Nuclear Option Destroys the Senate

During the contentious Cold War era, the United States and the former Soviet Union operated on a theory of Mutually Assured Destruction. The Soviets were deterred from launching a first strike against the U.S., the thinking went, because they knew that the response would be immediate and devastating. We are facing a similar situation today in the United States Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) is threatening to launch a first strike against the core of the Senate’s standing rules – the filibuster.

If Reid fires that first shot, I promise to respond with my own rules change ideas that will expand the rights of all Senators to participate in the legislative process.

The Senate has long been a body that respects the rights of each individual Senator by allowing them to participate fully in extended debate and a free amendment process, regardless of whether they were in the majority or the minority.

Over the past few years, Senator Reid has used his power as Majority Leader to suffocate those two important traditions. He has routinely taken actions to prevent rank-and-file members of the Senate from offering amendments to legislation; now, he is promising to attack the right of Senators to engage in extended debate by pushing a version of so-called “filibuster reform.”

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