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A Thin Reid: How Not to Appeal to the Founders

Posted By Julia Shaw On December 3, 2009 @ 4:25 pm In First Principles | Comments Disabled

Today, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) voiced his concern that the Senate is moving away the Founders’ vision. No, Senator Reid has not admitted the unconstitutionality of his  health care legislation [1]. Rather, in his floor remarks, Senator Reid asserted that the Founders never envisioned the Senate to be a forum for endless debate on legislation: “Because it couldn’t be any further from what the founders had in mind. They didn’t write this esteemed body’s rules so that we could stare at the hands of the clock, which are right up here, as they rotate around each other without end.” In 2009, the Senate is no place for robust debate.

The Democrats claimed otherwise in 2005 and 2008. According to Senate Democrats then, the Founders’ saw the Senate as a check to the president and the House of Representatives and relied on rigorous debate to pass good legislation and to prevent the tyranny of the majority. Senator Reid stated that “without robust debate, the Senate is crippled.” Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) echoed Reid’s sentiment that extended debate is crucial to protect the minority against the “Tyranny of the Majority. [2]” Russ Feingold (D-WI) saw extended debate as necessary to “stand up to the President or to cool the passions of the explicitly majoritarian House. [3]

When Democrats control Congress and the Presidency in 2009, suddenly the Founders see the role of Senate as rubber stamping legislation without debate or input from the minority party. It’s not the Founders who have changed; it’s the Democrats’ use for them.


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/12/03/a-thin-reid-how-not-to-appeal-to-the-founders/

URLs in this post:

[1] unconstitutionality of his  health care legislation: http://www.foundry.org/2009/08/20/is-national-health-insurance-constitutional/

[2] extended debate is crucial to protect the minority against the “Tyranny of the Majority.: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?position=all&page=S4437&dbname=2005_record

[3] stand up to the President or to cool the passions of the explicitly majoritarian House.: http://feingold.senate.gov/statements/05/05/2005517B27.html

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