October 29, 2009

Let Them Filibuster Healthcare

I don't think it's too wonkish to raise the issue of the Senate filibuster process is it? Everyone should know that the United States Senate was designed by the founding fathers as a firewall between the unwashed masses and the new elite that kicked out the old elite... call it democracy.

One of the ways that firewall works is that, before a bill can be voted on by the entire US Sentate, a procedural vote is conducted to allow the bill to be considered by the full Senate. In the past, it worked somewhat in reverse... Any senator, or group of senators, could stop legislation via a process called the filibuster and sixty senators could overcome the filibuster with a vote to that end.

HOWEVER, in the past, a filibuster process required those trying to stop the legislation to physically stand at the Senate floor podium and argue their case... non-stop. No other Senate business could be conducted on the floor while the filibustering senator(s) held the podium. The filibuster represented a battle of wills, with the obstructionists facing the potential wrath of the public for preventing popular legislation from advancing.

Rarely do we see the traditional form of a filibuster these days. Instead, the Senate usually just tests the water with a vote of 60 or more. If they can't reach the magic number of 60, the legislation doesn't move forward, and is either modified to appease any hold-out senators, or is simply stopped. Hence, by effectively requiring a "super majority" on every vote, 60 of 100, the Senate keeps the "unruly masses," We the People, from having the laws we want.

It's time for the Democratic Party get a backbone and forced the Republicans into the glare of the public light by forcing them to undertake a traditional filibuster on the healthcare legislation. Maybe the filibuster cannot be broken, but we won't know if we don't try. Let the filibuster process go on for a day or two and see what happens. Maybe the public sentiment would ratchet up. It would surely be a media event... an educational moment. Maybe the public pressure would rise after a couple days, giving the Democratic leadership the support to let the filibuster continue for several days, a week, or more.

I think it's time. If you agree, you're not alone:

The People's Voice
, October 29, 2009

Urging the Democrats to bring the legislation to the floor for debate without the proceedural 60-vote super majority, and forcing the Republicans to filibuster, The People's Voice blog says:

The Republicans are griping that the discussions regarding the content of the bill have not been open and transparent as promised by Candidate Obama... Now it is time for the "transparecy" for which they pine.
Debate it on the floor of the Senate.

A contributor to Daily Kos, KWolfman, also expresses this view:

Honestly, who cares if Joe Lieberman sides with the Republicans here? Who cares if the GOP + One tries to filibuster real health care reform with a strong public option? Why is it so important to avoid a filibuster scenario?

Let the Senate leader Harry Reid know you want to Let them Filibuster.

For Your Convenience:

1 comment:

Pragpro said...

"It's time for the Democratic Party get a backbone and forced the Republicans into the glare of the public light by forcing them to undertake a traditional filibuster on the healthcare legislation."

I totally agree, let the American people see what side Lieberman and the GOP are on, and then pass it via reconciliation if need be. The biggest mistake the Democrats could make on this issue is not going big enough for the Health Consumer and/or watering it down to attempt to please the unappeasable. The people will judge the Party, and the President on the quality of the legislation, at the end of the day and for a long time hence.