Posts tagged Obstruction
How Senate Leaders Can Use Existing Rules To End Democrat Stonewalling

Democrats have threatened to filibuster Republican efforts to debate important legislation on the Senate floor. But this is nothing new. The filibuster has been used in the past to frustrate both Democratic and Republican majorities. It has prevented both liberal and conservative policies from passing. This has made it the bane of Senate majorities, their co-partisans in the House of Representatives, and the president.

Consequently, senators have proposed various reforms over the years to clamp down on the minority’s ability to delay the legislative process. Most recently, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., called for changing the Senate’s rules to make it easier to start debate on the floor. He would do so by making the motion to proceed to legislation non-debatable (i.e., not subject to a filibuster).

But Lankford’s proposal is unnecessary. The Senate’s current rules already give majorities the power to end needless delays. And using those rules to clamp down on minority obstruction will be of greater benefit to Republicans than eliminating the filibuster, which would have long-term repercussions for the institution more generally.

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Mitch McConnell delays the Senate's August recess, but showing up is only half the battle

Senate Republicans should be applauded. They were right to delay the start of their August recess.

Doing so gives them time to jump-start their stalled effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, devise an acceptable way to raise the debt ceiling, and forge a budget agreement to guide Congress's work in the appropriations process for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1.

But Senate Republicans would be wrong to think that pushing back the start of their summer vacation by two short weeks is all that's needed to overcome the challenges they face. Indeed, it is going to take a lot more than simply showing up for work to pull the Senate out of the rut it is currently in. It's going to take a different approach to lawmaking.

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How Senate Republicans can break Democratic obstruction

One big reason why the Senate is gridlocked today is that Republicans have yet to put in the kind of effort required to break the Democrats' obstruction.

Republicans should want the Senate to work. After all, the party retained its majority in the chamber after last November's elections and the GOP also controls the House of Representatives and the presidency for only the fourth time since the end of World War II.

Given this fact, it would be reasonable to assume that the Senate would be raring to go. Instead, the institution looks to be barely moving.

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