"Majority rules." Makes sense to me. I can live with that. In both the House and the Senate.
Do away with the Senate's stupid filibuster custom where 41 out of 100 Senators have veto power over what legislation will be passed by Congress, and whether Presidential nominations of administration officials and judges will be confirmed.
Republican abuse of the filibuster has led to Senate gridlock. Then Republicans complain that the Obama administration can't get anything through the Senate. This hypocritical insanity has to end.
There's a lot to like about a parliamentary system of government.
An election is held. A majority of those elected to parliament then choose a prime minister. So the leader of the country and a majority of the parliament are on the same political wavelength. They can propose and carry out policies without a minority blocking them.
If the electorate likes what they do, they get re-elected. If their policies are rejected, so is the parliament majority, and hence the prime minister. This guarantees accountability. A political party (or coalition) gets an opportunity to implement its policies.
Doing away with the filibuster entirely would bring the United States closer to this sort of desirable accountability. In our current political situation, we have a Democratic president and a 55-45 Democratic majority (coalition, really, with 53 Dems and 2 others) in the Senate.
Without the filibuster, a Democratic initiative could be passed by the Senate that would be signed by Obama if it also passed the House. Voters would know whose fault it was if the bill didn't become law: the Republican majority in the House.
This would make things a lot clearer.
At present, it drives me nuts to see a newspaper headline that says "Such and such bill failed to pass the Senate." Actually, it did, say by a 57-43 vote. But because of the stupid filibuster, the bill didn't get the 61 super-majority votes needed to pass almost everything now that the GOP has become the Party of No.
So unless citizens follow the dysfunctional Senate machinations closely, they get the impression that Democrats can't pass important legislation or confirm crucial nominations. In truth, the Dems would, if there was majority rule in the Senate.
Sadly, almost certainly this won't happen next year. But filibuster reform finally is being seriously talked about.
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is a leader in the fight to end filibuster abuse.
His proposal is a lot better than doing nothing, though like I said above, "nothing" is the filibuster option I'd prefer. Still, requiring Senators to actually stand on the Senate floor and talk, talk, talk would draw attention to their obstructionism and make them suffer some to keep up a filibuster.
A New York Times editorial says:
The proposal made by Mr. Udall and Mr. Merkley last year, which we strongly supported, would have preserved the filibuster but made it much harder to use. Rather than allow a single senator to raise an objection that triggered a 60-vote requirement, their plan would require 10 signatures to start a filibuster and would then force an increasingly large group of members to speak continuously on the floor to keep it going. Senators could not hide in cloakrooms but would have to face the public on camera to hold up a judge’s confirmation, a budget resolution or a bill.
Sure, give it a try. (Sign a petition supporting filibuster reform.)
But if after reform filibustering still holds up Senate business excessively, which after all is the peoples' business, Senate rules should be tightened to further weaken the filibuster. Hopefully the damn thing will go away entirely before long.