pass a House-approved stopgap funding bill that contains money for President Donald Trump’s border wall.
“They argued about having it, and they abandoned the idea because they tried it before in the Articles of Confederation and it led to chaos and dysfunction.”
That’s true. Founding fathers such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton warned that the filibuster would empower the minority over the majority and cause “tedious delays” in passing legislation. Or in some case, it’d completely stymie legislation altogether.
“For the last decade, hundreds of productive bills have been defeated by this artificial device called a filibuster. Isn’t it time to end the filibuster for everything once and for all?” Jarrett added.
Listen to the discussion below:
“Imagine if they kept the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh wouldn’t be on the Supreme Court,” congressman Jordan chimed in.
Also true. To push Gorsuch and Kavanaugh onto the high court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had to apply the “nuclear option,” a tool that made it so that he only needed a simple majority of 51 votes versus a super majority of 60 votes to proceed.
The only reason the majority leader applied the “nuclear option,” however, was because his predecessor, Democrat Sen. Harry Reid, had already abolished the filibuster for Supreme Court nominee votes in a decision made in 2013.
Reid changed the Senate rules at the time to stop Republican senators from blocking then-President Barack Obama’s judicial nominee picks. McConnell followed suit in 2017 for Gorsuch’s vote and in 2018 for Kavanaugh’s vote.
“It seems me like when you’re talking about our nation’s security … this is of paramount importance and we should say, ‘United States Senate, maybe you need to change that so we can get this done,'” Jordan added.
McConnell has thus far rejected calls to go “nuclear,” arguing that even without the filibuster, Republicans would still lack the votes needed to pass the stopgap measure.
McConnell Spox @davidpopp out with new statement regarding Trump call to nuke the legislative filibuster for the CR/border wall $ bill.
Translation: Not going to happen. pic.twitter.com/Duhndxb5Fk
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) December 21, 2018
It also remains unclear whether abolishing the filibuster altogether would even be a good idea, especially given as how many voices on the far-left would also like to see it removed.
Over at Think Progress, committed left-wing ideologue Ian Millhiser argues that “there’s … rarely been a safer time to eliminate the filibuster.”
“Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) becomes House speaker in less than two weeks. … And in the long term, a filibuster-free Senate would be a huge boon for liberals,” he opined. “Republicans have a very slim majority in the Senate and are unlikely to ram much legislation through during the holidays.”
“If McConnell were to nuke the filibuster, Trump would get his wall funding, but Democrats would quickly gain the ability to block any additional lawmaking.”
Jonathan Chait of New York magazine concurs on the basis that the filibuster will have to be abolished anyway for Democrats to pass their agenda when they retake control of all of Congress. So why not just let Republicans abolish it?
“[I]f Democrats want to have any chance at enacting major reforms the next time they control government, they’re going to have to do it themselves,” he wrote. “Trump’s demand to abolish the filibuster offers Democrats the perfect opportunity to show that they agree with him for more than just partisan reasons.”
But despite concerns about how Democrats might abuse the “nuclear option” in the future, many on social media still seem to believe McConnell should abolish the filibuster anyway.
@senatemajldr Pull the Nuclear option. Last chance !!
— Mavrick5 (@Mav3kids) December 22, 2018
You should have went nuclear Mitch
— Tom Carbone (@tcjbone) December 22, 2018
@senatemajldr if anyone should resign it’s you Mitch. DemonRATS will use the Nuclear Option in a heartbeat. You are so against Trump you will not help him or the American People! YOU RESIGN NOW!
— Jacki (@no1mate) December 22, 2018
Use nuclear option for christ sake
— Miguel Revilla (@MiguelRevilla10) December 22, 2018
Abolish the filibuster and finally secure our border!!
— Paul Carrozzo (@pcarrozz1) December 22, 2018
@senatemajldr use nuclear option, like Harry Reid did!
— Deplorable Robert (@rb87700) December 22, 2018
@senatemajldr Yes shut the government down! Senate both Republicans & Democrats must pass this bill fund the Wall! I believe there will be some Democrats who will vote for this bill! Go nuclear majority rules! It’s National security!
— Rosemarie Camacho (@aijiaru96) December 22, 2018
You didn’t do again what the people wanted! Use the Nuclear Option!
— SkidooCarol (@skidoocrisco) December 22, 2018
However, ominous tweets like this should concern Republicans:
As a Democrat, it wouldn’t bother me if he ends the filibuster. You can pass your border wall funding. And when the Dems win control of the Senate in 2020, you can say hello to Medicare for All, gun control, fair elections, end of gerrymandering, and a 13 seat Supreme Court!
— Gene Seybold (@SeyboldGene) December 22, 2018
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