This is America. The World’s Proudest Democracy. Well, representative government, anyway. Sunday evening, however, it struck me that just one person is all it takes to derail health reform. Now, the details I’m going to mention are nothing “new.” I just hadn’t thought about it quite like this before.
Of course, we all know that the President can veto legislation if he or she is opposed to it, but that doesn’t give them the power to stop reform in its tracks, because Congress can override the veto. Our Founding Fathers saw fit to prevent tyranny by placing limits on the powers of the executive.
Yet, in the Senate, one person’s vote can represent the difference between a filibuster or cloture. Given the way our legislative process works, if the Senate maintains a long-enough filibuster, no bill will ever get voted on, and thus no law can be passed. One Senator can kill health reform. Now, I’m not suggesting that such an action is likely, only that is possible. I think that the citizens of this country deserve better than that. One Senator should not be able to so effectively control the national agenda.
Perhaps, if health reform fails to make it through Congress this year, the Senate should seriously consider abolishing the filibuster. At least then every bill would get a fair shot at a straight “up or down” vote.