Thursday, April 23, 2009

Filibusters and Reconciliation

I absolutely believe that the Democrats will have to use the reconciliation process to push Obama’s agenda on healthcare, energy and education through Congress. Republicans are going to throw a huge hissy fit when this happens, but all I can say to that is “Bring it on.”
As this graph aptly illustrates:

Republicans have not been shy about using the filibuster to derail legislation that they can’t defeat on a majority vote. The filibuster is an arcane Senate rule that has been abused in recent years to enforce a 60-vote supermajority on almost everything. The only way to avoid this abuse is to consider the legislation under rules known as reconciliation. This is not an uncommon practice as noted here, and has been used many times in past by Republicans - most recently to pass Bush’s tax cuts for the rich.
So, if Republicans can use reconciliation to screw up the economy, Democrats should be able to use it to put things right again. I think it is imperative that Obama get his agenda through Congress (assuming that it has majority support) and not allow it to be derailed by Republicans who are presently pulling out all the stops to keep Al Franken from taking his Senate Seat just so they can deny Democrats what may be a crucial vote needed to override a Republican filibuster.
The economic crisis facing the nation today is too critical to allow political gamesmanship to override the will of the electorate. The public voted in November. As Republicans were fond of saying back when they used to win elections - “Elections have consequences.”
They can squeal and protest and wave teabags all they want, but Democrats and the Obama administration need to stay focused on cleaning up the mess and putting the country back on the right track or else, God forbid, the Republicans may get back in there again and screw things up even worse, if that is even possible.

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