Jan 30 2015
After four years of almost total dysfunction under former Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Senate is finally getting back to the people’s work under its new leadership.
In a single week, the Senate voted on more amendments, from both parties, than the Democrat-controlled chamber voted on all of last year. This may not have lowered taxes, or cut spending, or repealed Obamacare – but it still matters. Why?
Because democracy matters, and voting is one of the most important ways members of Congress represent their constituents in Washington. It’s also one of the best ways for constituents to see where their representatives stand on the issues.
The American people may not have been driven to the voting booth specifically because the Upper Chamber had virtually abandoned “regular order,” but there’s no question the Senate’s inability to have full and open debate contributed to the public’s frustration with Congress.
In this sense, restoring an open amendment process to the Senate, based on robust debate, is critical to rebuilding trust between the American people and their elected representatives in Washington. For too long, this essential link between Congress and the people has been neglected. Republicans can repair it by throwing open the doors of Congress and restoring genuine representative democracy to the American republic.
No more “cliff” crises or secret negotiations. No more take-it-or-leave-it deadline deals. No more passing bills without reading them. No more procedural manipulation to block debate and compromise. These are the abuses that have created today’s status quo—the status quo Republicans have been hired to correct.
I would argue that rebuilding trust with the American people is required before we can enact the big reforms of our conservative agenda.
So at the beginning of the new Congress, this is our challenge: to once again get Washington working for the American people.