Senate rule change disappointing

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: December 18 2013 | 2:50 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:01 am in
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Sen. Tom Harkin’s perspective (Dec. 5 guest column) on the Senate rules change, from supermajority to simple majority to invoke cloture, is disappointing. He calls it an action “to restore the Senate practice that the president’s nominees receive an up-or-down vote.” Really? Sure looked more serious than that to me.

Harkin divines that the framers of the Constitution never envisioned a supermajority to enact legislation or to confirm nominees. Really? Since the Constitution states each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, it is apparent Harkin is wrong on this assumption.

He states the new simple majority pertains “only to nominations.” Really? They’re lifetime appointments. To federal district courts!

He points out that rules have been reformed in numerous instances “such as war powers and the budget.” Really? When was the last time the Senate passed an annual budget or bothered to declare war?

Finally, Harkin suggests we’re to be tranquil knowing the Republicans some day will have the ability to carry out their own agenda. Really? No thanks! I no more want to see right wingers stack the judicial deck than I do left wingers.

Senate head-butting is chronic. How about a little bipartisanship, consensus building and statesmanship? If that’s not in senators’ job descriptions, it should be.

Otherwise, a simple majority vote on extraordinary issues might look like two foxes and a hen voting on what to have for dinner.

Clay Fulknier

Cedar Rapids


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