Brian Darling
Recommend this article

Ever wonder why the Senate has voted not even once on a Second Amendment issue this year, yet cast a never ending series of votes on the Obama Agenda?  The answer is Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The Senate Majority Leader has outmaneuvered Republicans to stop “hostile” amendments and force repeated votes on Obama priorities.

The situation is far different in the House of Representatives.  Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) has been a benevolent leader, allowing extended debates and open rules on some legislation. 

Boehner’s way is better.

Reid control the Senate’s agenda by using parliamentary procedure in a manner intended to squelch dissent and marginalize Republicans.  Tea Party minded Senators would be wise to filibuster every thing Reid tries to advance until he allows members from both sides of the aisle to participate fully in the legislative process.

Last week provided a great case study of Reid’s leadership style.  The day after the House passed legislation extending the life of the Export-Import Bank, Reid attempted to take up the bill and pass it with very limited debate and no amendments.  But conservative Senators objected to a rubber stamp vote on bill.  After all, it not only would keep this bastion of crony capitalism in business for two more years, but it would boost its loan authority by another $40 billion.

Refusing to be steamrolled into an ill-considered vote, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor to demand more debate to discuss ending this corporate welfare program.  Other conservatives demanded an opportunity to offer amendments. 

What?  Republicans dare request that the Senate follow all the rules before voting on a bill?!  That they be allowed to debate and amend a piece of legislation?!!  It was too much for Reid.  He threw a tantrum

On the Senate floor, the Majority Leader exploded into a tirade against the filibuster.  He praised efforts by Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) to change the chamber’s rules so it would be easier for the majority to stop a filibuster.  “If there were anything that ever needed changing in this body, it’s the filibuster rule,” Reid concluded.

Of course, the opposite is true.  The filibuster is the one rule that should never be changed, no matter which party controls the Senate.

Recommend this article

Brian Darling

Brian Darling is a Senior Fellow in Government Studies at the Heritage Foundation. Follow him on Twitter @BrianHDarling