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Posts Tagged ‘the senate’

A short burst of aarrgh

Posted by That Other Mike on 21/03/2010

Following a comment I left on a blog elsewhere, I’m dragging myself out of my quiescent blogging state to throw a quick post down about the whole screaming over the so-called Slaughter Solution. Because I’m in that kind of mood, I’m going to throw reconciliation into the mix.

Before I start, though, I should point out that the blog I linked to in the first sentence is run by a guy who respects the right of others to hold opinions in opposition to his own, a rare quality in the modern American political sphere; this post is not directed at him, even if he is a little ornery about it… 😉

To everyone else screaming loudly that these measures will be the death of the democratic process in America – shut the fuck up already. It irks me that I have to be so blunt, but, well, sometimes that’s what you have to do.

The self-executing rule, otherwise known as deem and pass, has been in use since the 1930s, and has been relatively uncontroversial since that time, at least in the sense that it has been used broadly by both major parties when in power, and that court cases at the Federal District level have upheld it as a valid procedure.

In a stunning example of hypocrisy, though, many on the right are decrying the use of the rule and claiming it as some kind of new procedure invented by Democrats to cheat the legislative process. My only response is to ask, where were you the last year the Republicans controlled Congress, when the self-executing rule was used 35 times?

The same issue applies to the screeching and flapping over reconciliation. Budgetary reconciliation has been used umpteen times in Congresses controlled by Republicans and Democrats alike, with little or no fuss, and is established as a fully viable, Constitutional procedure – and yet here we are, with the right wing kicking up a whole mess of stupidity over the subject. And again, I ask, where were you when reconciliation was used to pass the massive and economically-debilitating tax cuts which are partly responsible for the current train wreck economy?

There’s a good argument to be made that the requirement of 60 votes for cloture in the Senate is an impediment to the smooth running of that chamber, that it makes for bad lawmaking and that it is not in the spirit of the Constitution’s allowance of each chamber to make its own rules; if I actually believed original intent were in fact a viable and non-risible means of Constitutional interpretation, I might run with it. As I don’t, I won’t. As it stands, though, the rules allow for a straight majority vote in the reconciliation process to allow budgetary bills to pass. Don’t like it? Tough – them’s the rules, and it’s Constitutionally allowed. Don’t piss and moan over it if you don’t like it – exercise your vote and tell your future Senators that you want a change to the rules.

I find it difficult to take seriously the idea that these purported defenders of the Constitution are somehow heroes of democracy and freedom and apple pie and non-aborted foetuses and flags and all that crap when they seem so ill-informed on the subject. You don’t get to claim the mantle of guardian of Constitutional liberties when you don’t know shit about it.


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