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"I'm not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold. With the history of the Senate, we have to understand the Senate isn't and shouldn't be like the House."

Senator Harry Reid as quoted by Ezra Klein

Why not?

Senator Reid never explains exactly what would be the great harm in having a Senate that is like the House. I fail to see the danger that would come to the Republic by having the Senate behave like a normal legislature and function with relative efficiency.

The Senate certainly wasn't initially like the House. In the beginning of the Republic, Senators were elected by state legislatures, not by the people. But over time, people came to think that, in fact, the Senate should be more like the House. As in accountable to the people. Today's Senate today certainly isn't like the House. The House, no matter whom is in control of it, gets things done. The House legislates by majority vote the way a legislative body is supposed to, more or less. I suppose Senator Reid doesn't think this is a healthy objective of democratic government because the only way you get it is with simple majority rule.

The worst thing about Senator Reid's statement here is how cavalierly he abondons the idea of majority rule. Now, he has effectively declared that anything that does not have 60 votes isn't fit to pass. It isn't unconstitutional to do this for the constitution doesn't explicitly require majority votes to pass law. However, this is a terrible, terrible way to think about democracy. There is no body of government in the world that can function effectively if even the most routine matters require a super-majority. We aren't talking amending the constitution or ratifying a treaty. We are talking budgets. Or who will be commissioner or railroads. Or what is the official name of your local post office. Mitch McConnell would be well within his right to demand 60 votes for everything. Why? Leader Reid says so.

No democracy can function with routine supermajorities. Wide consensus isn't possible in this or any political climate. Not for very long at least. Instead, there will be breakdown and dysfunction. That is the alternative to majority rule. One must wonder what will become of the Vice President in his role as Senate tiebreaker since, at least under Reid's leadership, there wont be any ties to break.

Senator Reid has declared that his title is insufficient. Super-Majority Leader is what he needs, or else don't expect much. Of course, when he did have that title, he still didn't get a great deal done. Let us hope, for the sake of this republic, that a future Senate leader dismisses rule by super majority once and for all.

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