The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a science advocacy organization, has joined the call for the Senate to eliminate the filibuster as calls grow for Democrats to take decisive steps to codify their most popular proposals into law.
“The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) understands that just as science is needed to ensure that the public policy process is effective, a healthy and functioning democracy is needed to ensure that policies are just,” the organization said in a press release.
Johanna Chao Kreilick, president of UCS, also provided a statement in which she derided the filibuster for lacking a Constitutional basis.
“The filibuster has no Constitutional basis and was never intended to be a de facto supermajority requirement for the U.S. Senate to carry out its work—but that is exactly what it has become in practice, and as such it has become one of the major impediments to responsive, accountable, and democratic governance,” she said, adding that the filibuster has often been used for undemocratic reasons, such as when it “has often been deployed against civil rights legislation.”
“Every scientist, engineer, and science advocate understands that design principles matter, and the same holds for the design of political institutions. If the theoretical purpose of the filibuster is to create bipartisan consensus, it has clearly failed on its own terms,” she continued. “Our opposition to the filibuster, and principled stance to abolish, is both science-based and evidence-backed; by privileging a minority that supports the status quo and election subversion, the filibuster distorts the policymaking process and inhibits our capacity to address the country’s most pressing challenges—from climate change to safeguarding our democracy.”
UCS’s statement comes after more than 30 former top Senate Democratic aides called for changes to the filibuster rules.
“Over the course of the past 20 years, the filibuster has put a chokehold on the Senate,’’ 31 former chiefs of staff to Democratic senators said in an open letter. “Legislation is now routinely filibustered, transforming the Senate from a place of meaningful debate and progress into a legislative graveyard.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.