President Joe Biden and the Democrats in Congress have a long and admirable list of goals they want to achieve before the 2022 Congressional election is likely to steal their skimpy majorities in the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate – to restore voting rights, to pass a major infrastructure bill Passed even bigger âHuman Infrastructureâ law, averted an economic crisis by raising the debt ceiling, streamlined the country’s immigration system, and more.
Since they have a mere majority, it is not easy to make these things happen. Democrats would have to agree on supporting the law. However, since there is broad consensus supporting all of these goals among both progressives and moderates in the party, they could achieve anything. Yes, after years of stagnation and neglect, policy and program changes could finally be triggered by action by Congress.
There is only one flaw: the filibuster. This archaic parliamentary device, used to glue the works and delay legislation, has been around in one form or another since the early 19th century, filibusters used to be rare, but in recent years the simple invocation of the filibusters has de facto that 60 votes in the 100-member Senate are required to pass even slightly controversial laws.
The Democrats have 50 votes plus the tie for Vice President Kamala Harris. Since the filibuster is just a creation of Senate rules, Democrats could change the rules. Unfortunately, they are being hampered by a handful of Democratic senators, most notably West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who subscribes to the illusion of two-partisanship and the sanctity of the filibuster.
Manchin and his allies must face reality. Thanks largely to a radicalized Republican Party, American politics has become a zero-sum game, non-partisanship is dead, and the filibuster is a weapon that threatens everything from people’s suffrage to the health of the economy. Democrats have a majority; they must be able to use it to achieve worthy goals before this majority disappears. The filibuster should be defused and the GOP obstructionists disarmed.
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