Reconciliation and the Filibuster

Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/igreeneye/171284842/">Robin Green Eye</a> (<a href="http://www.creativecommons.org">Creative Commons</a>).

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


An acquaintance of mine who works on the Hill had this as his away message recently:

Ok Republicans, how about we agree not to use reconciliation, and you agree not to filibuster?

It’s a good point. The media tends to treat reconciliation, the process Democrats may use to pass “fixes” to the Senate health care reform bill by majority vote, as a “controversial” process. Republicans have been describing reconciliation as basically a parliamentary “trick.” It’s true that reconciliation isn’t in the Constitution—it was created in the 1970s. But the filibuster, which creates a sixty-vote requirement to end debate in the Senate, isn’t in the Constitution either.

Coverage of the Democrats’ pursuit of reconciliation should note that, absent Republicans’ use of the filibuster, Democrats would be highly unlikely to use reconciliation. They wouldn’t need to: if the GOP doesn’t filibuster, bills can pass the Senate by a simple majority, as the framers intended. And Republicans who criticize the Democrats for pursuing reconciliation should be asked whether they really think the Dems would be using it if the GOP didn’t plan to filibuster.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest