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Monday, March 1, 2010

Why a Filibuster

The Democrats are in a PR push to sell reconciliation.

The White House called for a "simple up-or-down" vote on health care legislation Sunday as Speaker Nancy Pelosi appealed to House Democrats to get behind President Barack Obama's chief domestic priority even it if threatens their political careers.

In voicing support for a simple majority vote, White House health reform director Nancy-Ann DeParle signaled Obama's intention to push the Democratic-crafted bill under Senate rules that would overcome GOP stalling tactics.


The Democrats are trying to convince the country that majority rule is the right way to go. In fact, the super majority filibuster is entirely counter intuitive.

The great compromise created a bi cameral legislature. Initially, it was a way to appease both the small and large states. Each had a body that gave them influence. As our bi cameral legislature evolved so too did the manner in which each functioned.

The House passes legislature quickly and easily. In the Senate, things are much more slow and complicated. This makes the legislative process deliberative. In England, they have a parliamentary system. In that system, the majority has the power to ram through their entire agenda. In fact, if any part of an agenda doesn't go through, that turns into a vote of no confidence.

If this were England, the health care debate would have lead to a no confidence vote and we'd be choosing a new leader now. We don't have that sort of a system here. Instead, we have a system designed for bi partisanship during the legislative process. The filibuster is essential to that. It gives the minority a tool to make sure the majority doesn't ram their agenda through. A so called simple majority word is akin to a Parliamentary system. There's nothing wrong with that system and it's done well for countries like England and Israel. Of course, if we wanted to be a parliament, we should do that. We shouldn't merely short circuit our system by removing the filibuster.

1 comment:

AG said...

"If this were England, the health care debate would have lead to a no confidence vote and we'd be choosing a new leader now."

Actually, if this were England, HCR would have passed before August. After all, its not just that the Senate is slower with the filibuster and whatnot, but the Senate Democratic Caucus tends to be much more conservative. The Senate Finance Committee is stacked with some of the most conservative Democrats, and that committee single-handily held up the bill for several months.