A Way to Win the Filibuster Fallout
Quin has a must-read idea about how to turn Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) filibuster nonsense into a political winner for the Republican Party.
Sketched out as only a savvy former congressional staff member could do, Quin’s idea calls on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to hold a joint press conference to announce:
1) The role the filibuster has played in Senate deliberations
2) How Republicans on both sides of the capitol could respond with tactics that would grind legislative business to a halt
3) Or instead, with a compromise endorsed by 19 current and former Senate Democrats that preserves the filibuster, but in a form more in service to the public good
The proposed change would “turn the group filibuster back into a tool for extended debate – to try to rally public support – rather than a means of permanent obstruction,” writes Quin at NRO. “By serially ratcheting down the number of votes needed to invoke cloture – from 60 to 57 – 54 to 51, on successive attempts – the rule in effect would force opponents of a bill or nomination to show that their arguments are gaining more adherents as time progresses, thus showing that they might actually gain the support of an awakening public.”
For me, the attractiveness of Quin’s idea is its attempt to re-inject much-needed attention on the deliberative process in lawmaking. For the first time in years, the Senate – and especially the Republican bench – boasts a bevy of thoughtful debaters like Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY). Rather than speechmaking marathons where one person must speak until exhausted, America would be better served hearing, for example, Cruz and Tim Kaine (D-VA) debate immigration policy.
The possibilities abound. Imagine a debate between Paul and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on fiscal and monetary policy. Or between Lee and a Democrat-to-be-determined on any clause in the Constitution. By making the filibuster vote threshold drop with every round of voting, opponents of a measure must either win converts or lose the majority. Either way, the legislative process is made better because the senators elected to represent the public are putting their reasons on the record.
My quick summary doesn’t do enough justice to Quin’s piece, which you can read here. At a time when so much of government seems broken, it is refreshing to read a piece that offers a workable solution.