Democratic members attacked Senate MP Elizabeth MacDonough this week after she (correctly) ruled that including the $ 15 minimum wage hike in a reconciliation bill was against Senate rules. The response from Democratic members and many in the blogosphere has been waning. Rep. Ilhan Omar called for MacDonough’s dismissal and others denounced their actions, calling on the Senate to simply override them – and the long-standing rules. It is not only the effort to eviscerate or reverse the “Byrd Rule” but also vicious attacks on this MP that are so worrying.
Using a law of reconciliation was an attempt to bypass the filibuster and allow a majority vote on the migration. However, by using reconciliation, the Democrats set off the “Byrd Rule,” which limits the nature of the provisions in the reconciliation process to taxes and expenses. The aim is to limit add-ons by voting to measures that are intended to have a direct impact on the federal budget – with the exception of the use of voting to introduce “third-party” measures. Otherwise, reconciliations could bypass the normal legislative process and filibuster option for the minority. The rule allows a senator to object if a voting bill of rules of procedure is brought down on the bill. After the Byrd rule has been raised, the Senate MP informs the Chairman of the rule and the Presidential Office notifies the Senate accordingly. Senators can then vote to override the chairman, but the process protects the minority and the MP by requiring that a vote to override a three-fifths majority.
The role of the parliamentarian is key to a system of orderly legislative process. Simply disregarding such rules (and firing those who choose to obey) is another example of the anger that reason has replaced in our current politics. Byrd was famous for putting forward the interests of the Senate and the Constitution of his own party. These efforts show that such institutional defenders have become increasingly rare in this age of anger.
MEP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was one of the first to resist rules that stood in the way of reform: “I think the parliamentarian is about to intervene in this legislative process in a really very worrying way.” I’m not sure what that actually means. The parliamentary rules define the legislative process and guarantee a neutral and orderly advisory and enactment process.
However, she was joined by others who rejected the idea that such rules should matter. MP Ro Khanna said, “I’m sorry – an unelected MP cannot withhold the raise from 32 million Americans they deserve.” MP Pramila Jayapal said, “27 million Americans will not be very confident if we go back in two years and say,” Sorry, the unelected MP told us we couldn’t raise the minimum wage. “
It was a grossly unfair statement that created the impression that MacDonough is against Americans who get deserved wages. Your job is to decide on the procedural means to bring the matter to the ground. Statements like those by Khanna and Jayapall inspire those who attacked MacDonough online and ruined their reputation.
Omar was one of the first to take action against MacDonough: “Replace the MP. What is a democratic majority if we cannot pass our priority calculations? It’s unacceptable. “It was a telling statement. Omar would fire this woman for standing in the way of Omar and others finding their way. That’s the point of parliamentary rules. You don’t just have the right to do that, what you want, how you want.
However, in publications like Slate, “Democrats could also fire MacDonough and replace her with someone a little more fluid on all of these protracted” rule “problems.”
In his honor, the Biden White House has rejected Vice President Kamala Harris’s request to override the MP. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain told MSNBC, “We certainly wouldn’t do that. We will obey the rules of the Senate and work within that system to get this law passed. “
Senator Bernie Sanders insisted the increase would have an impact on the federal budget and therefore the MP is wrong. However, his rationale could be used to refute the Byrd Rule by claiming that any bill would have a positive long-term budget impact. All bills are defended on this basis. Sanders notes that the Congressional Budget Office found the $ 15 wage proposal would cost jobs but would also lift nearly a million people out of poverty. However, that finding has been inconsistent, and the point of the rule is the force with which such important measures run through the entire legislative process, including the filibuster rule. This is a massive increase with a huge impact on the economy. It is the type of measure that seeks to approach the legislative process through deliberation and compromise. The filibuster enforces such a compromise. In this case, even Democratic senators like Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona and Joe Manchin from West Virginia have objected to the hike. In the past, Democrats have recognized the value of this process. Hillary Clinton stated, “I learned some valuable lessons about the legislative process, the importance of bipartisan collaboration, and the wisdom of taking small steps to get a big job done.”
I will leave the merits of the hike to others. However, the attack on the parliamentarian, including the demand for her dismissal, is reprehensible. In a previous column, I wrote about Democrats adopting the rhetoric and tactics they denounced in former President Trump. It’s also a kind of myside bias where Democrats disregard any opposing boundaries or rules. (You are not alone with such prejudices. Many of us have criticized former Majority Leader Trent Lott replacing MP Robert Dove in 2001, a move that the Democrats denounced.)
It is not only the attacks on MacDonough that are so reprehensible, but also the failure of many Democratic Senators to condemn these calls for their dismissal and the abusive comments that are being made against them in the popular press. When parliamentarians are turned on by the anger of our politics, you know that we have completely broken away from our core values.