Democrats’ problems are their ideas, not process
Senate Democratic leaders are going to try one more time to vote on the nearly-inert remnants of the Build Back Better bill, while also trying to scrap the filibuster in order to pass a sweeping revision of voting laws.
Both efforts are going to fail. Senator Chuck Schumer knows that, the White House knows that…but on they go. It’s always best to stand back when a major political party is determined to fail. Here, it’s also worth pushing back against the accepted wisdom on the left that Senate procedures like the filibuster are an existential threat to our civic life. The deeply inconvenient truth is that legislating is supposed to be difficult — by design. But it goes much deeper:
As the New York Times opined in 1994, “[The Founders] certainly foresaw the possibility of gridlock, and they weren’t necessarily against it. They intended that the Senate should stop, deliberate, ponder and amend legislation more cautiously than the House.” Indeed, as the article further notes, the stated purpose of the Senate at the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 was to “check the inconsiderate and hasty proceedings” of the House.
The filibuster is a critical tool that ensures our legislature operates consistent with that vision, and as such, we will work to defend it.
It’s also worth remembering –as few in power do — that their time in the majority is limited. Meddling with procedures today may get a policy priority enacted. But don’t whine or complain when the minority takes over, and does the same for its agenda.
Democrats may detest the filibuster, and the Senate itself, today. They will be enamored of both when they are in the minority in the future.