Rachel Maddow said on Thursday that if Democrats want to get things done and truly meet this moment of crisis, they may want to consider killing the filibuster.
The MSNBC host said that using the budget reconciliation process – a maneuver that allows bills to clear the Senate with a simple majority – will only allow Democrats to pass two pieces of legislation this year.
To get anything else done, like an immigration reform bill or voting rights legislation, Democrats would either have to convince 10 Republican senators to join them – don’t bet on it – or eliminate the filibuster.
“They can either persuade 10 Republicans to leave their bodies and do something that they are constituently incapable of doing in this era of the Republican Party, or their other option … is to vote, themselves, all the Democrats, to get rid of the filibuster,” Maddow said.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) January 29, 2021
But bottom line, using the reconciliation process they can pass two big packages of legislation this year, if the Democrats hang together, even if they get zero Republican votes. If they want to pass anything else besides that, they only have two options. They’re either going to have to persuade ten Republican senators to cross over – and, again, 10 Republican senators likely would not cross over to vote with the Democrats to proclaim kittens to be soft, let alone to vote with Democrats on something like immigration reform or COVID relief or infrastructure, or voting rights, are you kidding me? Ten Republican senators, seriously? They can either persuade ten Republicans to leave their bodies and do something that they are constituently incapable of doing in this era of the Republican Party, or their other option if they want anything passed at all while Joe Biden is president … the only other thing they can do is to vote, themselves, all the Democrats, to get rid of the filibuster, to get rid of that in the Senate, to make it so a majority vote carries the day on all legislation from here on out and there’s no more 60-vote threshold. … It has become the one thing that determines if we can do anything substantive to get our country out of the mess that we are in. If we can apply the power of government to making lasting change to address the fundamental problems where we are, to give a vaccination program funding nationwide. To give the American people relief from the economic and health disaster that we are in right now. To shore up our democracy, to support and buttress voting rights. To finally reform and rationalize our absolutely broken immigration system. If we want to do any of those things, that’s where we are now.
Chasing after GOP votes is likely a fool’s errand
In a perfect world, the United States would have two major political parties capable of coming together during a time of crisis to advance meaningful solutions.
But the Republican Party is broken in a way that cannot be fixed, at least not in the short term. It has become completely incapable of meeting this moment of national emergency.
If Joe Biden and the Democrats want to pass a much-needed rescue package to help millions of Americans struggling through this pandemic, they shouldn’t hesitate to play hardball to make it happen.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.