This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
You want to know why there's so much hot air in Washington? For one its in an area that gets about five months of summer. Sometimes more, hot humid endless summers at times, where people prey for rain. Which only makes the area hotter and more humid but these summer showers all five- minutes of them do give us some temporary relief. Another reason for hot air is we are the seat of power for not only the United States but North America and the rest of the world.
We are an area of six-million people where people from all over the world come to express their five- minutes worth. And get to tell Congress exactly what they are thinking in order to get their help. And when they talk to senators, senators get to speak until they decide to shut up. Or there are sixty votes to tell Sen. Hot Air and their allies, to "shut the hell up! Or there's a Blizzard in South Florida, you know whatever comes first, it used to be worst.
Up until 1975 it took 67 votes to kill a filibuster, which meant that 34 Senators could defeat 66. If you're a sports fan that probably makes as much sense as the team with twenty-one points beating the team with forty-two in a football game. I don't have a problem with the current sixty vote rule. I do believe in things like minority rights. So there's some type of check and balance in Congress both in the House and Senate. And that the Minority Leader the Leader of the Minority Caucus and Ranking Members the Leaders of the minority memberships of Committees, should be more than just their caucus's Chief Spokesperson's but that they shouldn't be able to rule the Senate like they are in charge.
Two problems with the Senate and there are problems with the House as well, but since this blog is about the filibuster, which only happens in the Senate (Thank God!) I'm just going to focus on the Senate. Can you imagine a filibuster in the House, with 435 Representatives being able to talk until they run out of breath, or 261 votes are gathered to get them to, shut the hell up! "You're not the only one with nonsense to say!" You think there's already too much hot air in Congress now, have a filibuster rule both in the Senate and House.
There would be so much hot air in the House, people could do their sun tanning on the House floor. No more weekend getaways to Florida or Southern California paid for by lobbyists because they could do that on the House floor. But the two main problems with the Senate have to do with two rules, one of them needs to be replaced. The other needs to be thrown away like the piece of trash that it is. The trash is the Motion to Proceed Rule, get this it currently takes 60 votes just to move to a bill in order to debate a bill.
Which makes the the Leader of the Senate as weak as what the Vice President use to be, before the President gave them a real job. The Leader should just be able to call up any bill that they put on the Senate agenda. Thats passed out of committee or that the Leader and Minority Leader call up together under Emergency Rule. And this way the Senate would look more like a PTA meeting, or the United Nations. Because things would actually get accomplished in the Senate.
The Senate Rule that should be replaced is the is the Cloture Rule better known as the filibuster. I would replace that with a Motion to Table, that could only be made by the Leader or Minority Leader. After a Senate Debate has concluded, no more blocking amendments, just have those need 60 votes to pass anyway. So controversial amendments would have to pass an extra level to pass, as well as forcing them to be relevant to the legislation.
Reforms like this an establishing a real Rules Committee in the Senate and make that bipartisan. And then we would actually see something strange in the Senate, senators working and producing. Instead of just showing up and getting a great tan from all of their own Hot Air.