Using the "Nuclear Option" for Filibuster Reform Endangers Cooperation
If I had it my way I would eliminate the Senate filibuster all together but replace it with something that still supports. Minority rights and if anything would empower the Minority Leader even further, even if it is Mitch McConnell. A what's called in Congress both House and Senate the Motion to Table which unfortunately every. Single member of Congress has this ability to propose at least in the Senate and its the ability to prevent amendments. From even being voted on, lets say Senator Jones doesn't like the current amendment on the floor to the 2013 transportation bill. That was offered by Senator Wilson, Senator Jones could move to table the Wilson amendment which would put. That amendment aside and the Senate would move on to the next business at hand, the next amendment or perhaps. A cloture vote which would be a vote to end whatever filibuster might be coming or move to final passage. A vote on the bill itself, under my plan only the Senate Leader or Minority Leader could offer a Motion to Table. And they could only do it after all votes on the bill have taken place except for final passage and it would take sixty votes to overcome. A Motion to Table leaving minority rights in tact and eliminating filibusters on anything.
So under my plan no more filibusters, no more motions to proceed, what would happen instead is that the Senate Leader. Would call up bills on his own that have been passed through committee that have a process in place. In how they will be debated on the floor, what amendments will be offered and how long the debate would be. But then the Minority Leader on his own could bring up a relevant substitute to the bill brought up by the Leader. For bills to reach the floor that have not been passed through committee, they would have to come up through emergency. Meaning the Leader would need the permission of the Minority Leader and the leaders of the committee of jurisdiction. The committee that the bill would normally have to go through to reach the Senate floor, so what I would do. Is restore regular order in the Senate so that Senators could actually read legislation before they vote on it. Offer their own input on it that would need to be approved by the Senate and be able to layout what they think. Of the legislation and more importantly tax payers would be able to get to read the legislation as well.
So under my plan the majority would get to set the agenda and decide what issues get debated on the floor. And there would be real debate on bills and real debate and votes on amendments and real time limits. What the minority would get in return is minority rights restored the ability to block partisan legislation or. Party line legislation thats brought to the floor by the majority that they had little to no input in writing. The ability to offer their own version of bills that are brought to the floor by the Leader, led by the Minority Leader. As well as relevant amendments to the majority bill but no longer be able to obstruct to just shut the Senate down. The minority if they have at least forty one votes would only be able to block final passage, not stop the Senate. From debating and legislating.
So under my plan as it relates to the Senate filibuster, filibusters and motion to proceed would be history. Sorta like VCR's or landline phones, which is a joke but minority rights still intact but the right to obstruct. Just to obstruct would be gone because it would be limited to final passage and what the minority gets in return. Under the Minority Leader, is the ability to voice their own input and get that input voted on, not automatically passed. Which is different and the Senate could get back to legislating without the majority being able run over the minority and shut them out.