- - Monday, March 29, 2021

‘That was then. This is now.”

There’s no other plausible explanation for President Biden’s and Senate Democrats’ shameless, hypocritical and self-serving about-face on the filibuster.

Mr. Biden and his Senate allies are chomping at the bit to abolish the filibuster so they can ram their radical, far-left agenda (the For the People Act takeover of elections, the Equality Act, the Green New Deal, open borders, et al.) into law on party-line votes in a Senate evenly divided between the two parties, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties in their favor.

So much for their supposed devotion to the filibuster as necessary to protect the rights of the minority party in the upper chamber.

The right to extended debate in the legislative process, now-Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer averred in 2005 (when the Republicans controlled Congress and the White House), was sacrosanct. Senate rules, he said, “written into the Constitution talk about the Senate as a preserve of the minority. The Founding Fathers called it the cooling saucer.”



That same year, then-Sen. Biden — who had participated in many filibusters during his prior 32 years in the Senate — delivered a 5,000-word stem-winder on the Senate floor in defense of the long-standing practice.

The Senate, he said, “ought not act rashly by changing its rules to satisfy a strong-willed majority acting in the heat of the moment.”

Both were right, of course, but Mr. Biden and his fellow Democrats apparently have had an epiphany and now view the filibuster as anathema.

Senate Republicans rightly resisted the temptation to abolish filibusters, despite Democrats using them repeatedly to thwart then-President George W. Bush’s agenda. Knowing full well they would someday be back in the minority, Senate Republicans wisely declined to kill the filibuster when urged to do so in 2017 by another GOP president, Donald Trump, whose agenda Senate Democrats were again stymieing.

Four years ago next week, on April 7, 2017, some 61 senators — 31 of them Democrats — co-signed a bipartisan letter to Mr. Schumer and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, pledging their allegiance to the filibuster and urging its retention.

“[W]e are steadfastly committed to ensuring this great American institution continues to serve as the world’s greatest deliberative body,” the letter said.

Nothing has changed in the four years since, except the party in control of Congress and the White House — and the legislative agenda being blocked.

Lest they be exposed as rank hypocrites for whom the end justifies the means, the Democratic senators who signed the 2017 letter need to step up and reaffirm that the filibuster, and the rights of the Senate minority, must be preserved.

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