Thursday, January 20, 2011

Eric Cantor is right

The Senate does kind of suck.

Cantor and his fellow Reps have passed their repeal of the ACA in the House. And now it moves on to the Senate where he isn't even sure Harry Reid and the Dems will give it a vote. I'm too tired to look up the link and find his quote. But Cantor says something along the lines of the people deserve to have the vote.

Like all politicians he only says that because its his policy preference in question. But in general I agree that if you can manage to pass something in the House the Senate should take a good look at it and probably give it a vote.

The problem is that both Eric Cantor and myself are pretty loyal partisans. I don't want to see his repeal of the ACA get close to passing the Senate any more than he wanted the original ACA to get a vote. Though, he thinks it kills jobs and imposes tyranny on Americas (as does everything Reps disagree with) while I think repealing it just means that about 30 million less people will get health insurance who would have had it, people with pre existing conditions will go back to being denied insurance, and we will be back to where we started in 2008.

But those clear differences are why there are rules and procedures like the filibuster in the Senate. Both parties know they won't hold a majority forever. Thus they want some sort of safeguard against the other party passing a lot of crazy legislation.

While Dems had 59 votes I really wished there wasn't a filibuster that prevented more liberal policies to be put in the ACA. And I wanted the Senate to take on carbon emissions through cap and trade. But Reid knew he didn't have votes to break a filibuster. But if Reps gain a majority in 2012 I'll be happy that the filibuster will make it difficult to pass legislation on stuff like immigration, abortion, gay rights, religious stuff, more tax cuts for rich people, etc.

So while Eric Cantor and the rest of the Republican party will spend the next two years whining about the Senate don't look for the Reps in the Senate to do much about it. And don't look for quotes from Cantor complaining about the Senate over the past two years when Reps were setting a record for number of filibusters used.

I don't think the founders wanted to require 60 votes to pass things through the Senate. But they did want to guard against too much change too quickly. And while I have my problems with the filibuster it certainly seems to keep the pendulum of American public policy swinging rather shortly and slowly.

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