Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Democrats Change Their Tune on Senate Rules


Democrats Change Their Tune on Senate Rules


As one senator put it:

I’ve been in the Senate for a long time, and there are plenty of times I would have loved to change this rule or that rule to pass a bill or to confirm a nominee I felt strongly about. But I didn’t, and it was understood that the option of doing so just wasn’t on the table. You fought political battles; you fought hard; but you fought them within the strictures and requirements of the Senate rules. Despite the short-term pain, that understanding has served both parties well, and provided long-term gain. Adopting the “nuclear option” would change this fundamental understanding and unbroken practice of what the Senate is all about.  Senators would start thinking about changing other rules when they became ‘inconvenient.’ Instead of two-thirds of the vote to change a rule, you’d now have precedent that it only takes a bare majority.  Altering Senate rules to help in one political fight or another could become standard operating procedure, which, in my view, would be disastrous.

That senator, of course, was Joe Biden.

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