Friday, October 23, 2015
It has happened once again. Important legislation designed to protect the American people has gone down to defeat despite the fact that it was supported by a vast majority of the citizens in this country and a clear majority of their elected representatives in both houses of the U.S. Congress. This time 45 members of the U.S. Senate, all Democrats, were allowed to ignore the will of the people and the Constitution and stop a bill that would punish sanctuary cities that allowed thousands of illegal aliens to roam their streets at will including convicted criminals who prey on American citizens.
This was accomplished because of the filibuster rule in the Senate that requires that 60 Senators must vote for “cloture” in order for any piece of legislation to come to the floor of the Senate for a final vote. This rule was adopted by the Senate decades ago to protect the rights of the minority party in the Senate, but has now become a method for enforcing gridlock and violating the Constitutional right of the American people to be represented by their elected members of Congress.
The Constitution establishes the Congress made up a House of Representatives and the Senate. Members of both houses take an oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. That very Constitution set up the Congress to pass legislation by a majority vote in both houses. That is the way that the members can effectively represent the will of the people who elected them. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires or even allows the U.S. Senate to require that laws be passed by a so called super majority.
The 60 vote rule in the Senate is just that, a Senate rule and it can be changed or violated at will. When the Democrats controlled the Senate and Harry Reid was in charge he used the rule to keep legislation from being voted on that had been passed by the House of Representatives, but he did not hesitate to use the “nuclear option” to get Obama’s ultra-liberal judicial and other appointees approved by a simple majority vote in Senate.
However, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of a Republican controlled Senate is not willing to do the same thing, even when critical votes on issues like defunding Planned Parenthood, sanctuary cities, the military budget, and especially the Iran treaty are being blocked by a minority. In the case of the Iran treaty the Republican leadership in both houses betrayed the American people by allowing the treaty to not be brought before the Senate for the Constitutionally required ratification by a two thirds majority. They also decided to ignore Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution by allowing Obama to submit the treaty for an up or down vote of the Congress and then allow Obama to veto a negative vote. This is unprecedented and extremely dangerous.
It is time for us to stand up to the people we elected to represent us in Congress and demand they actually fulfill their oath of office. The Senate needs to pass a rule change that allows legislation to be passed by a simple majority of the Senate. That is what our founding fathers envisioned when they adopted the Constitution.
The response of some Senators will be that it doesn’t matter if they do this, because Obama will just veto any laws he doesn’t like and there will not be the votes to override it. That doesn’t matter! What does matter is that Republicans will be doing what their constituents elected them to do. They will be protecting and defending the Constitution and force the Democrat Senators to actually go on record with votes, not hide behind the archaic cloture rule.
We must demand that the original intent of the Constitution be followed, and we should remind them that the American people also have a “nuclear option” available. It is contained in the Declaration of Independence which states that when a government becomes abusive of it power and the rights of the governed “it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it,” Unless things change soon I believe that more and more Americans are going to be considering this option.