We hope that Democratic Senators Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin will persevere in their critical refusal to go along with their party’s efforts to scuttle the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster rule, enabling them to pass legislation by a simple majority. And it’s not only because the necessity for 60 out of 100 votes is thwarting President Biden’s efforts to enact tectonic spending laws that will utterly transform America into a government-subsidized cradle-to-grave society and drive inflation to unprecedented and unmanageable levels – although that is part of it for us.
Nor is it only because we oppose the Biden’s so-called “voting rights” bill providing for a federal takeover of the regulation of federal elections now in the province of state governments, and which preempts local laws that prevent such things as the institutionalization of ballot harvesting and mail-in ballots, and which require voter photo ID and signature match and other measures designed to ensure the integrity of the voting process – although that is also part of it for us.
What drives our thinking is more a matter of the context in which all of this is taking place – that is the even 50-50 split between those caucusing with the Democrats and the Republicans, and the centrality of partisanship to what goes on in Washington these days. It means that the decisive vote will be the Vice President, who is assigned the tie-braking vote by the Constitution. Given the current Democratic control of the presidency and both the Senate and House of Representatives, only the 60-vote filibuster rule stands in the way of Democrats doing what they want.
The massive transformative spending bill to fund the longtime Democratic wish list and the promotion of profoundly counterproductive progressive voting reforms with the barest of legislative majorities are cases in point.
And as both Manchin and Sinema have said, separate and apart from their views on the particular Biden legislative proposals, they fear that the absence of the filibuster is antithetical to the forging of consensus to pass major legislation, since the majority party would go it alone if it could. And then there is the important need to avoid sharp policy swings. As Sinema wryly noted, she will never go along with blowing up the filibuster rule because she knows what the Republicans can be expected to do under such a rule if they were to get control of the Senate, House and the White House.
So we hope the two lawmakers continue to hang tough.