The Senate Nuclear Option and Immigration

By Dan Cadman on March 29, 2019

The Washington Times reports that the GOP majority has had more than a enough of obstruction by Democrats impeding the constitutional advice-and-consent requirement for Senate approval of Trump administration appointees. As a result, they are going to use the so-called "nuclear option" to change Senate rules governing filibuster and cloture, which have the practical effect of requiring a 60-vote majority to get anything done.

It's about time. They had already discovered the need to exercise this nuclear option to change the rules governing Supreme Court appointments. If they hadn't, you can bet all the money in your pocket — and probably in your bank account and your inheritance too — that neither Neil Gorsuch nor Brett Kavanaugh would be sitting on the bench right now.

So, if they realized it was not only useful but necessary to seat Supreme Court justices, and have now belatedly realized it's necessary to get to the many other appointments, judicial or otherwise, why didn't they realize that about legislation generally when Republicans held the majority in both chambers of Congress?

If they had eliminated those arcane and anti-democratic rules to allow a simple majority vote to prevail in the Senate, a number of absolutely excellent immigration measures, such as the Davis-Oliver Act (see here and here) — not to mention critically needed amendments to the asylum, credible fear, and "unaccompanied minor" laws — already would have passed into law (see here and here).

And if they'd had the foresight to do so then, they could have averted the border crisis that led to President Trump's emergency declaration, and to the reinstituted catch-and-release policies that have led thousands of aliens to be dumped on the doorsteps of various American cities because they've overwhelmed the collective capacities of the Border Patrol, ICE, and even the immigration courts.

How ironic, because it's too late now. The House majority was lost during the midterms.

If the GOP were to regain it, would the scales drop from their eyes, or would they still be blinded by myopic yearning for the old ways of doing business that have no relation to the real world? Hard to say. It's almost as if they are the party that loves to lose.

Dear President Trump: If you're listening, what about that "are you tired of winning yet" mantra? Want to really change the status quo and actually gain a few legislative victories, if not now, then perhaps in your second term? Do you even want a second term? And do you want a legacy of accomplishments instead of failed promises to be the hallmark of your administration? If so, it's time to take the Senate's old guard to the woodshed.

Topics: Politics