The Problems Go Deeper Then Senate Obstructionism

One thing bloggers ‘get right’ is the role of the United States Senate. While the mainstream media yammers on about vague political practicality, the netroots knows the Senate is where the action takes place. Additionally there is a wide netroots understanding that the 60 vote requirement is actually a new requirement, since only recently did it become acceptable to dedicate a political party to unconditional obstructionism.

However, it’s worth mentioning there are limits to this line of thought. Sam Hummel at Grist:

I’ve often wondered why Obama doesn’t just come to the podium and point that out: “Hey everybody, I’d just like to say that the Executive Branch and the House of Representatives are ready to act but we can’t do anything as long as you let your Senators filibuster and block every meaningful climate bill proposed.”

But it’s more complicated then that. The difficulty of the Senate makes it easier for the House and White House to take bold positions. Obama has all sorts of positions he’ll never have to worry about implementing thanks to Congress. The opposition to ACES was loud and well funded but if it had been the final hurdle to implementation the process would have been harder.

The biggest complication is that there are ways around the filibuster and nobody seems at all interested in pursuing them. Sure there difficulties, but either a carbon tax or an auction based carbon allocation scheme could move through the budget reconciliation process.

It’s perfectly accurate to say the Senate is the biggest obstruction point, but the problems go deeper then the historical anachronism that is the US Senate rules.


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