The Scorched-Earth Senate

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  vic-eldred  •  one month ago  •  47 comments

By:   Mitch McConnell (WSJ)

The Scorched-Earth Senate
If Democrats kill the filibuster by 50-50 vote, they'll release furies they can barely imagine.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



'The legislative filibuster is the most important distinction between the Senate and the House," one of my colleagues said a few years ago. "Without the 60-vote threshold for legislation, the Senate becomes a majoritarian institution, just like the House, much more subject to the winds of short-term electoral change. No senator would like to see that happen."

That was the Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, in April 2017.

When President Trump pressed Republicans to kill the filibuster, our Democratic colleagues cried foul. When our Republican majority stood on principle and refused to wreck the rules, our Democratic colleagues happily used the filibuster themselves. In some cases, they blocked legislation like Sen. Tim Scott's police-reform bill. Other times, they simply did what minority parties always do—used the mere existence of the filibuster to influence must-pass legislation long before it got to the floor.

There's so much emphasis on the most extreme bills that either party might pass with a simple majority that people forget the Senate's 60-vote threshold is the only reason that any routine, must-pass legislation is bipartisan when government is united. Big funding deals, appropriation bills, farm bills, highway bills, the defense authorization bill—the 60-vote threshold of Senate Rule 22 backstops all of it.

The Senate Democrats who are pressuring our colleagues from Arizona and West Virginia to reverse their commitments are arguing for a radically less stable and less consensus-driven system of government. Nothing in federal law would ever be settled. That may be what a few liberal activists want, but does anyone believe the American people were voting for an entirely new system of government by electing Joe Biden to the White House, a narrow House majority, and a 50-50 Senate?

Some Democratic senators seem to imagine that breaking the rules on a razor-thin majority would be a tidy-trade-off. Sure, it might damage the institution, but then nothing would stand between them and their entire agenda, a new era of fast-track policy-making. But anyone who really knows the Senate knows that’s not what would happen.

Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like. None of us have served one minute in the Senate that was completely drained of comity and consent. This is an institution that requires unanimous consent to turn the lights on before noon, to proceed with a garden-variety floor speech, to dispense with the reading of lengthy legislative texts, to schedule committee business, to move even uncontroversial nominees at faster than a snail’s pace.




Imagine a world where every single task requires a physical quorum of 51 senators on the floor—and, by the way, the vice president doesn’t count. Everything that Democratic Senates did to Presidents Bush and Trump, everything the Republican Senate did to President Obama, would be child’s play compared with the disaster that Democrats would create for their own priorities, if they broke the Senate. Even the most mundane tasks of our chamber—and therefore of the Biden presidency—would become much harder, not easier, in a postnuclear 50-50 Senate.

If the Democrats break the rules to kill Rule 22 on a 50-50 basis, then we will use every other rule to make tens of millions of Americans’ voices heard. Perhaps the majority would come after the other rules in turn. Perhaps Rule 22 would be only the first of many to fall, until the Senate ceased to be distinct from the House in any respect.

Even so, the process would be long and laborious. This chaos wouldn’t open up an express lane for the Biden presidency to speed into the history books. The Senate would be more like a 100-car pileup—nothing moving as gawkers watch.

And then there’s the small problem that majorities are never permanent. The last time a Democratic majority leader was trying to start a nuclear exchange— Harry Reid in 2013—I offered a warning. I said my colleagues would regret it a lot sooner than they thought. A few years and a few Supreme Court vacancies later, many of our Democratic colleagues admitted publicly that they did.

If the Democrats kill the legislative filibuster, history would repeat itself, but more dramatically. As soon as Republicans wound up back in control, we wouldn’t stop at erasing every liberal change that hurt the country. We’d strengthen America with all kinds of conservative policies with zero input from the other side.

How about a nationwide right-to-work law? Defunding Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities on day one? A whole new era of domestic energy production. Sweeping new protections for conscience and the right to life of the unborn? Concealed-carry reciprocity in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Massive hardening of security on our southern border?

Even now, we saw during amendment votes days ago that certain common-sense Republican positions enjoy more support in the current Senate than some of the Democratic committee chairmen’s priorities—and this is with them in the majority.

The pendulum would swing both ways, and it would swing hard.

My Republican colleagues and I refused to kill the Senate for instant gratification. In 2017 and 2018, a sitting president lobbied me to do exactly what Democrats want to do now. I agreed with many of his policy goals, but I said no. Becoming a U.S. senator comes with higher duties than steamrolling any obstacle to short-term power.

Less than two months ago, two of our Democratic colleagues said they understand that. If they keep their word, we have a bipartisan majority that can put principle first and save the Senate.


Mr. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is Senate minority leader. This article is adapted from a Tuesday floor speech.


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Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    one month ago

The only thing standing in the way of abolishing the filibuster is the pledge made by two moderate democrat Senators. The radical left is applying the pressure on Schumer.


I am not the topic

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
1.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    one month ago

Good, do it. Fuck the filibuster. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
1.1.1  Texan1211  replied to  Thrawn 31 @1.1    one month ago

Dems don't have the guts.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
1.1.2  Thrawn 31  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.1    one month ago

I know, but one can dream.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
1.1.3  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Thrawn 31 @1.1    one month ago

I second the motion, and I'm contacting various senators to do the same. 

Time fo congress to work for the majority of Americans, not the GOPs wealthy oligarchs.

Raphael Warnock was spot on with his comment about Moscow Mitch being so concerned about the minority in the senate while simultaneously ignoring minorities throughout America.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Masters Participates
1.1.4  Greg Jones  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.1.3    one month ago

If the Dems get voted out in the midterms, probably in both Houses, you would be OK if the filibuster was gone?

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
1.1.5  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.4    one month ago

Works for me..... Pubs look to be on the wrong side of popular voter issues and history regarding the recent Covid bill, future Infrastructure Legislation, and the Voter Empowerment Act, so lets get rid of the filibuster and make it so that votes for or against popular bills do end up having consequences at the ballot box.

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
1.1.6  MAGA  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.1    one month ago

Cocaine Mitch will carry out what he said as he should.  He should figuratively poison the wells, salt the fields, bury the tractor, and burn the barn of senate business if they do.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.2  Tessylo  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    one month ago

Who are the 'radical left' you are always referring to?

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
1.2.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  Tessylo @1.2    one month ago

Everyone to the left of him.

 
 
 
JBB
PhD Principal
1.2.2  JBB  replied to  Tessylo @1.2    one month ago

People who believe in science, math, modern economics and kniw history! Those who believe the earth is round and orbits the Sun.  Reality based and better educated well rounded logical rational individuals. Basically just Democrats!

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
2  evilgenius    one month ago

As I've said through this whole debate - if McConnel and co are going to gridlock the Senate the Dems will have no choice but to change the rules. It's on both sides to work together.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  evilgenius @2    one month ago

Gridlock means what ? Opposing radical legislation?

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
2.1.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1    one month ago

Dude, you are making the word “radical” meaningless. If everything is radical, which with how often you use it everything you don’t agree with is it seems, then nothing is.

All your constant use of the word “radical” achieves is making everyone else take you less seriously with each post.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.2  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Thrawn 31 @2.1.1    one month ago

Let me tell you how this is going to go. Pelosi is going to send over a lot of progressive bills which Republican Senators are bound to oppose. Schumer will try to persuade Manchin and Sinema that the only way to get it through is to do away with the filibuster. If he can persuade them with that, then & only then Pelosi will send over H.R. 1.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
2.1.3  evilgenius  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1    one month ago
Gridlock means what ?

Not everything is radical.. There have been many bills passed in the House with good bipartisan support that die in the Senate. 

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
2.1.4  Thrawn 31  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.2    one month ago

I know how it is going to go, the filibuster won’t go anywhere no matter how much I wish it would.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.5  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  evilgenius @2.1.3    one month ago

We had 5 covid bills passed with bipartisan support. The most recent one passed without bipartisan support. The reason - it was mostly radical legislation. If anyone wants to dispute that just take a look at the farm provision of that bill:

Section 1005 of the bill offers “socially disadvantaged” farm owners   total debt forgiveness of up to hundreds of thousands of no-strings dollars per farmer. But white men needn’t apply. The bill’s definition of “socially disadvantaged,” drawn from elsewhere in federal law, limits aid to racial groups who faced historic discrimination.

Newly elected Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), who proposed the measure, says it will make up for years of discrimination. Sorry, senator, but this is discrimination.

Discrimination likewise mars the bill’s aid to restaurants. It grants restaurant owners up to $5 million per facility to offset losses caused by lockdowns. That’s a lifeline for restaurants barely hanging on.

Here’s the hitch: Only women, veterans and owners of “socially and economically disadvantaged” concerns (again, defined racially elsewhere in federal law) may apply during the program’s first three weeks. Most white males go to the back of the line, even if their needs are more pressing.  

Treating white male farmers and restaurant owners like second-class citizens violates the principle that we are all equal under the law, a principle guaranteed by the 14 th   Amendment to the US Constitution.




Democrats used "reconciliation" or that monstrosity would never have passed.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
2.1.6  evilgenius  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.5    one month ago
The most recent one passed without bipartisan support. The reason - it was mostly radical legislation.

The reason the last one didn't pass with bipartisan support in the Senate is because it gives the Dems a win. The farm bill issue you listed isn't new they were just repackaged under a new name with additional money because they are hurting the most right now. Farmers got $46.2 billion in agricultural subsidies last year, but 97% went to white farmers. I don't see you complaining about how unfair, or radical, that was.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2.1.7  Tessylo  replied to  Thrawn 31 @2.1.1    one month ago
"Dude, you are making the word “radical” meaningless."

True!

"All your constant use of the word “radical” achieves is making everyone else take you less seriously with each post."

Too late!

 
 
 
Ozzwald
PhD Quiet
2.1.8  Ozzwald  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.5    one month ago
 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
2.1.9  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Thrawn 31 @2.1.1    one month ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
2.1.10  Dulay  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.2    one month ago

HR 1 has already been sent to the Senate.

jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
bugsy
PhD Guide
2.1.11  bugsy  replied to  Thrawn 31 @2.1.1    one month ago
Dude, you are making the word “radical” meaningless.

You mean like the words "racist" and "supremist" are now meaningless?

 
 
 
r.t..b...
Masters Participates
2.1.12  r.t..b...  replied to  bugsy @2.1.11    one month ago

No, bugsy, when those excuses are levied, it will at last and at least require an explanation.

The louder the allegation, when the volume only serves to deafen discussion, the less it speaks to the crux of the matter...giving a greater platform to those willing to address substantial issues.

So please, to you and the like-minded, add your voice...it only confirms the need for change. 

 
 
 
bugsy
PhD Guide
2.1.13  bugsy  replied to  r.t..b... @2.1.12    one month ago

The problem is those words, and several others, have been bandied about by the left relentlessly, and with zero proof, but only used to shut someone up. Because of that, those words mean nothing because people have caught on that that is the only reason they are being used.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
3  Thrawn 31    one month ago

Get rid of the filibuster, let’s mix things up and make the candidate you vote for actually matter.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
3.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Thrawn 31 @3    one month ago

Agreed.  Let's make votes by senators and representatives have consequences at the ballot box.

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
3.2  devangelical  replied to  Thrawn 31 @3    one month ago

I'd just like to watch some of the fascist relics stand up and speak around the clock in the senate enough times to hopefully cull the herd.

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
4  Texan1211    one month ago

Oh, please, please, PLEASE, Democrats, get some guts and just FREAKING DO IT instead of bla-bla-bla-ing about it like little children.

Shit or get off the pot.

Sow the seeds of your own demise!

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
4.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  Texan1211 @4    one month ago

I pray to god they do, and I do t even believe in a god, because I am sick of the same old shit day in and day out. Do it so things actually happen.

And please, it won’t be their demise, neither party is going anywhere. We hear that bullshit very election cycle about the parties and every election cycle it is bullshit. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
4.1.1  Texan1211  replied to  Thrawn 31 @4.1    one month ago

I'm willing to put it this way:
IF Democrats grow a pair and do this, I am willing to bet they lose the House AND Senate in the midterms.

Any takers?

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
4.1.2  Thrawn 31  replied to  Texan1211 @4.1.1    one month ago

All depends on what they pass legislatively. Their policy positions across the board are more popular than the GOP’s... policies (if you can cal their vague outlines of something resembling an idea a policy). If they do it then proceed to do nothing then yeah they will get their asses kicked, but if they go on a tear enacting legislation that enjoys 60% plus support and run on those achievements I can see them gaining in both houses.

But they are the Democrats so odds are they would do it, pass some legislation and then sit meekly by while the GOP does all it has left and bashes them into oblivion. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
4.1.3  Texan1211  replied to  Thrawn 31 @4.1.2    one month ago

It would be fantastic to force Pelosi and Schumer into retirement.

The Squad would see to that if Democrats fare poorly in the midterms.

Great for America!

 
 
 
Ronin2
Senior Quiet
4.1.4  Ronin2  replied to  Thrawn 31 @4.1.2    one month ago

Really.

When the economic downturn continues; and the price of gas continues to go up causing inflation- who are voters going to blame? The Dems control everything right now; and trying for an extra massive power grab.

Or do you think that the rules that applied during past elections and administrations will suddenly change?

The party in power oversteps their boundaries and pays for it during mid terms. It happens every single time. The Dems didn't learn anything from forcing through the PPACA it seems. They are going bigger, harder, and faster this time around. Voters will not forget.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
4.1.5  Dulay  replied to  Ronin2 @4.1.4    one month ago
The Dems didn't learn anything from forcing through the PPACA it seems.

Actually I think they did. 

They are going bigger, harder, and faster this time around.

Which illustrates that they DID learn that they would be wasting time on 'bipartisanship' when the GOP has no intention of acting in good faith. 

Voters will not forget.

Let's hope that they review the content and effect of the legislation and remember that the GOP opposed it at every step without offering any policy of their own. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
4.1.6  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Dulay @4.1.5    one month ago
Which illustrates that they DID learn that they would be wasting time on 'bipartisanship' when the GOP has no intention of acting in good faith. 

 All that stands in the way of any piece of legislation is a Democratic majority unwilling to compromise on any aspect of a radical agenda.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
4.1.7  Dulay  replied to  Vic Eldred @4.1.6    one month ago

Oh then you should be able to document the GOP policy compromises. 

jrSmiley_32_smiley_image.gif

 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
4.1.8  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Dulay @4.1.7    one month ago

Compromise is defined as an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.  Other than covid relief, there was nothing in the bill that Republicans wanted. Much of it was not covid relief, as we all know. The Republicans simply had nothing to concede.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
4.1.9  Dulay  replied to  Vic Eldred @4.1.8    one month ago
Compromise is defined as an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions. 

Thank you Mr. Webster. 

Other than covid relief, there was nothing in the bill that Republicans wanted.

First of all, you said 'any piece of legislation'. 

Secondly, that's funny because some Republicans have been taking credit for some of those things that they voted against. 

Thirdly, the majority of the bill was extensions or expansions of funding that the Republicans had already passed in previous GOP sponsored bills. 

Much of it was not covid relief, as we all know.

MOST of it was, as 'we' all know. 

The Republicans simply had nothing to concede.

The Republicans had nothing to OFFER. 

 
 
 
MrFrost
Masters Principal
5  MrFrost    one month ago

As if we needed more proof that the GOP cares more about power and party than the American people. 

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
PhD Guide
6  Paula Bartholomew    one month ago

I don't remember the Turtle bitching when the GOP had control of the senate.

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
6.1  Texan1211  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @6    one month ago

I DO remember him saying he would NOT end the filibuster just because his party held the majority.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
7  evilgenius    one month ago

For the record here, Dems are not getting rid of the filibuster. They can't. They can only change the rules on how it's used and how cloture is invoked.

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
7.1  Texan1211  replied to  evilgenius @7    one month ago

What is the Senate filibuster, and what would it take to eliminate it? (brookings.edu)

A more complicated, but more likely, way to ban the filibuster would be to create a new Senate precedent. The chamber’s precedents exist alongside its formal rules to provide additional insight into how and when its rules have been applied in particular ways. Importantly, this approach to curtailing the filibuster—colloquially known as the “nuclear option” and more formally as “reform by ruling”—can, in certain circumstances, be employed with support from only a simple majority of senators.

The nuclear option leverages the fact that a new precedent can be created by a senator raising a point of order, or claiming that a Senate rule is being violated. If the presiding officer (typically a member of the Senate) agrees, that ruling establishes a new precedent. If the presiding officer disagrees, another senator can appeal the ruling of the chair. If a majority of the Senate votes to reverse the decision of the chair, then the opposite of the chair’s ruling becomes the new precedent.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
7.1.1  evilgenius  replied to  Texan1211 @7.1    one month ago

I read that before posting. 

this approach to curtailing the filibuster

Curtailing isn't eliminating.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Participates
8  Sean Treacy    one month ago

You can do this with pretty much any Democrat, but few rival Obama's partisan hypocrisy. 

When Democrats are using the filibuster:

"The American people want less partisanship in this town, but everyone in this chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster — if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate — then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse."

When Republicans can use the filibuster, It's a "Jim Crow relic" that should be ended.

 
 
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