Mitch McConnell and Elizabeth Warren: the Filibuster

McConnell (left) and Warren (right).
Photo: Slate Magazine

If you follow the news or tune in on your local radio station, you probably have heard the word “filibuster” thrown around recently, especially for the past two months. Most simplistically, the filibuster is described as by Google, “An action such as a prolonged speech that obstructs progress in a legislative assembly while not technically contravening the required procedures.” Currently, it is often used as a way to block a vote on a bill. A ratio of 60:40 must be needed in order to advance said bill.

Recently, there has been a great debate regarding the passing ratio which is based on the even larger argument on the existence of universal back-ground check– something that is believed to be best for the safety of America. Two important people have rose as the figureheads for this flaming subject: Senator and Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, and Senator Mitch McConnell.

Sen. Warren (D) strongly supports the idea of a universal background check. She voiced her reasoning during the Democratic debate on Thursday night, the 12th, by stating that we have a, “…Congress that is beholden to the gun industry… And unless we’re willing to address that head-on and roll back the filibuster, we’re not going to get anything done on guns.” She is supported by mostly Democrats. Even though Democrats had the majority at 54 votes, they were still six short of getting the bill passed. As a result of this failure, they believe that the ratio should be pushed down to 51:49 to be able to move quickly from not only the bill on universal background checks, but also different bills.

The opposing side, represented by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and composed of mostly Republicans, argues against this as it would be compromising towards both tradition and the rights of the minority. This side believes that to simply reduce the ratio down to winning just the majority would destroy the very foundation America stood upon: the foundation in which no majority could take advantage of the minority. McConnell writes in his article published in the New York Times, “If future Democrats shortsightedly decide to reduce the Senate to majority rule, we’ll have lost a key safeguard of American government.”

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