The filibuster has paralyzed the Senate only one week after Democrats took control. As a result, they have already placed some of their priority items in danger — such as $1,400 checks and immigration reform. Republican Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, blocks the transfer of control of the chamber’s committees.
McConnell wants Democrats to agree to uphold the filibuster rule to pass nearly every piece of legislation in exchange for handing over the gavels of the powerful committees. Democrat refuse to make the promise, a concession that could hamper their ability to pass many of President Biden’s plans for the next two years. Those outside the Capitol may perceive the fight as archaic, a pawn of the committee procedure and agendas.
This could have far-reaching implications, however. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., believes the filibuster can be gotten rid of by holding on to the option. Democrat frustration is growing as they wish to take over their committee gavels, but reject McConnell’s demands. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the filibuster would be on everything, every day, if that was the case.
If such a change is necessary, we should certainly consider it. A unique twist is present in the fight. Democrats would have to eliminate the filibuster if McConnell does not abandon his demand. McConnell is, in essence, filibustering a transfer of power.
McConnell said he was convinced by recent assurances from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, who have reaffirmed their support for the 60-vote rule. It is not clear how to move forward on a filibuster without language if there is a power-sharing deal. McConnell’s absurd request has been dropped, according to Justin Goodman, Schumer’s spokesperson. The Senate committees have taken their time in reviewing Biden’s nominees, despite continued Republican scrutiny.
As long as there is no solution, Biden’s political agenda will not be considered. Democrats had already weighed an internal dilemma as a result of the clash. Before the election, progressive activists, who had already begun to doubt Republican cooperation, pressured Democrats to reduce the filibuster. According to Fix the Senate Now, McConnell is preventing Biden from getting his agenda passed without allowing him to even have a chance to speak.
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