According to The Washington Post, Congress is considering legislation carving out a special exception…
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Congressional Leaders Should Offer the Same Protection for Everyday Employers That They Seek for Professional Baseball

According to The Washington Post, Congress is considering legislation carving out a special exception from federal labor laws for professional baseball:

A massive government spending bill that Congress is expected to consider this week could include a provision exempting Minor League Baseball players from federal labor laws, according to three congressional officials familiar with the talks.  The exemption would represent the culmination of more than two years of lobbying by Major League Baseball, which has sought to preempt a spate of lawsuits that have been filed by minor leaguers alleging they have been illegally underpaid.

The league has long claimed exemptions for seasonal employees and apprenticeships, allowing its clubs to pay players as little as $1,100 a month, well…[more]

March 22, 2018 • 11:33 am

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End the Fake Filibuster Print
By Betsy McCaughey
Wednesday, February 08 2017
The filibuster dashes voters' hopes that an election can produce real change.

Tuesday, Senate Democrats lost the battle to stop President Trump's pick for secretary of education. But on bigger battles ahead, the Democrats have a powerful weaponand they intend to use it.

Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House. Yet Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer boasts that he can block Trump's legislative agenda, including repealing the Affordable Care Act.

"Obamacare, he won't be able to do it," Schumer says. "Forget about repealing or modifying Dodd-Frank."

What allows Schumer to thwart the majority's will and paralyze the Senate? Not the U.S. Constitution, as the framers designed it.

The answer is a centuries-old Senate practice called the filibuster. Senators in the minority could take the floor and talk endlessly, never agreeing to formally end debate so the majority could vote. They'd talk the legislation to death or "filibuster" it, in the process shutting down all other Senate business. The House never permitted it, always allowing a simple majority to shut down debate.

In the Senate, the idea was to make sure the minority was heard. But over the years, the rule was exploited to stop legislation altogether.

Southern Democrats used it to block anti-lynching legislation in the 1930s and civil rights laws in the 1960s. Not until June 10, 1964 were anti-segregationists able to muster enough votes to cut off a filibuster on a major civil rights billafter 60 days of debate.

Then, in 1975, the Senate modified the filibuster, adopting a 60-vote rule. Senators could close debate and bring legislation to a voteif they had 60 votes to do it. Since then, Senators don't have to monopolize the floor and debate endlessly, shutting down all business. Threatening to do so is enough to hold up a bill. Call it a fake filibuster. Right now, Republicans have 52 Senate seats, not enough to stop Democrats from filibustering legislation and Supreme Court nominees.

In recent years, Republicans have benefitted from the 60-vote rule. During President Obama's first two years in office, the Republican Senate minority used it to kill pro-union card-check legislation, the Dream Act, gun control and a federal minimum wage hike.

Now Democrats want payback. Minutes after President Trump announced his Supreme Court nominee, Schumer proclaimed that "on a subject as important as a Supreme court nomination," there have to be 60 votes to move the nomination along.

That's politics. But D.C. insiders talk about the 60-vote rule as if it were sacrosanct, the holy grail of democracy. "It's the way our Founding Fathers set it up," says Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La.

Sorry, senator. That's not the case.

The framers designated five circumstances requiring a supermajority: convicting an impeached president or other high officer, amending the Constitution, ratifying a treaty, overturning a presidential veto or expelling a member of Congress. That's the list. Passing laws and confirming justices aren't on it.

At the Constitutional Convention, the framers considered requiring a supermajority in the Senate to pass laws, but repeatedly rejected the idea.

James Madison explained in Federalist No. 58 that it would give the minority control over the majority. The "principle of free government would be reversed." Requiring laws to pass two houses of Congress and giving the president a veto were better ways to promote wise lawmaking.

Alexander Hamilton warned a supermajority requirement would cause "tedious delays" as it had under the failed Articles of Confederation. This is just what we're facing now.

Meanwhile, McConnell, a Senate lifer first elected in 1984, defends the 60-vote rule, telling colleagues not to "act as if we're going to be in the majority forever."

NYU law professor Burt Neuborne deplores these "rules that scratch my back today and yours tomorrow." They protect career politicians but not the public.

The filibuster dashes voters' hopes that an election can produce real change.

Some call dropping the filibuster "going nuclear." Actually, it would be a return to what the framers envisioned"going original."


Betsy McCaughey is chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths.  

Question of the Week   
American women who worked in the field of mathematics at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in 1935 were known as which of the following?
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Quote of the Day   
"The omnibus spending bill was crafted in secret and will be passed under pressure; raises discretionary spending as the national debt grows; and fails to deliver on any major GOP priorities except increased defense spending. What might turn out to be the signature achievement of unified Republican government this year is the sort of legislation that would have been right at home in the Obama administration…[more]
—The Editors, National Review
— The Editors, National Review
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