Locals share thoughts on filibuster ‘loophole’ in Congress
Last week, the United States Senate parliamentarian advised that a revised budget resolution can include reconciliation instructions allowing spending legislation to pass with a simple 50-vote majority rather than the two-thirds requirement.
The news could potentially change the game for bills moving through the legislative system, and it has already been used for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that passed without any Republican support.
The ruling was shared by an aide for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who said the determination is an “important step forward that this key pathway is available to Democrats if needed,” according to national media reports.
The budget reconciliation is typically only able to be used once per fiscal year, but the new ruling is said to be paving the way for President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure package that was also presented last week. Although, the bill may still struggle to gain moderate Democrats’ votes if the 28% corporate tax remains included.
This sort of loophole around the filibuster can only be used for budgetary bills, and the parliamentarian has the authority to strip any unrelated provisions, such as Democrats’ recent attempt at raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Bypassing the filibuster brings to light the debate surrounding its purpose, and some locals believe this loophole discourages bipartisanship.
“The parties need to come together for solutions,” said Santa Barbara County Republican Chair Bobbi McGinnis. “One party can’t just dominate and exhort 50% of Americans that voted for the other people.”
She said she hopes the ruling gets challenged, as she thinks it’s against the Constitution.
“That would be a mistake for America,” Ms. McGinnis told the News-Press, regarding gutting the filibuster altogether. “When you have a very slim majority in control, the filibuster means that it’s protecting American citizens.”
However, the flip side of the coin believes that sometimes pushing legislation through without bipartisan support is necessary if parties use obstruction tactics.
When Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart was asked about his thoughts on the new loophole, he told the News-Press, “I’ll leave the decision about the parliamentarian procedures necessary to accomplish the critically needed federal infrastructure program to our United States Senators.”
Congressman Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, voiced his support of the ruling in a statement to the News-Press.
“I’m pleased with the Senate Parliamentarian’s ruling, which is consistent with the spirit of the Congressional Budget Act and will give Congress additional tools to get American priorities signed into law,” he said. “Congress should always strive for bipartisanship, but if obstruction continues I’m thankful there is an additional pathway for legislation that will improve the lives of Central Coast residents and Americans across the country.”
The future of the filibuster is likely that it remains, protected by at least two Democratic senators who have expressed refusal to support ending it to protect the input of the minority. President Biden said in the past that he doesn’t necessarily believe it should be eliminated, but potentially reverted to the talking filibuster, when a senator has to stay on the floor and continue talking to hold up legislation.
The president told ABC back in mid-March, “It almost is getting to the point where, you know, democracy is having a hard time functioning.”email: email@example.com