Since this occasion is piled high with difficulty, we must think and act anew. Dogmas of the quiet past, such as the rules of the Senate, are inadequate for these times, and we must disenthrall ourselves if we are to save our country.
So if the filibuster can’t be eliminated, it must not be allowed to block the passage of tax reform, Obamacare reform, and budget reform. As I argued over a month ago, you roll it all into one reconciliation package, make a determination that the filibuster requirement can be waived, and pass it with 51 votes.
Either that, or Schumer wins again, as he did in the latest budget bill. Trump is embarrassed, and he should be. He’s tweeting that we may need a good government shutdown in September in order to shake things up. His guts are right on this one. I don’t think he has any choice.
His base is sticking with him, for now. But they don’t like seeing Chuck Schumer knocking him around, and they want him to fight back. Speaker Newt Gingrich was beating President Clinton up pretty good in 1995, and then Clinton fought back, vetoing the budget, shutting down the government, and blaming the Republicans. Trump could do something similar.
A reconciliation bill is anything you want to call it. What can go in, and what can’t, are totally up to the Senate. If the Republicans want to put something in a bill, and say that it fits the requirements, then it does. But some, like McCain, will object, and it only takes three members of the Senate majority to prevent such a ruling.
I say, let them go ahead and do it. Then pass some mealy mouthed budget with some good and some bad, the product of bipartisan compromise with Chuck Schumer, and send it to President Trump.
At that point, Trump vetoes the budget, and shuts down the government. And the pressure will be on McCain. If he removes his objection on the filibuster waiver, the big package of legislation in the Omnibus Reconciliation Bill of 2017 can pass with 51 votes, and the government reopens.
It will all be on McCain.
He caused the shut down, in order to preserve an anti-democratic rule that the Senate club is attached to, and not for sentimental value. The filibuster empowers every Senator. It make every Senate vote more valuable to its owner. In today’s world of hyper-partisanship, it doesn’t work. There’s no middle ground.
The press will be with McCain, but Trump can deal with that. That’s something he’s pretty good at.