By Joe Campbell
October 28th, 2009
According to reporting by David M. Herszenhorn and Robert Pear for the New York Times:
The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said that in his view a vote to debate the legislation would be tantamount to supporting it, which he said would raise taxes and increase health care costs.
Such a vote, Mr. McConnell said, “will be treated as a vote on the merits of the bill.”
Obviously, McConnell can say whatever he wants, but isn’t anyone in the Senate willing to stand up for the basic principle of democracy: majority rule. Minority rights must be protected, but when a minority is able to even prevent official debate on a law, things have gone too far. Strategically, McConnell has no choice – but by forcing the Senate to have a supermajority to even consider pressing legislation, he undermines the institution of the Senate itself. (And this supermajority requirement whereby any individual simply by threatening to filibuster can prevent debate isn’t part of the original balance of powers – but is a new development.)
You’d hope a bunch of Senators would take that into consideration.