Why Nuking the Filibuster Is Contrary to the Founders’ Vision for the Senate

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Harry Reid

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Photo: Newscom

The Senate approved a rule change last week which allows a simple majority of 51 votes to end debate and force a vote on executive branch and judicial nominations. The new rule, rammed through by liberals, will effectively end the use of the filibuster.

In effect, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who leads a 55 member Democratic caucus, will no longer need to work with conservatives to confirm judges or executive branch nominees.

It’s a short-sighted alternative to Senate deliberation, says Heritage Foundation legal analyst Elizabeth Slattery: Continue Reading »

Harry Reid Tries to Change Senate Rules to Advance Liberal Policies

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In Heritage Work

Harry Reid. Credit: Lauren Victoria Burke/WDCPIX.COM

When things don’t go his way, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) tries to change Senate rules. Now he wants to give the minority party even less of a voice in the Senate by changing the rules governing filibusters.

Currently, it takes 60 votes to end a filibuster in the Senate, but Reid wants to change this to a simple majority.

The Heritage Foundation’s Amy Payne points out how important filibusters are for the democratic process:

The filibuster is a valued tool of minority Senators to keep the majority from simply enacting everything it wants. It’s one of the major differences between the House and Senate, making the Senate the more deliberative chamber.

Continue Reading »

How Liberals Plan to Use Phantom War Savings to Spend More Money

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In Heritage Work

The sequestration cuts enacted in March imposed strict limits on federal spending. Washington liberals, though, can’t seem to accept this, so they’re crafting ways to get around the limits.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) is now conspiring to spend $85 billion by using old budget gimmicks.  While Reid maintains that “it wouldn’t add a penny to the deficit,” The Heritage Foundation’s Romina Boccia shows that this spending would in fact add substantially to the deficit.

Reid would pay for this new spending with caps on spending in Iraq and Afghanistan. But any “savings” gleaned from these caps would be a sham. “The savings from the caps are phony because they appear to be based on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline, which assumes that [war] spending will rise, even though it’s winding down,” Boccia explains.

Reid claims his plan to use what Boccia calls “phantom war savings” would save $110 billion. In fact, his approach is premised on faulty assumptions and would actually cost taxpayers money. Boccia continues, “Under the CBO alternative baseline, however—which includes the reality that the number of troops deployed will fall by 2015—Reid’s proposal could actually increase spending by $28 billion.”

And even if Reid’s savings weren’t fake, Boccia points out that his proposal would still increase spending immediately by $85 billion, while any cuts would come over three years.

Do you think these kind of budget gimmicks are appropriate?

How Conservatives Can Take Advantage of Harry Reid’s Senate Power Grab

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In Heritage Work

Harry Reid

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is changing the filibuster process, dubbing it “filibuster reform,” in order to shut out the voices of the minority party.

Reid’s “filibuster reform” would “allow less time for deliberation on legislation and nominations for Senators, meaning less time for the American public to view that deliberation,” The Heritage Foundation’s Brian Darling reports.

In addition, Darling explains, in trying to “squelch the rights of individual members of the U.S. Senate…Reid has to ignore the letter of the rules to ‘reform’ them with a simple-majority party-line vote.”

Conservatives may be able to use Reid’s plan to their advantage. Darling explains: Continue Reading »

Harry Reid’s Senate Stifles Debate and Undermines Founders’ Vision

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In Heritage Work

“Since [Harry] Reid became Majority Leader in the United States Senate, the majority party has tyrannically seized control of the agenda in the Senate in a manner not contemplated by the Founding Fathers,” Heritage Foundation expert Brian Darling argues in an important new analysis.

In particular, Darling writes, Reid has made unprecedented use of procedures like “filling the amendment tree,” in which the majority leader “us[es] his privilege of being recognized first to offer amendment after amendment to block all other amendments to a bill.”

Unprecedented Use of Filling the Amendment Tree

“The Founders,” Darling argues, “envisioned the Senate as a slow and deliberative legislative body. Not surprisingly, the Senate developed traditions that reflect these characteristics, such as extended debate and an open amendment process.”

But today, the Senate has adopted rules that limit debate on critical issues from the federal budget to gun rights to judicial nominations. Darling elaborates: Continue Reading »

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