Kinda randomly, about the United States Senate… it seems to me, not knowing anything really and not privy to any particular information, that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are preparing a Debt Ceiling fight, where no Senators from that party will vote for extending the Debt Limit that allows the government to meet its financial obligations. This, in turn, will place tremendous pressure on the Democratic Party to act unilaterally—that is, to pass legislation to either abolish or raise the limit without Republican votes. But procedurally, the Republicans can filibuster such legislation—so there will be tremendous pressure on the Democratic Senators to abolish the filibuster in order to keep the government open. Which, in turn, will give the Democratic Senators a free hand to pass all kinds of legislation by simple majority, and will ultimately reduce the power of individual Senators in favor of the Party Leaders.
This is probably what Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer both want: a lever for getting rid of the filibuster, where each can blame the other for doing it (or necessitating it), giving them as leaders a more free hand. Presumably the House leadership of each Party also wants this as they aren’t doing anything to stop it, and it makes sense that they imagine that the Senate would be better if it were more like the House. And perhaps Senators Manchin and Sinema—who I think are the remaining Democratic Senators who need to be compelled to get rid of the filibuster rather than leaping at the first opportunity—are also planning this situation in some sort of careful fashion, preferring to be compelled by a government shutdown that must be ended, rather than by any more substantial legislation. It would make sense to me that all the people involved had a common goal (ending the current supermajority requirement) and similar requirements (someone else to blame) and thus were able to work together to set up the situation.
Is this a Good Thing? Probably? Certainly the Supermajority Senate is a Bad Thing, as it is currently set up, and since there is no substantial faction in the Senate that wants to preserve the positive aspects of the filibuster, it’s going to go away at some point. I personally would rather preserve some of those aspects, but democracy isn’t about my personal preferences. And it seems to me much better to get rid of the filibuster now, during a probably-brief period where My Party has a majority in both Houses, rather than waiting for the Other Party to have such majorities. (There is little reason for a Senate Majority to abolish the filibuster if it still has to negotiate with the Other Party in the House.) Better for My Party, I mean, and better for the nation and the world, since the policies they will pass are, in my opinion, good ones. And also perhaps better for the Other Party, since they are probably better off, electorally, if the most popular policy planks of My Party are passed and then taken off the table—they may genuinely feel that a higher minimum wage and universal background checks for firearm purchases are bad policy, but I kinda think they’d rather have them passed without their support than have to continue campaigning against them.
I could be wrong about what’s going on, of course. I usually am. But it does seem (to Your Humble Blogger) to explain the Democratic Party not addressing the debt ceiling in the budget resolution, which, let me say, isn’t obviously a good idea. But if they are setting up a government shutdown that can’t be ended without abandoning the filibuster, that makes a kind of sense. Not very much sense—success relies on the continued good health of two octogenarian Senators and a whole bunch of septuagenarians, which is rarely the mark of a sensible plan.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,