We have been hearing it since the summer: “The filibuster needs to go so that Democrats can pass their agenda.”
The sad reality is now that something needs to happen because the Republican Party is subverting their responsibility to help their own constituents.
We are facing a government shutdown and the Treasury Department states that we will not be able to fund the government past October 18.
Democrats forced three shutdowns during President Trump’s term. The differences between then and now are that Democrats still negotiated during those times and this case is much more dire.
We would immediately slide right into a recession. Six million jobs would be wiped out and as horrible as that is, it may not even be the worst part.
Programs like the Veterans Affairs, who provide services to our current and former servants in the military, will be shut down and unable to provide. Social Security, the program retirees rely on, will not be able to send out checks.
We don’t even have to mention Medicaid or Medicare either. Millions of people will be without services they need; millions will be without a paycheck. All for the chance to gain a little political clout for next year’s midterms.
The irresponsibility of the Republican Party to even negotiate goes even farther than those that will suffer here at home.
For the first time in our history, we face defaulting on our debts. This will hurt our Full Faith and Credit, which has far-reaching implications beyond domestic policy.
The latest move by Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans is not only jeopardizing America’s standing both internationally and at home, it shows that they are not serious about governing.
This is not about being “fiscally responsible” as they said, because the money they are arguing about is the money they spent.
That $2 trillion tax cut that benefitted those who were already well off? That is what we are paying for; not Biden’s economic plan that has not even made it to his desk.
Let’s be real here for a moment. The Democrats have used the filibuster before. Those are just the facts.
In fact, Democrats are guilty of beginning this fight when they eliminated the 60-vote threshold for judicial appointments. Harry Reid did it to stop the Republicans from blocking Obama’s appointees.
McConnell went ahead and did it for Supreme Court nominees. This move was controversial, but we should have seen it coming after Senator Reid threw that first punch.
So, that leaves us here now, with shutdown looming and crisis on the horizon. What can be done here?
We have two outspoken Democrats, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who will not vote to do away with the filibuster completely.
They may be taking the flack for other Democrats who also do not want to.
There have been talks to return to the old days of the filibuster. The long speeches, like Ted Cruz talking Star Wars and reading “Green Eggs and Ham” for 21 hours would return under this.
Though it may be annoying, the whole point is that the floor must be held to prevent a vote.
Joe Manchin has talked in favor of this option because it should be “painful to have to do it.”
As of now, the senators do not even have to take to the floor to file a filibuster, they just send a letter to their colleagues and that legislation is dead.
Other than that, there have talks to do a “carve out,” but it is even more unpopular among Democrats.
The filibuster’s elimination would make the US more dysfunctional than it already is. The greatest deliberative body in the world would be reduced to being a body where whoever is in charge controls the agenda.
The most radical of the ideas from both parties would have little resistance. We would see reversal after reversal of policies enacted when another party comes in control. There would be no stability.
The inaction of the Republican Party and their inability to effectively govern has pushed us to this. What comes next is on them.
To those who are Republican voters, know that this is not on you. You have your right to vote for whoever you choose.
Just remember that when the time came to act, Republican politicians put the needs of their constituents aside for a calculated political win. Remember that for the 2022 Midterms.