Friday, January 22, 2010

Some Thoughts On the GOP Victory in MA

As I'm sure you know thanks to the unrelenting media coverage, Republican Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's open Senate seat in a special election last Tuesday. Regardless of how I feel about Senator-elect Brown or the Republican Party, the voters of Massachusetts have spoken, and we have to seat him. Sure, he could derail healthcare reform if the House refuses to accept the Senate bill as is (which is stupid, at least pass something while you have a chance because this opportunity won't come up again for a while).

Anyway, this whole episode highlights a tragic fact of our legislative system: it's broken and no longer following the rules as laid out in the Constitution. The fact that 41 senators are now all it takes to prevent any legislation is asinine. The Constitution clearly states that bills will be passed with a simple majority, and there is no mention of the filibuster, which is a procedural rule that has become more and more common over time. These days, the filibuster makes any vote on a bill require a 60-40 majority. The actual law laid out in the Constitution is now effectively being ignored.

This isn't a matter of wanting to see a Democratic agenda passed. I'd be just as upset if Democrats decided en masse to oppose everything in a Republican-controlled Senate. In fact, I'm sure that's what will happen whenever Republicans do retake the Senate. We face huge challenges, and if neither party is willing to let the other try and enact solutions because they want to "win", we are totally screwed.

No comments:

Post a Comment