Stop the Amendment Tree so that the Filibusters Diminish.


There was a reason and a lesson to be had when Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) failed to get a filibuster change legislation to pass in 1995. Reason being? It ends up favoring the majority power.

According to the Senate’s official history, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison saw the Senate as “the great ‘anchor’ of the government” that would cool the passions of the House of Representatives. “George Washington is said to have told Jefferson that the framers had created the Senate to ‘cool’ House legislation just as a saucer was used to cool hot tea.” which ensures a “deliberate process” of justification.

In which, current Senate rules (established in 1975) allow filibustering which, essentially, allows  Senators to make their voices heard and guarantees them the opportunity to offer amendments during Senate floor debates.

However, Senator Harkin is wanting to grant power to the Democratic Party by introducing a resolution to lower the filibuster threshold after each successive cloture vote despite influential Democratic opinion (including that of President Obama and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton) to keep the filibuster option available. (See below for a video on Democratic filibuster support).

That is, on the first cloture vote, 60 votes would be needed to end debate. If one did not get 60 votes, one could file another cloture motion and 2 days later have another vote. That vote would require 57 votes to end debate. If cloture was not obtained, one could file another cloture motion and wait 2 more days. In that vote, one would need 54 votes to end debate. If one did not get that, one could file one more cloture motion, wait 2 more days, and 51 votes would be needed to move to the merits of the bill.

The argument in favor is that the Senate Minority is wasting time in filibustering and while it is unquestionable that individual Senators have used the filibuster to leverage their power to offer amendments and to extend debate. The question boils down to why?  In recent years, this has primarily been used as a tactic to counter the Majority Leaders’ tactic of filling the amendment tree.

Perhaps instead of trying to stop the filibuster- the Democratic Senate Majority should give a voice to the Minority and let their amendments be heard and debated with integrity.

Any other excuses as to why the filibuster should be extingushed should be cast in a voice of deceit and maliciousness sent forth by the Majority Power in an attempt to power grab and push forth their controversial legislation before the 2012 elections.

Copyright (c) January 5, 2011. All Rights Reserved.

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