Filibuster, Presidential Executive Orders, and Signing Statements Have All Got to Go

Simply stated, three things add aggravation, discord, and drama where it isn’t needed at the Federal level of government. None of these three things are in the U.S. Constitution, therefore, they must go.

The filibuster allows the minority party in the Senate to essentially hold up the business of the Senate. It has been used by both parties, but it does skew towards Republicans in terms of its usage. It has gotten to the point, in most cases, just the threat of a filibuster can stop legislation and debate in its tracks. This is ridiculous.

We are a nation in which majority rules for passing bills, which the president can then sign or veto, and later, if there is a dispute over the now law, the courts may rule whether it is constitutional or not. This is how it is supposed to work in our Democratic Republic. One person should not be able to hold up a bill with just a threat of a filibuster.

All bills should come to the floor of the Senate for consideration. If a Senator doesn’t like the bill, they have the right to vote no. But, the bill should come to the floor regardless for honest debate. Once debate is over, it should be voted upon, with Senators making their decision, then having to live and answer for their decision to their constituents and the press. We’d get a lot more things done as a country if we went back to how the Founders meant the Senate to operate.

Once the bill is passed by both chambers of Congress, the President should have the option of just the four choices outlined in the Constitution: Sign it, veto it, pocket veto, or let it pass by default. The President should not be able to issue a signing statement saying since they don’t agree with something in the bill, they will sign it because it is mostly good, but won’t enforce this part of the bill. They should only be able to use one of the four constitutional choices.

A signing statement is an end run around the intent of the proposed law, which the President doesn’t constitutionally have the right to do. The President should have to honor and uphold all of the new law that has been signed. A President’s check on Congressional power are the four choices above. Nothing more, nothing less.

Which brings me to Executive Orders, another thing that is not mentioned in the Constitution as a tool for a President to use. This again is an end run around Congress, a usurping of their constitutional power, and essentially makes a President a dictator if issuing Executive Orders at a rapid pace just because Congress is not acting within an arbitrary Presidential timeline or in a manner in which a President doesn’t agree.

In the end, an Executive Order can create more chaos than it does good. For example, President Obama did the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) as an Executive Order. A good deed, but done extra-Congressionally. Since an Executive Order is not a law, the next President can begin to undo all of their predecessors Executive Orders, such as what the current administration did to DACA (and many other Obama Executive Orders), thus causing untold and immeasurable harm to those originally protected by DACA. That meant about a million people were left in limbo while the lawsuit against this action wound its way through the courts. Had Obama called a special session of Congress to address the issue of immigration, and had Congress actually done its job of creating and negotiating a bill, rather than the hyper partisanship we are seeing since basically Reagan, this limbo would not have occurred.

Executive Orders give Congress an out from doing its job, and also grants a President ever increasing powers due to the Congress abdicating its powers to a President.

All presidents want more power, as do all members of Congress, along with those on the Supreme Court. However, in a true working Republic, each person in each of these seats of power would take their duties and responsibilities seriously to help the American public, AND to keep one another in check. Had the people in these positions of power all been doing their sworn Oaths of Office, as well as the American people by doing their civic duty and voting at levels above 90%, for the past four years, let alone the past 40 years, we might not be in the current mess in which we find our nation.

So please, make sure you are registered to vote, that you continually confirm you are still on the active voter rolls up until Election Day, and get out in massive levels to vote in October if doing absentee/mail-in voting, or in-person in November to show all elected officials who actually has the power, because it is us, not them, through our constitutional right to vote.

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