Harry Reid’s Plan To Eliminate The Senate Filibuster
by Rudy Cajka on July 24, 2012 at 9:15 AM
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the current majority leader of the U.S. Senate, has been quietly preparing to alter the Senate rules regarding filibusters. Filibusters are normally used by opponents of a measure to talk that measure to death on the Senate floor, thus preventing its passage. In recent years, with a Democrat majority in the Senate, the Republican minority has been making excellent use of the filibuster to prevent new, radical legislation from becoming law in today’s Democrat majority Senate.
The normal method of changing the Senate rules requires a two thirds vote of the senators present and voting to effect such a change. You might ask, wouldn’t it be impossible to change the filibuster rule, since there are more than enough Republicans to defeat such a rule change. Unfortunately, Senate rules allow for rule changes at the beginning of every new Senate (in January of odd numbered years), and it takes only 51 Senators to pass any rule change. If the Democrats retain their majority in 2013, and Harry Reid wants to bring up a rule change to eliminate filibusters, he can do that. The word in Washington is that he can and will bring up the rule change at the beginning of the new Senate on Jan. 3, 2013 and he may well have the votes to get that feat accomplished.
Senate Democrats are extremely frustrated with what they perceive as obstruction by Republicans to their legislative goals. Remember, ObamaCare passed the Senate once when the Democrats had exactly 60 votes and could thus overcome a Republican filibuster. After Scott Brown of Massachusetts was elected at the beginning of 2010, the Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority, and had to resort to a great deal of legislative chicanery and trickery to ultimately pass the ObamaCare legislation that most Americans oppose today.
If Harry Reid gets his way and can find 51 Senators to vote for the filibuster rule change at the beginning of the new Senate in 2013, any hope for legislation to reduce the massive spending and tax increases that Democrats want to impose on America will be gone. Rather, we will see a continuing string of Democrat “victories” to punish oil companies, institute Cap and Trade legislation, increase welfare spending, increase the power of the EPA and push for the ever increasing size and scope for the Federal government.
Why We Must Elect a Republican Senate in November
If we don’t elect enough Republicans this November to gain control of the U.S. Senate, I believe we will be faced with the prospect of seeing the elimination of the filibuster, which has protected the rights of the minority since 1837, when the first actual filibuster occurred on the Senate floor. If the filibuster is eliminated by a Democrat Senate, does anyone think that the rule would be reinstated by a future Republican Senate? Why should Republicans give that power back to Democrats once Republicans are back in power in the Senate? So, any tinkering with the filibuster will likely be permanent, if Americans let Harry Reid and the Democrats make these rule changes in the next Senate.
Unfortunately, the outlook for electing a Republican Senate at this point in the 2012 campaign is bleak, at best. The Republicans need four additional Senate seats to win an outright majority. Republicans do have an opportunity at winning current Democrat held Senate seats in Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin. None of these seats are certain wins, but I would give the Republicans a slight edge in these Senate contests. Unfortunately, Republicans will almost certainly lose Maine, and will likely lose Massachusetts and Nevada, and are struggling to hold Indiana, thus greatly reducing their chances for a Senate majority in 2013. I know there are political pundits who talk about the possibility of winning other Senate seats now held by Democrats. Among these long shot states for possible Republican pickups are Florida, Ohio, Montana and Virginia, but these are long shots right now and will flip only with a substantial Romney victory in November. As of right now, Romney’s chances of winning the presidency are precarious and will depend on a strong turnout of Republicans and Tea Party backers. If Obama wins, or the race is essentially tied, I think my Senate calls will be accurate.
I hope that active Republicans educate themselves about the various Senate races across the country and contribute to those Senate Republican candidates that have a real chance of winning. If the Republicans do not win the Senate in the November election, our minority rights that have been protected up to now by Senate filibusters will be a thing of the past.