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Conservative Leaders: New York Times Wrong On Filibuster

In an op-ed authored by Ross Douthat the New York Times suggested changing the filibuster threshold from 60 votes to 55 votes. As the letter pointed out - The filibuster gives

individual senators, and the causes that lack support of the majority, a voice they otherwise wouldn’t have. Because overcoming a filibuster requires a large consensus, causes cannot simply be steamrolled.

The concerns of individual senators, or groups of senators, must be given both credence and credibility. Voices and causes that would otherwise be ignored in a majoritarian body like the House receive consideration in the Senate – but only because the filibuster, or threat thereof, makes them matter.

The filibuster, in other words, amplifies otherwise voiceless causes and makes certain that they are taken seriously. From our perspective here at CHQ the principled limited government constitutional conservatives of the Conservative Action Project could have gone a step further and pointed out that the push to end the filibuster is just another example of Democrats demanding that the rules be changed when they don't get their way.


The text of the letter follows:


June 18, 2021


To the Editor:

Re “How Joe Manchin Can Fix The Filibuster,” by Ross Douthat

(Opinion essay, June 12):

We write today to express our profound disagreement with a recent argument by opinion columnist Ross Douthat that the Senate should reduce its voting threshold for the legislative filibuster from 60 to 55.

Douthat’s argument fundamentally misunderstands the role of the filibuster and the nature of the Senate. While the filibuster is frequently cast as a purely obstructive measure, it is inherently one designed to compel consensus and the inclusion of minority voices.

Ending a filibuster – that is, getting to 60 votes in the Senate – requires consensus. It forces the parties to work together, to engage in negotiation, and to perform the give-and-take of legislating. This deliberation is what distinguishes the Senate from the House, where the majority has the full authority to crush the minority, and frequently does.

As Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has correctly pointed out, “The U.S. Senate is the most deliberative body in the world. It was made so that we work together in a bipartisan way. If you get rid of the filibuster, there’s no reason to have a Senate.”

The filibuster gives individual senators, and the causes that lack support of the majority, a voice they otherwise wouldn’t have. Because overcoming a filibuster requires a large consensus, causes cannot simply be steamrolled.

The concerns of individual senators, or groups of senators, must be given both credence and credibility. Voices and causes that would otherwise be ignored in a majoritarian body like the House receive consideration in the Senate – but only because the filibuster, or threat thereof, makes them matter.

The filibuster, in other words, amplifies otherwise voiceless causes and makes certain that they are taken seriously. For conservatives, as well as the far left of the Democratic Party, who are generally always in the minority even when their party is in the majority, the filibuster is a powerful tool.

Douthat suggests that reducing the threshold for the filibuster could “work against polarization and toward consensus” and offer opportunities “to actually govern once again.” The opposite would in fact occur.

Absent the filibuster, polarization will only increase. The filibuster exists to ensure minority voices are heard. Without it, the voices don’t magically disappear, they just turn toward other opportunities for leverage. The process of unanimous consent, which greases the wheels of the Senate’s day-to-day function, will disappear. As has happened in the absence of the judicial and nominations filibuster, cloture votes will be required for every single debatable measure the Senate wants to pass, turning a weeks-long process into one of months. Rather than free the Senate, a filibuster-less Senate will become even more degraded.

We echo Douthat’s concern that the modern Senate is often trapped in the gridlock of partisan politics. But allowing more participants in the process, rather than fewer, is the way to solve that problem. Senate leaders of both parties should allow for robust consideration of amendments and procedural maneuvers designed to bring the concerns of American voters to the floor of the Senate. This is what our politics are for: to litigate, consider, deliberate, and ultimately, to vote, on matters of consequence.

In the Senates of years past, leaders that have allowed for robust debate and ample consideration of amendments have found themselves facing far fewer filibusters. Senators, just like the rest of us, respond favorably – and far less obstructively – when their voices are heard and considered in the legislative process.

For this reason, we hear Mr. Douthat’s opinion, and respectfully dissent.


The Honorable Edwin Meese III

Attorney General

President Ronald Reagan (1985-1988)


Alfred S. Regnery

Chairman, Conservative Action Project

President, Republic Book Publishers

Kelly J. Shackelford, Esq.

Chairman, CNP Action, Inc.

President and CEO, First Liberty Institute

The Honorable Becky Norton Dunlop

White House Advisor

President Ronald Reagan (1981-1985)

Jenny Beth Martin

Chairman

Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund

Thomas E. McClusky

President

March for Life Action

L. Brent Bozell, III

Founder and President

Media Research Center

The Honorable David McIntosh

President

Club for Growth

Mary Vought

Executive Director

Senate Conservatives Fund

William L. Walton

President

Council for National Policy

The Honorable T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr.

Chief Domestic Advisor

President Ronald Reagan (1987-1988)

David Bozell

President

ForAmerica

The Honorable Jim DeMint

Chairman, Conservative Partnership Institute

Member, US Senate (SC 2005-2013)

The Honorable Tony Perkins

President

Family Research Council

Ed Corrigan

Vice Chairman, Conservative Action Project and President & CEO, Conservative Partnership Institute

Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin (Ret.)

Executive Vice President

Family Research Council

David N. Bossie

President

Citizens United

J. Christian Adams

President

Public Interest Legal Foundation

The Honorable Gary L. Bauer

President

American Values

Heather R. Higgins

CEO

Independent Women's Voice

Lewis K. Uhler

Founder and President

National Tax Limitation Committee

The Honorable Stephen Stockman

U.S. House of Representatives

Former Member, Texas

Kielle C. Horton

President

The Lindsey Foundation

Seton Motley

President

Less Government

Eunie Smith

President Emeritus

Eagle Forum

Martha Boneta

President

Vote America First

Dr. E. Calvin Beisner

Founder, President, and National Spokesman, Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation

C. Preston Noell III

President

Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

James L. Martin

Founder/Chairman

60 Plus Association

The Honorable Peter J. Thomas

Chairman

The Conservative Caucus

Elaine Donnelly

President

Center for Military Readiness

Joan Holt Lindsey

President

Lindsey Communications

Floyd Brown

Founder

The Western Journal

Judson Phillips

Founder

Tea Party Nation

Robert K. Fischer

Meeting Coordinator

Conservatives of Faith

Ron Pearson

Executive Director

Conservative Victory Fund

William W. Pascoe, III

Our Man in Washington

Tea Party Patriots Action


Cleta Mitchell, Esq.

The Honorable Morton C. Blackwell

President

The Leadership Institute

Kevin Roberts, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Texas Public Policy Foundation

Scott T. Parkinson

VP for Government Affairs

Club for Growth

Terry Schilling

Executive Director

American Principles Project

The Honorable Brooke Rollins

President and CEO

America First Policy Institute (AFPI)

The Honorable Donald Paul Hodel

U.S. Secretary of Energy (1982-1985)

U.S. Secretary of Interior (1985-1989)

Tom Jones

Co-Founder

American Accountability Foundation

Wesley Denton

Chief Operating Officer

Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI)


The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell

Chairman

Constitutional Congress, Inc.

Rachel A. Bovard

Senior Director of Policy

Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI)


The Honorable Bob McEwen

U.S. House of Representatives

Former Member, Ohio

Ralph A. Rebandt II

Michigan Gubernatorial Candidate

Ralph Rebandt for Governor

Jon Schweppe

Director of Policy and Government Affairs, American Principles Project

Carrie Lukas

President

Independent Women's Forum

Jennifer C. Braceras

Director

Independent Women's Law Center

Ralph Benko

Chairman

The Capitalist League

Chad Connelly

President

Faith Wins

Kevin Freeman

Founder

NSIC Institute

Lee Beaman

CEO

Beaman Ventures

Andresen Blom

President

Hawaiian Values

Jack Park

Conservative Activist and Donor

Law Offices of Jack Park

Dr. Teryn Clarke

Neurologist

Clarke Neurology


Peggy Dau

Representative

IranAliveMinistries

Saulius “Saul” Anuzis

President

60 Plus Association

Mario Navarro da Costa

Director, Washington Bureau

Tradition, Family, Property

Gary Marx

President

Madison Strategies

Penna Dexter

Co-host

Point of View Radio

The Honorable Mike Hill

Former Member

Florida State House

E.W. Jackson Sr

President

STAND Foundation, Inc.

Dr. Richard Rounsavelle

Trustee

MRC

Melvin Adams

President

Noah Webster Educational Foundation


  • filibuster

  • senate

  • New York Times

  • Ross Douthat

  • 55 vote threshold

  • 60 to 55 votes

  • Sen. Joe Manchin

  • consensus

  • polarization

  • cloture

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