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  • Reid Is Bouncing an Important Check

    It seems odd to note this in an election year, but it’s important nonetheless: The Founding Fathers feared unbridled, direct democracy. The Senate is supposed to slow down the legislative process by allowing vigorous debate. But Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) is weakening its purpose by blocking other Senators from participating in that debate.

    In Federalist #10, James Madison wrote that “democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

    So while they wanted the people to govern themselves through a republic, the Founders wanted to guarantee that the process would include rigorous debate. To help facilitate that, the constitutional republic they created established two houses of Congress.

    Because every House member stood for election every two years, that body tended to move more quickly. So the Founders wanted the Senate to be more deliberative. Madison “explained that the Constitution’s framers considered the Senate to be the great ‘anchor’ of the government. To the framers themselves, Madison explained that the Senate would be a ‘necessary fence’ against the ‘fickleness and passion’ that tended to influence the attitudes of the general public and members of the House of Representatives,” as the Senate’s history puts it.

    But in a new Heritage paper, Brian Darling warns that this important check is being lost. “The United States Senate is becoming less open and deliberative because Senators’ right to debate and offer amendments has been severely restricted,” Darling writes. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) “has made a habit of using a procedural tactic called ‘filling the amendment tree’ to block amendments to bills. He has employed this tactic more than 50 times during his more than five years as Majority Leader to prevent the minority party from forcing votes on politically charged amendments.”

    “Filling the tree,” Darling explains, “involves the Senate Majority Leader using his privilege of being recognized first to offer amendment after amendment to block all other amendments to a bill.” Other Senators are effectively blocked from the amendment process.

    Darling warns that “over the past few years, the Senate has changed from a body with all 100 Senators participating to a body that is tightly controlled by the Senate Majority Leader. This development is disturbing because it has restricted the rights of Senators—Democrats, Republicans, and independents—to participate fully in the deliberative process.”

    He recommends that Senators either adopt a point of order that would prevent Reid from “filling the tree” or that Reid simply agree to stop doing so. Either way, Darling writes, the Senate needs to change course if it is to fulfill the Founders’ intentions and remain a forum for vigorous debate.

    Posted in Featured, First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    19 Responses to Reid Is Bouncing an Important Check

    1. What is he afraid of?

    2. steve h says:

      No complaints about all the closed rules in the House? What about an open amendment process there? Or you only care about what Democrats do?

      • Freddie says:

        Hey idiot I live in Nevada and Harry Reid is about the most vile waste of skin on a human. As far as the House you obviously have no clue about how the lower house works. Typical Useful Idiot!

      • Kahr50 says:

        Do you have one scantilla of evidence to support this statement or are you just making things up as a Liberal Troll would? Did not – Did too – Did not – Did too…

        Our Congress has propsoed several pieces of Legislation – and passed them , including a few common sense budgets that Reid will not even allow votes on.

        Lets clean the Senate before we start worrying about a congress we mixxed up in 2010 who are actaully doing what we asked – and are being blocked by the Democratic controlled Senate.

      • John Detwiler says:

        We all should, even you, steve h. In November when the Republicans take back the Senate, that clown will be put back on the sidelines where he belongs. And any amendment or bill he proposes should be totally ignored.

        • BHUDDA says:

          You have no solution ,you are just anti Reid .If the republicans take the senate i would hope they would listen to ALL sugestions and bills with amendments with an open mind .The problem with Harry is Harry has an elevated ego and is determinded that his is the best wayor you can hit the hiway . The house is partison but they work together alot better than the senate .Both need to group and work together ,each is entitled to an opinion not just one party or as Reid's case one man.

    3. Robert Carousel says:

      This article and the one on Tyranny in the US Senate where Reid has used the Amendment process 58 times with the nearest other Senate leader at 10 illustrates what is happening in the Senate. Some of the best analyses, articles, action plans and rebuttals come from The Heritage Foundation. The only problem that I have is none of this is seen by the American public other than Heritage members and perhaps conservative talk show hosts. This seems to be a problem for the Republican party as well.

      For example, this Buffet rule. Point out that the 2012 Obam proposed budget is 3.79 trillion dollars which amounts to 8 billion a day spending. And according to the IRS there are only 8,000 people out of 315 million people making 10 million a year or more. Tax these people at 1 million more dollars and you end up with enough money to run the government for one day.

    4. Bobbie says:

      how about holding the democratic party to the rule of law like they expect republicans (whom do) hold?

    5. Lloyd Scallan says:

      "There you go again"! Does Mr. Tucker honestly believe Reid is doing this without permission or direct instruction from the Obama White House? HF, as well as many other conservative blogs, continue to forget or ignore the fact that someone else is pulling the strings. Knowing what we know of the tactic this Obama bunch of control freaks uses to rule, does anyone think that the likes of Reid, Pelosi, Schumer and the rest are acting on their own nickel?

    6. Karen August says:

      Nevada's problem IS Harry Reed!!! He needs to go back to Searchlight and retire, NOW!!! Karen August, Pahrump, Nv.

    7. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Yes, he is. It's called a reality check.

    8. No matter what Obama allows Reid to do, what about We the People doing something about it? Has anyone here heard about the RECALL PROCESS? I live in NV too, and I know that Reid stole the election by bussing all the illegals and Dims that work in casinos in Las Vegas and Reno to the Voting stations to vote for him in consideration for all the pork he is sending to them. That is only one of the illegal ways–he also owns most of the politicians in NV, even though most of the voters hate him! Signs saying "Anyone BUT REID" covered the rural areas, but LV and Reno casinos are owned by Reid! Let's get off our A**** and find a reputable Senator (must be a Constituent) to start a Recall Movement!!!

    9. Glen says:

      It's time to hold the Senate up to the law, which means they are required to come up with a budget. If they must, elect a new leader to the Senate and replace Reid.

    10. Colonialgirl says:

      The problem is when they made the Seante elected by a direct vote instead of being appointed by the various state governments. As a result the Senators pander for votes just like the House members and they pay off big time to those that contribute to their campaigns.
      Ban lawyers from ANY House of Congress.

    11. June Nelson says:

      All the people had to do in 2010 was to vote Reid out of office! In discussions and debates, liberals seldom attempt to explain themselves or to offer more viable ideas. To liberals who are blindly invested in their own intellectual and moral superiority, explanations are not necessary. To them, the viability of leftist opinions should be self-evident, a convenient defense for those who cannot justify their opinions on the basis of logic, reason, or facts.

    12. Stirling says:

      Reid's Stonewalling is becoming obvious to many, and will ultimately be his downfall once the elections turn his party into the minority. Once the bottleneck in removed it will show just how little he has actually done in comparision to whoever will replace him.

      His actions ultimately will cost the democrats in future election since people will think twice before voting in democratic leaders (Like Reid) who "Do Nothing" but play politics and disreguard the will of the people.

    13. footsie says:

      Colonialgirl: You're right….so how about repealing the 17th Amendment?? That's where this nonsense started.

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