Thursday, August 04, 2016

Here's why Congress is dysfunctional

FlyersRights is an organization that works to improve the conditions of flying for passengers rather than the airlines. They have been able to improve a lot, but a lot more work needs to be done, so visit their website if you want to find out more.

Anyway, I get their newsletter and this was at the top of a recent one. I thought I would share:

Dysfunctional Relationship
The Reason for Congressional dysfunction
July 26, 2016

To put it briefly, it's minority rule.  
In the House, under the Hastert Rule -named for a disgraced  former Speaker - legislation cannot be voted on unless a majority of the majority approve.
So, as little as 26% can block votes. In the Senate, as explained to me by former Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole, unanimous consent is required for most votes. Any one senator can place an indefinite and anonymous hold on legislation and the mere threat of a filibuster normally stops the Senate cold. 
These congressional rules used by both parties thwart majority rule and popular will in a way never imagined by the Founding Fathers and not supported by anything in the Constitution. 
They enable partisan factions, or even a single member of Congress, to block legislation and even shut down the government. When approval of a governing legislature sinks to single digits in other countries it often leads to revolution or a coup.  
Short of that, or a state-called constitutional convention, both parties and both presidential candidates should make restoration of majority rule in Congress a cornerstone of reform for 2017.   
Otherwise it will be SOS going forward, as practical, popular and needed legislation is continually smashed, needed compromises cannot happen and American government will continue as by and for entrenched special interests.  
Paul HudsonPresident, FlyersRights.orgSarasota, Florida

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