The filibuster has long been a controversial topic and subject of debate on Capitol Hill. But the debate has heated up recently because some Republican senators are looking to eliminate the filibuster due to their frustration with the Democrats obstructing their agenda.
Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint explains four reasons why the filibuster is an essential aspect of governance.
- Eliminating the filibuster will not bring order to the Senate. We should focus on streamlining the legislative process by cleaning up a burdened and disorganized floor schedule, not by getting rid of the Motion to Proceed. Instead, Senate leaders have chosen to focus on reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank, passing a highway bill, and approving the Iran nuclear deal.
- The filibuster prevents a tiered system of “super senators” and “second-class” senators. Senators on the Appropriations Committee and in leadership will have more rights and control than their colleagues. Making some senators “weaker” than others means the constituents they represent would have an unequal representation.
- Nobody is in the majority forever. The filibuster prevents tyranny of the majority. If Republicans take this tool away from the minority party Democrats today, it will not be there as an insurance policy for Republicans in the future.
- Losing the filibuster enables favor-trading and backroom deals. The filibuster is a transparent bargaining tool. If it is removed, it will encourage more bargains to be made behind closed doors, beyond public scrutiny.
There are a lot of reasons why conservatives should preserve the filibuster (the practice of allowing a senator to speak, often against a certain bill, as long as he wishes). As Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., recently wrote, it promotes cool debate and cautious review, it guards against tyranny of the majority, it limits the scope of government, and it ensures that every voice is heard. In short, it fulfills the Founders’ vision for the Senate.
Do you think the Senate should keep the filibuster?