Monday, March 02, 2009

The phantom filibuster

David RePass has an op-ed in NYT today that reinforces what I've been saying for months now. "The phantom filibuster is clearly unconstitutional." Our founders never intended for a supermajority requirement for every single measure and its current misuse is easily remedied.
[F]ixing the problem would not require any change in Senate rules. The phantom filibuster could be done away with overnight by the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid. All he needs to do is call the minority’s bluff by bringing a challenged measure to the floor and letting the debate begin.

Some argue that this procedure would mire the Senate in one filibuster after another. But avoiding delay by not bringing measures to the floor makes no sense. For fear of not getting much done, almost nothing is done at all. And what does get done is so compromised and toothless to make it filibuster-proof that it fails to solve problems.
The current abuse of the filibuster in the interests of false comity is merely a ruse to protect any member of that cozy club from taking a real stance on anything. It's political theater at its worst and lies at the root of what ails the system. If Reid won't end this charade, we would do well to get someone in there who will.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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