Don’t Believe the Unity Hype; Democrats Are Coming for the Filibuster

Posted: Feb 24, 2021 12:01 AM
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Don’t Believe the Unity Hype; Democrats Are Coming for the Filibuster

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

For more than a year, conservatives have warned that Democrats would do anything necessary to advance their extreme agenda if they won control of Congress—including eliminating the filibuster.

Biden countered this charge with an inauguration speech that preached an end to divisiveness and a restoration of unity.  

But it took Biden all of two weeks to prove the hollowness of his “unity” pledge. Democrats are already breaking norms to get what they want. They have begun their assault on the filibuster—a rule established over 200 years ago to ensure well-informed proposals, thorough debate, and prudent legislation that meets the needs of Americans.

Biden’s first priority was a COVID-19 stimulus bill. If ever there was an issue ripe for bipartisanship, this was it. In fact, 10 Republican senators released their own proposal totaling $618 billion as a starting point for negotiations. Democrats promptly ignored the overture as they barreled full-steam ahead to force through Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal without a single Republican vote.

To sidestep the filibuster’s 60-vote requirement for a bill’s passage, Democrats launched the budget reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority vote.

If enacted, Biden’s plan will bail out blue states that have acted irresponsibly with their finances for years, let teachers unions off the hook for keeping students out of school, and double the minimum wage, all while sending an already soaring deficit to new heights.

The Democrats are enacting far-left policies in a coronavirus relief bill without even trying to get Republican support, which begs the question: If the Democrats are unwilling to compromise on a bill intended to help Americans during a global pandemic, what will they compromise on? Certainly not any of the far more partisan policies progressives are pushing Biden to enact.

Biden’s climate change proposal, modeled after the Green New Deal, comes with a price tag of $2 trillion dollars and drastically increases government control over everything from how families heat their homes to which cars they drive. Democrats are pressuring Biden to forgive billions of dollars of federal student loan debt, which he is considering doing via executive order. Other extreme policies progressives are sure to cram down the pipeline include repealing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, massively expanding the government’s role in healthcare, and passing an immigration plan to grant citizenship to 11 million illegal immigrants.

None of these policies stand a chance of passing while the filibuster lives. And here’s the kicker: The budget reconciliation process can only be used twice in one calendar year, and the Democrats just used one of two arrows in their quiver. If they have any hope of passing their liberal laundry list, they need another plan. Their base will settle for nothing less than elimination of the filibuster.

In a video released earlier this month, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) lays this out quite plainly: “If the Republicans are going to block… a Green New Deal,... immigration reform,... gun safety legislation,... increase in the minimum wage,... [and] voting rights reform,... we have to abolish the filibuster.” He’s not alone. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) say the filibuster must be repealed because it’s racist. Progressive activists have joined the chorus, with one climate change group saying, “If President Biden and the Democrats are serious about passing their bold, progressive agenda ... they must abolish the filibuster now.”

“Moderate” Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) say they oppose repealing the filibuster, but they’ve already shown propensity to fold. During the budget resolution vote-a-rama, Sen. Manchin and others made a show of voting for commonsense Republican amendments, then reversed course at the final hour, illuminating how powerful the liberal base of the Democratic Party is.

The writing is on the wall. The Democrats will stop at nothing to pass policies that will hurt families, kill jobs, increase taxes, stifle innovation, threaten our national security, and strip us of our freedom.

Don’t believe the “unity” hype. The Democrats’ determination to jam a COVID-19 bill through Congress along purely partisan lines shows their hand. They will stop at nothing—not tradition, not the good of the country, and certainly not empty calls for “unity”—to drag Americans, kicking and screaming, down the path of socialism.

Tim Chapman is the Executive Director of Stand For America, an advocacy group dedicated to promoting public policies that strengthen America’s economy, culture, and national security.