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Save the Senate, put away your chainsaw

Enzi statement on importance of filibuster

December 10, 2012

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., issued the following statement on the importance of the filibuster.

The frustration that the majority in the Senate feels at having a hard time getting its agenda passed is probably less than the frustration that the minority feels in being prevented from having any of its members’ ideas considered in committees or on the Senate floor. The Senate was designed so that a majority couldn’t run roughshod over a minority. It was designed to ensure that each senator could represent the views of his or her constituents. The filibuster is one the tools we use. That isn’t convenient for the powers that be, but without such a check on power bad things happen.

When the Senate is operating as intended with members working together in committees to iron out legislation and then offering amendments on the Senate floor, it’s a thing of beauty, like a work of fine art. But some in the majority want to take a chainsaw to it.

Some, (I hope not most) in the majority want to weaken this check on power and change the rules. They want to go against what this institution stands for in order to make some senators weaker. I hope they would realize that if they make some senators weaker, they weaken the institution itself. Even if they believe a change to the filibuster is the right thing to do, I hope that my colleagues will see that doing it unilaterally is the wrong way to do it. If you want to change the filibuster rules, then at least follow the rules that have been used by those before us.