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Senators Love to Hide

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Posted By: Matt Hoskins, SCF Executive Director

You're going to hear a lot about the filibuster this week, but you won't hear much about the real issue at the heart of this debate. The calls for filibuster reform are driven by one sad, yet undeniable truth:

Senators love to hide the laws they pass.

If you pay close attention, you'll see that nearly every substantive bill the Senate passes harms you and your family through more spending, higher taxes, and more regulations. It's the Washington way. And I wish this was limited to when Democrats are in power, but the Republican record isn't much better.

This is why senators in both parties don't like to debate legislation for any meaningful amount of time and it's why they will do anything to avoid having to vote for specific provisions hidden inside their bills.

The desire to hide their legislation is also why a new filibuster reform proposal was announced yesterday that will:

  1. Shorten the time a bill is debated down to just two days; and

  2. Eliminate all but two Republican amendments per bill.

It's designed to help politicians in the Senate pass more laws without you knowing about it.

You will hear Harry Reid and other liberals complain about obstruction, but that's not their real problem. They can pass just about anything they want if they're willing to engage in an open debate. But there's the rub. Liberals don't want to debate because they know voters don't like their ideas.

And it's not just the Democrats who want to make it easier to pass liberal legislation; many Republicans do too. In fact, the new filibuster reform plan is backed by U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and will likely attract support from other establishment Republicans.

You see, the plan only guarantees two Republican amendments and those amendments can only be offered by the Republican Leader and the top Republican on the committee with jurisdiction of the bill. This protects senior lawmakers, but it means a freshman like Ted Cruz (R-TX) won't be allowed to offer his ideas.

Senate conservatives should oppose the new filibuster reform plan and propose their own changes to the rules to:

  1. Require 72-hours notice before considering a bill;

  2. Allow each senator to offer at least one amendment; and

  3. Require 67 votes to end debate if the bill adds to the deficit.

These changes would strengthen debate in the Senate and give voters the ability to hold their elected officials accountable.
Category: Senate   Tags: Ted Cruz  Filibuster  John McCain  
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