GOP senators are making bogus arguments to defend the filibuster rule.
Senate Republicans are making every argument they can think of as to why the Democratic majority should not take away their power to obstruct popular legislation, with the latest being that it's just not that important.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced last week that if the GOP minority does not stop filibustering voting rights legislation, he will propose changes to the rules to allow it to pass with a simple majority. Under the current system, most legislation can be blocked by just 41 out of 100 senators voting to stop it from moving forward.
Polls from 2021 show that protecting voting rights is popular and that many voters do not support the Republican minority obstructing those efforts. But on Tuesday, the Senate Republican caucus suggested that ending the filibuster should not be a priority and that doing so would silence the voices of American voters.
"Rampant COVID, a crumbling economy, crisis at the border, surging crime. Americans face real issues. Eliminating the Filibuster is not one of them. Protect your voice. Stop the radical agenda," the Senate GOP asserted on Twitter, without acknowledging their efforts to block President Joe Biden's proposals to curb COVID, create millions more jobs, and keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals.
While Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has tried to gaslight the public into believing his party is not trying to make it harder to vote, in 2021 alone, 17 GOP-run state legislatures passed laws that do just that.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) posted a video on Tuesday noting that some Democrats, including Schumer and Biden, made comments in support of the filibuster 17 years ago, before McConnell and his caucus took legislative obstruction to historically unprecedented levels.
But several Republicans in the Senate have also changed their minds on the issue after previously arguing that the chamber should be governed by majority rule and that the filibuster should be eliminated.
As recently as 2015, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran called the 60-vote threshold for passing bills "damaging to the future of our country," saying, "It's damaging to the ability of the Senate to work the will of the American people and to make decisions that advance a cause different than one's political party and political philosophy."
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told a tea party group in 2017 that he wanted to eliminate the then-Democratic minority's power to block GOP bills: "Long and short out of it, I would end the 60-vote filibuster right now."
Former President Donald Trump repeatedly demanded the filibuster be eliminated. In August 2017 he tweeted, "If Republican Senate doesn't get rid of the Filibuster Rule & go to a simple majority, which the Dems would do, they are just wasting time!"
In a tweet posted by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) on Tuesday, a video featuring white lettering on a black background states, "The filibuster ensures millions of Americans have a voice in Congress. But Democrats want to silence your voice."
Her tweet reads, "Our democratic republic was designed to protect and represent the interests of all Americans, not just a select few. Democrats want to change this by destroying the Senate and our democracy."
However, there is no mention of the filibuster in the Constitution whatsoever. Given that it was not included by the framers in establishing the Senate, its removal would not be likely to destroy the institution.
Additionally, Democrats in the Senate currently represent about 41 million more people than Republican senators do. Both parties hold 50 seats, though Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris can break ties.
In a separate tweet on Tuesday, Ernst admitted her real objection to reform. She shared a photo of Biden, Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the words "Without the filibuster... their policies become law."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.