Senate Democrats had an opportunity to get together and make the Senate a working, majority-rule-based chamber. They could have recently used the “Constitutional Option” at the start of this new Congress to rewrite the Senate rules to either eliminate the filibuster outright or at least make staging a filibuster more difficult. Yet, due to a combination of a greedy refusal to give up any individual power, and a pitiful cowardice about a potential future in which the voters reject them, Senate Democrats collectively chose to throw away this opportunity. By doing nothing, they effectively voted to give Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell total veto power over everything.
|By: Jon Walker Wednesday January 26, 2011 6:30 pm|
|By: Jon Walker Thursday December 30, 2010 7:00 pm|
If the rules are changed at the beginning of the next Congress, it will happen one of only two ways: either they will employ the “Constitutional option” using a simple majority or there will be a bipartisan compromise using a traditional two-thirds vote. Given how modest the changes being debated are, both potential paths might produce very similar changes this time, but which process is used could have a huge long-term impact.