Filibuster Big Government
Much has been said and written by the Left to demonize the filibuster. Yet the Senate rule establishing the procedure enshrines an important Senate tradition.
The filibuster provides more than the right of extended debate. It empowers individual members to participate in the legislative process whether or not their party is in power. Many liberals, however, want to make it easier to expand government. So they want to reduce the number of members needed to close debate on a nomination or legislation.
Retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), in his farewell address, pleaded with newer members to discard so-called filibuster reform, because it would destroy the body as the most deliberative legislative chamber in the world.
???I can understand the temptation to change the rules that make the Senate so unique ??? and, simultaneously, so frustrating,??? Dodd said on the Senate floor last week. ???The Senate was designed to be different, not simply for the sake of variety, but because the Framers believed the Senate could and should be the venue in which statesmen would lift America up to meet its unique challenges.???
Dodd pleaded with his colleagues for comity and negotiation. Destroying the filibuster would, in effect, destroy the Senate. It???s a solution to a non-existent problem.
Obama Tax Increases of 2011
If Congress takes no action by Jan. 1, taxes on all Americans will increase. All 42 Senate Republicans signed a letter last week to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledging to filibuster all legislative items with the exception of appropriations bills and the extension of tax cuts for all Americans. The Senate Republican Caucus wrote Reid that ???our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth; it is time that our constituents??? priorities become the Senate???s priorities.??? They will stand strong against all legislative items until a deal is cut.
Last week, President Obama convened a summit of congressional Republicans and the White House for purposes of resolving remaining issues pending in the Lame Duck session of Congress. A deal seems to be close on extending tax cuts for all for two or three years, but there is a catch. The liberals are negotiating for a non-offset extension of unemployment benefits, ratification of the New START Treaty, and an appropriations measure funding the government into next year.
This deal may cost taxpayers more than it is worth.
The President???s full-court press to pass the New START Treaty in Lame Duck session continues. The Senate may take up the agreement this week. If a deal is cut trading the Treaty for temporary tax cuts, the Senate Republicans will be trading national security for a temporary tax relief.
Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese and National Security Council Member Richard Pearle argued in The Wall Street Journal last week New START would have been opposed by Ronald Reagan, who negotiated arms control with the Soviet Union: ???There are many reasons why this treaty falls short of those negotiated by President Reagan. For one thing, its verification regime is inadequate. For another, it gives the Kremlin an unwarranted influence over the structure of our nuclear deterrent. Most important, it will almost certainly reduce our freedom to deploy vital defenses against ballistic missiles.???
Don???t Ask, Don???t Tell ??? DREAM Act
The Republican filibuster of all legislation with the exception of taxes and appropriations bills may doom the two issues of ???Don???t Ask, Don???t Tell??? and the DREAM Act. The issue of gays in the military may be kicked into next year, when there is more time to deal with this controversial issue. The DREAM Act, which deals with the children of illegal immigrants, may be too controversial for Congress to pass before year???s end.
Rumors are swirling inside the beltway that Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) is trying to sneak through Congress the Native Hawaiian Bill, also known as the Akaka Bill. This legislation would set up a race-based government for Native Hawaiians based in Hawaii and the other 49 states. Participants in the government would be assessed based on a racial test to see if they???re sufficiently Native Hawaiian to participate in the new government.
My sources tell me that Akaka is trying to use an end-of-year appropriations bill as a means to sneak this controversial bill through Congress. This new version of the Akaka Bill has yet to have a hearing, yet the supporters of the new race-based government idea want to bury this legislation in a must-pass appropriations measure as a means to foist this unconstitutional idea on the American people.