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Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
The Free State

Monday, January 9, 2012

House Dem Chair: 'We'd love to see Regular Order': One way to Reform Congress



Its no secret unless your blind, death, stupid or crazy or a combination of all those conditions. And if thats the case I feel really sorry for you, that Congress is in need of serious reform. Not just in the Senate but the House as well but tonight I'll focus on the Senate Confirmation Process. Because I couldn't think of anything duller to write about and besides as boring as it might sound. Boring enough to put an Insomniac Convention to sleep for weeks, its actually pretty important. Because its gets to Governing the Federal Government especially the Executive and how little Governing the Legislative. Especially the Senate has been doing the last year or so, thanks to a lot of obstruction and I'm not going to place much blame here. Other then to say I respect Minority Rights both in the Senate and House and believe the House should have Minority Rights. Just not to the point that the Minority Leadership in either the Senate or House can block at will. Even to the point that they block because they feel they can make the Majority Party look bad. If they aren't able to pass anything, which is exactly what's going on with Senate Republicans right now. Led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who made the Political Calculation in 2009. That if he can prevent Congressional Democrats and President Obama from governing. Thats how the Republican Party get back into power. So what I'm going to do with this blog is offer some Constructive Criticism on how to Reform the US Senate.

This is what Majority and Minority Rights would like to me in the Senate and I'll focus on the House in a future blog. Stay tuned to your Local Blog Channel all you Political Junkies out there. The Majority Party led by the Leader would set the agenda of the Senate and would lay out a new Senate Agenda every year. These are the issues that the Senate will be debating on the Senate Floor. Then the Majority Party either working amongst themselves or with the Minority Party. Would write and offer bills that would be considered and voted on on in committee. And if they pass there, offered, debated, amended if any amendments are passed on the Senate Floor. But then voted on in the end if they can get 60 Votes. Then the Minority Party led by the Minority Leader would be able to offer their version of the bills, that the Senate Leader brings to the Senate Floor. That the Majority Party decides not to work with the Minority on. So you would have what's called Base bills offered by the Majority Party and then Substitutes offered by the Minority Party. The Leader would have to approve any Base bill offered by the Majority and the Minority Leader would have to approve any Substitute offered by the Minority. And the same process would work in committee between the Chairman and Ranking Members. That way both sides are included and have their ideas considered that are brought to the floor.

Minority Rights to me are about the right to be included and speak, to prevent the Majority Party from ramming their agenda through. Especially when on party controls both the White House and Congress. But its not a Right to Obstruct, lets stop the Senate from doing anything which is exactly what's going on which is why. The Senate Cloture Rule should not just be reformed but then eliminated but replaced. With what I would call a Motion to Table that could only be made by the Leader or Minority Leader on the Senate Floor. But it would still need 60 votes to be overturned. But it would only be allowed at the end of debates when all time has expired and all amendments have been voted on. No more Motion to Proceed Rule, the Leader would just have to call up any bill thats on the Senate Calender. Thats been voted out of committee or called up under Emergency Order. Where the Leader would need the consent of the Minority Leader to do that. Just eliminate the Motion to Proceed and give that power to the Leader instead, eliminate the Cloture Rule and replace it with a Motion to Table. You would see the Senate working, debating and voting a lot more.

You want to keep people who aren't qualified to serve in the US Public Service out of office, great I'm with you. Just as long as the Senate makes those decisions by voting on them. No more filibustering Executive Appointments, put in a 60 Vote Requirement for all Executive Appointments and limit. The amount of Executive Appointments that have to be confirmed by the Senate. And you would force Senators to have to vote up or down a lot more. And to show their disapproval for Qualified Appointments in the future, they would actually have to vote no. Which would be politically much harder, instead of hiding behind the Cloture Rule.