EP 443 The U.S. Senate Where Legislation Goes to Die

While the title to this episode is not original, it does state something that has become more real year in and year out.  The U.S. Senate’s deliberative nature has become sclerotic and impediments to popular legislation never see the light of day.  Senator Mitch McConnell, a master of Senate rules, in the Trump years recognized that it would be easier to get judicial appointments through the process than legislation, because the filibuster was not standing in the way for appointments to the lower federal courts.  McConnell then expanded former Democratic Senator Harry Reid’s removal of the filibuster from judicial appintments to include the U.S. Supreme Court. It was his master stroke and a large part of President Trump’s legacy. Adam Jentleson, a former deputy chief of staff to Sen. Reid and author of ‘Killswitch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy’ opines in his book that the end of the filibuster, barely a Senate rule, more a procedure, will be critical to passing major legislation once again.  His book meticulously details the history of the filibuster, which started as a tool of Southern senators upholding slavery and then later became a device to block civil rights legislation.  Today, it makes legislating near impossible.  Find out how and why.