With a “Government shutdown” looming on the near horizon, and President Trump having drawn a line in the sand over the funding and building of the wall on the Southern Border, we again are being held captive by a now dismantled premise of the original intent of the US Constitution. It’s time to break these chains that bind US to bad policies, and in turn, bad outcomes. As we continue to see many important legislative actions being stymied by the totally arbitrary “60 Vote Rule” in the US Senate, I have to ask “Why”? The design and history of the US Senate was that the Senate was the body where the “reckless actions” of the House of Representatives were to be “slowed down”. This allowed for the building or loss of “consensus” among the senior Statesmen, who were supposed to represent the interests of the States. The 17th Amendment removed the foundational piece of that design.
The 17th Amendment, ratified on April 8, 1913, in essence removed the Senators from being those who were to represent the interests of their State, and ONLY their State, in the Federal Government. It established that Senators were to be elected by the people, rather than being appointed by their respective State Legislatures, as the Founders designed. This turned the Senate in to nothing but a more exclusive House of Representatives, with 6-year terms. This is in direct opposition to the Original Intent of the Constitution. The damage this has done to the Republic has been destructive at the very least, and devastating in many cases. It strikes at the very heart of the brilliance of the design of our Republic. The Founders saw that to protect the individual Freedom of the Citizen from a tyrannical central government, that the highest Sovereign Government that the Citizen would interact with, and have to report to, was the State in which they were a resident. The Senate’s first and foremost responsibility was to protect the Sovereignty of the State that they were appointed to represent. Much to our demise, that is now gone.
This brings us to today and why, if we are going to operate under the 17th Amendment, we need to finish the proper and total implementation of this terrible Amendment. Since the Senate, for all practical purposes, is nothing more than an “exclusive” House of Representatives, beholden to the whorish politics of popular elections, where a majority of a single vote can elect someone to the Senate, why is there still this arcane 60-vote rule to move legislation? The best answer I have been given by any Senator is that it provides a “higher standard” for legislation to move from the Senate. To this absolutely vacant excuse I must respond, “BULL-FEATHERS”! All I see is that it allows a gutless majority in the Senate to hide behind as arcane rule that should have gone away, with the end of the appointed Senator. It allows a spineless Progressive leader, like Sen. Mitch McConnell, to abdicate his leadership responsibility to as few as 41 other Progressive members, falsely portrayed as the opposition, for no legitimate reason. NOTE: With a single rules change, from the Majority “Leader” alone, the 60-vote rule can be eliminated.
Now, the next step in completing implementation of the 17th Amendment is to change the length of Senators’ terms from 6 years to 2 years. Why should an exclusive bunch of gutless self-important politicians be able to hide behind the “60 vote rule” AND hide from the Voters for 5 years, before they must stand before them and defend their obstructionist, and/or gutless, actions? I think the simple answer to this question is that there is no reason why. I believe the truth is that the majority of Senators, regardless of Party, like the superiority they feel and their place in the imperial power structure of the national government. There may be another reason, but I have yet to find one.
So, in closing what would I advocate happens to the structure of the Senate at this point? 1) Elimination of the “60 vote rule” as a tool to stop important legislation or confirmations. 2) Allow the filibuster to remain, but require any Senator who chooses to filibuster a bill, to stand in the Well of the Senate and speak continually as long as they choose, and then just require a simple majority to move forward when they are finished speaking. 3) Change the terms in the US Senate to 2 years rather than 6 years. The 17thAmendment turned the Senate in to nothing but a more exclusive House of Representatives and it should operate as such. Oh, or why can’t we just repeal the 17th Amendment and give the Senate back to the States?
God Bless America! And America, Please Bless God Again!