EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Within the next 24 hours, liberal senators will try to kill the filibuster. Many of the senators who will support killing the filibuster were its most ardent supporters when the Republicans controlled the White House and Senate. My how times change.
Here’s what will happen when the Senate convenes. It will largely be ceremonial. Then Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) will raise a point of order regarding whether the Senate is a continuing body or not. Then Harry Reid will put the Senate in recess for a few weeks and try to cut deals with the Senate GOP. The Senate GOP should pre-emptively threaten to go nuclear.
One enterprising Senator can blow the whole thing up by threatening to object to every unanimous consent over the next two years. It would grind the Senate to a halt. And if the Democrats decide to proceed with gutting the filibuster, the GOP needs to be prepared to blow the whole thing up.
Senate Republicans should stand together to uphold the filibuster as it now exists. In fact, Senate Republicans should not cede any ground to the Democrats who already abuse the present rules of the Senate.
For example, one of the major talking points of the left these days is that the Republicans have filibustered so much, Harry Reid has been forced to file cloture — the way debate is cut off in the Senate — for almost every piece of legislation.
In fact, the Congressional Research Service reports that Harry Reid filed cloture concurrent to bringing legislation to the floor. Republican filibusters had nothing to do with filing cloture so much. Reid just did it to cut off debate. He has done so nearly three times more than the previous six Senate majorities.
Republicans need to fight this and cede no ground to any rules changes.
If the Senate starts the new Congress on the belief that the Senate is not a continuing body, then the individual Senators can offer up all the rules they want. Likewise, some courageous senators, should the Democrats actually bring to the floor a filibuster gutting package, should promise there will be no unanimous consents ever again in the Senate.
Then on day one, should the Democrats go there, the GOP should flood the floor with a host of rules changing designed both to improve their standing and make it extremely awkward for Democrats. While they’re at it, maybe we should go back to 67 votes to kill a filibuster if spending is involved.