Limiting filibusters sets bad precedent
It is truly unfortunate that Democrats who control the U.S. Senate felt the need to overturn decades of Senate precedent by eliminating filibusters on presidential appointees.
The change repeals the rule requiring 60 votes to cut off debate on a nomination in order to hold an up-or-down floor vote on the nominee.
The move helps to raise the already fever pitch of partisan animosity in Congress and sets a troubling precedent for the future of the Senate.
While the change in the filibuster rule does not affect votes on legislation or U.S. Supreme Court nominees, it could lay the groundwork for a future Senate majority to eliminate filibusters against votes on those issues as well. While Republican senators complain about the Democrats’ unilateral action today, they already are promising retribution when they one day again control the Senate.
It is understandable to see why Democrats felt they had no choice but to exercise this so-called “nuclear option.” Senate Republicans have used the filibuster to block an unprecedented number of President Barack Obama’s nominations to administration positions and federal judgeships. Since 1949, 147 presidential nominees have been blocked by the use or threatened use of a filibuster, according to the Congressional Research Service, and of that total, 79 have been nominees proposed by Obama.
The partisan rancor that has brought a paralyzing gridlock to Congress already has stalled efforts to enact sorely needed reform measures on such vital public policy issues as immigration. Now it threatens the very workings of Congress to a point where lawmakers of good faith who hold opposing views might never have an environment in which to work out compromises for the good of the nation.
— Rocky Mount (N.C.) Telegram
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