Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Filibuster Flip-Floppers

If you watch the news you have seen the Joe Biden and the Democrats are unhappy with the Senate rules regarding the filibuster.

Today the Democrats were unsuccessful in ending a Republican filibuster of H.R. 1 which is titled the "For the People Act of 2021".  It should be more appropriately called the "Democrat Election Fixing Act" in that it would take almost all election powers from the states for federal offices and put them under the control of the federal government. 

It would liberalize and institutionalize all the voting problems we saw in the 2020 election. It would provide for automatic and same-day voter registration. It would require all states to have expanded early and mail-in voting. It would limit the ability of the states to remove voters from the voter rolls. It would limit the ability to have voter ID. It would provide for federal funding of Congressional races with small donations being matched 6:1 with matching funds.

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez let the cat out the bag in an interview on CNN recently when she said that it was critical that H.R. 1 become law because Democrats “cannot rely solely on the wish of winning elections.”

Source: https://www.independentsentinel.com/aoc-admits-without-hr-1-dems-cannot-rely-solely-on-the-wish-of-winning-elections/

Notice that she said nothing about making elections more honest or fair for everyone. Her only concern seems to be to fix it so that the deck is always stacked in favor of the Democrats.

It just so happens that the campaign funding provision would also benefit AOC to the tune of about $6.7 million in federal funds in the next election cycle. What a coincidence!

What is most interesting is the same Democrats who now oppose the filibuster were ardent supporters of it in the past.

You might call them the filibuster flip-floppers.

For example, as recently as 2005 when Joe Biden was a Senator, he gave a speech on the Senate floor forcefully defending the filibuster rules. He said that ending the filibuster would be a mistake.

"It is not only a bad idea, it upsets the constitutional design and it disservices the country," Biden’s speech said. "No longer would the Senate be that ‘different kind of legislative body’ that the Founders intended. No longer would the Senate be the ‘saucer’ to cool the passions of the immediate majority."

In 2005, Biden valued the filibuster, lamenting what might happen if it were eliminated: "Senators would start thinking about changing other rules when they became ‘inconvenient.’ Instead of two-thirds of the vote to change a rule, you’d now have precedent that it only takes a bare majority. Altering Senate rules to help in one political fight or another could become standard operating procedure, which, in my view, would be disastrous."

I guess Biden no longer values the incentive for the more deliberate and consensus-driven process that the filibuster rules are designed to facilitate.

Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer has also been vocal about the filibuster.

However, he did not seem to share the same views when he was leading the Senate Democrats in opposing the agenda of Trump and the Republicans in the previous Congress.

There have been 67 cloture motions to end debate in this Congress thus far regarding filibusters.

In the last two years of the Trump administration the Democrats used the filibuster 328 times. It was used 201 times in the first two years of Trump's term. 

Source: https://www.senate.gov/legislative/cloture/clotureCounts.htm

The filibuster was never used more than in the those two years and it was all the work of the Democrats. Here are the numbers going back to 1981.

Source: https://www.senate.gov/legislative/cloture/clotureCounts.htm

The fact is that the filibuster has been used by both parties in the Senate with increasing regularity in recent years. The Republicans used it to slow down the Obama agenda and the Democrats used it to stifle Trump's plans.

You can argue that is exactly what the Founders intended. They did not want laws being passed that reflected what might be passing passions. They wanted to insure that our laws would reflect consensus of thought and stand the test of time.

How could this be the case on strict party line votes as we have seen with so many proposed laws the last few years?

Those supporting the filibusters are being called "obstructionists".

What happened to the idea that our elected officials should be looking for common ground and that attitude should be applauded and not denigrated?

There does not seem to be much hope for that with the filibuster flip-floppers in Washington.

1 comment:

  1. "If there's a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let's let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination," Graham said March 10, 2016. "And you could use my words against me, and you'd be absolutely right."