End the filibuster?

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The debate over whether to end the filibuster rule in the U.S. Senate gives me heartburn.

It’s a “reform” that is fraught with peril.

You know how it goes. Senators in the minority use the filibuster to block legislation. It was created with the notion of allowing senators to talk bills to death by blathering on and on about this and that. It has become more of a procedural maneuver these days.

The peril lies in the political future of the Senate and which party maintains the majority.

At this moment, Democrats control a 50-50 Senate split only because they have a Democratic vice president, Kamala Harris, available to break tie votes. Democrats are angry with Republicans because they filibuster legislation that Democrats want enacted; creation of the Jan. 6 bipartisan commission is the latest significant example.

What happens, though, if Republicans take control of the Senate after the 2022 midterm election? Democrats who today are screeching for an end to the filibuster are likely to sing a different tune if they are caught in the minority among senators. Meanwhile, are Republicans going to be as quick to stand with the filibuster if their Democratic colleagues begin filibustering in an effort to kill GOP-friendly legislation?

Control of the legislative branch is a fluid thing. It sways back and forth.

This is a rule written by the Senate. It is not a constitutional provision. Thus, I am a bit concerned that Democrats’ insistence on ending the filibuster might bite ’em all in the backside if control of the Senate — as tenuous as it is — slips away.