By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
It’s not unusual for members of one house of Congress to comment on the actions of the other, Save Jerseyans, but it’s not every single day that the commentary is procedural. Strange times!
Enter our friend Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) who wrote both U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the de facto Senator Leader Harry Reid this week, urging them to bypass the upper chamber’s filibuster rules and schedule a vote for the Obama Iran “deal” that guarantees a nuclear-capable Iran in the coming years.
“Senator McConnell should use his constitutional authority to end the filibuster and allow the Senate to operate by a simple majority vote. The American people deserve to have the Iran nuclear agreement debated and voted on,” explained Lance, who is also a co-chair of the Republican Israel Caucus, in a statement obtained by Save Jersey. “The Senate minority, led by Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, has obstructed any debate from preceding on the Iran deal in order to spare the President any political embarrassment from its likely defeat. This tactic is preventing meaningful debate that the people of the United States expect from their elected representatives – especially on one of the most consequential matters considered in years. Last week, the House of Representatives spent hours debating numerous resolutions concerning the deal, and the House voted overwhelming against the President’s proposal. The American people deserve to also know where their U.S. Senators stand.”
“The House debated and voted down the deal. The Senate should meet its constitutional obligation and do the same,” Lance continued. And he’s not alone, as a steady stream of House members have urged their Senate colleagues to move ahead with a vote.
Democrats didn’t always honor the filibuster tradition, using the so-called “nuclear option” to get Obama federal court nominees through the U.S. Senate with a simple majority vote. McConnell is nevertheless reportedly reluctant to change the rules for a resolution that is likely to draw a presidential veto anyway, opting instead to try to break the filibuster with amendments. Some worry a rule change will embolden Democrats to more regularly exercise the nuclear option the next time they’re in charge (the upcoming Senate cycle is expected to be an electorally difficult one for the GOP). A better argument is that turning the Senate, designed by the framers as a “cooling saucer,” into a body where the majority always rules represents a perversion of its original constitutional purpose in our check-and-balances system.
But does preventing Iran from going nuclear still justify the nuclear option’s revival? “We respectfully urge the Senate to modify its rules to a majority vote threshold of 51 senators to approve some legislation,” the Congressman’s letter reads, disagreeing with the veto logic. “Some pieces of legislation, like the Iran nuclear deal, are simply so consequential that they demand revisions to the Senate’s procedures.”