Senate filibusters: how to defend against trump liberal America

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The right to delay indefinitely the discussion of important bills in the Senate allows the minority party to defend their interests

16 Nov Chuck Schumer, Senator from new York, was elected leader of the democratic minority in the Senate, replacing outgoing retired Harry Reid. It is from Sumer now will depend on how the Democrats can oppose the administration of Donald trump.

The conciliatory tone that trump even asked in the election night was to calm the fears of the Democrats regarding the intentions of the elected President. But do not forget that after the elections the Republicans retained control of both houses of Congress — the house of representatives and the Senate. However, the disposal of the Democratic party is one of the traditional American means to block the most odious initiatives of the majority.

To sink the enemy

Any Senator of the United States during the discussion of the bill at the plenary meeting may take the floor and not stop, since the discussion of draft laws in the Senate by any standards is not limited. Alternating with each other, the minority can delay the process almost indefinitely. This practice is called the word “filibuster” (the filibuster, that is, the Buccaneer, the pirate), which is widely included in American political jargon in 1850-ies.

The original “swing” the bills could not only senators but also congressmen. However, with the increase in their numbers in the rules of the house of representatives was amended to strictly limit the speaking time. And in 1917, at the suggestion of President Woodrow Wilson, the Senate passed “rule 22”, which allowed two-thirds vote to stop a filibuster. It was first applied two years later, when an attempt was made to “swing” the Treaty of Versailles. Then in 1975, an amendment to the regulations, according to which the adoption of the resolution to end debate, required a three-fifths vote (60 senators).

It is curious that the Senator who resorted to the tactics of filibuster can talk about anything. the 1930-ies Huey long (the prototype of Willie stark, the protagonist of the novel by Robert Penn Warren “All the king’s men”. — RBC) during the 15-hour speech was read by Shakespeare and even cooking recipes. The record belongs to the Stroma Thurmond from South Carolina, who in 1957 spoke for 24 hours 18 minutes against the adoption of the famous law “On civil rights” designed to end discrimination against black Americans.

Anti-piracy measures

There are several ways to calm the Senator-filibuster.

First, to gather the votes of 60 senators to pass a resolution on the conclusion of the debate. However, the Republicans after the elections of November 8, have only 51 seats, allowing Democrats to use pirate tactics.

Secondly, to circumvent the tricks of the opposition, if the bill under the “reconciliation process budget” (budget reconciliation process), where the closure of the debate can be a simple majority of votes. So a law was passed 2010 “On the patient protection and affordable care”, which is one of the major achievements of Barack Obama. Thanks to him, 22 million Americans gained access to health services.

Third, Senator filibuster can stop using the fact that the Washington political jargon sounds like a “nuclear option”. This is a situation where the Senator leading the plenary meeting, announce the procedure of the Senate constitutional issue that must be resolved by a simple majority.

It is important to note that in real legislative practice of the filibuster is quite rare. Usually it is enough of a threat by the opposition to force the ruling party to compromise the merits of the bill. In addition, this mechanism is considered as a kind of guarantee of minority rights, because the parties from time to time change places, and therefore aware of the need for deterrents.

Democrats vs trump

There are several possible scenarios of further developments in the U.S. Senate.

1) “business as usual” by: Billy entered, Democrats seriously modify, right-wing supporters of the trump contend, in response, the senators say that this is the legislative process.

2) “Compromise”: in the beginning of the Congress of the 115th convocation of the Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell and the new minority leader Chuck Schumer agree on a series acceptable to both parties of reforms, the question of filibuster closed.

3) “Planned failure”: many Republicans believe trump’s “his” and not share its views, so they will pay the bills (for example, about building a wall with Mexico), but to allow Democrats “to swing” them.

4) “Suppression of filibuster”: the Republicans, fearing an even more right-wing rivals in the primaries actually going to execute the ideas in the White house, using the “process of harmonization of the budget” or “nuclear option”. In this case, the American political system, expect big changes.

The authors ‘ point of view, articles which are published in the section “Opinions” may not coincide with ideas of editorial.

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