This was an historic and unfortunate week for the United States Senate. The President and Harry Reid’s decision to use the ‘nuclear option’ to change the longstanding rules of the Senate was a blatant attempt to change the debate about the Democrats’ health care plan as the consequences of this disastrous law are felt around the country. The American people know what they get when the minority party is stripped of its filibuster rights: they get unchecked power by the Executive Branch. The President and Harry Reid might not like the fact that the Framers intentionally designed the Senate to be a deliberative body, but this check on a tyrannical majority has worked well for our nation for over 200 years. If sweeping legislation and lifetime appointments cannot muster 60 votes in the United States Senate, then it probably is not a good idea to force either on the American people.
Just this week, we’ve seen what can happen when the minority and the majority work together. On Monday, the Senate passed the Drug Quality and Security Act, culminating a two and half year effort led by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and myself to bring both Republicans and Democrats together to work with stakeholders to determine how we can create a system that will restore confidence in the safety and security of our supply chain. Our bipartisan bill will provide the tools to appropriately respond to crises like the meningitis outbreak last year and give Americans the peace of mind to know that the medicines they take are safe and effective.
This bill is a model of what can be accomplished through hard work and pragmatism in Congress. The bipartisan effort earned the support of consumer groups, business groups, and many others.
In direct contrast, the actions taken by the Democrats will pave the way for more unpopular laws like Obamacare and will do lasting damage to bipartisanship, the Senate, and the nation.