How To Pass Health Care In The U.S. Senate . . .

Posted on July 1, 2009


. . . If 41 members of the U.S. Senate are determined to block the will of the American people, then let them . . . No, make them . . . FILIBUSTER.  If there are 41 arrogant senators who would deny majority rule, make those 41 senators talk all day and talk all night until they are sick and old, or until a few of them come to their senses.

When did 60 votes become the functioning majority in that formerly great deliberative body, the U.S. Senate?  Look: Half of 100 senators is 50. Therefore, 51 senators is a majority. That’s the way it used to be, and that’s the way it should be.

The U.S. Constitution provides for “extended debate” to protect the rights of a minority, not to smother the rights of the majority. Sixty votes is the number required to end a filibuster. The filibuster was used sparingly through history. Usually filibusters proceeded for a few nights or a few weeks, until some senators switched sides to end the obstruction and allow a vote on the issue of the day.

Now, by pretending that a 60-vote filibuster-proof super-majority is necessary to conduct business, the U.S. Senate has effectively rendered itself dysfunctional.

In the present case of health care reform, requested by President Barack Obama and supported by a decisive majority of the American people, there is a solution.  The solution is to vote for cloture, or make the obstructionist minority talk until they wear out their vocal cords and the voters’ patience.

After the filibuster collapses under the anger of the voters, a majority of 51 or more Democratic senators (and moderate Republicans, if any) will pass a health-care bill and send it to President Obama for his signature. 

And let the record show that we are talking about a health-care bill that includes a “public option” alongside  private health insurance.  — Bernie Hayden