Senator John Cornyn (Texas)
We’ve just had a fiercely contested election, but now it is time for governing. Regardless of their political affiliation, most Americans believe federal lawmakers should work together to solve the challenges facing our country. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats are considering a power grab that would poison bipartisan relations in the next Congress. More specifically, they want to limit the filibuster by using a parliamentary tactic commonly known as the “nuclear option.”
Senators are beholden to their constituents. I am fortunate enough to represent 26 million Texans. Senators in the minority party, representing their constituents, have two fundamental rights: We can debate legislation, and we can amend legislation. Yet Senator Reid has repeatedly trampled those rights -- and the rights of the people we represent -- by shutting us out of the process. Therefore, the only way for Senate Republicans to ensure that our constituents’ voices are heard, is to insist on a full debate.
I also hope we can agree that the Senate was never intended to be a purely majoritarian institution. As my former Democratic colleague Senator Chris Dodd said in his farewell speech two years ago, “The Senate was designed to be different, not simply for the sake of variety, but because the framers believed the Senate could and should be the venue in which statesmen would lift America up to meet its unique challenges.”
If the Senate is transformed into an institution where the majority can simply impose its will on each and every issue, this chamber will become unrecognizable. I have an obligation to represent 26 million Texans and give them a voice here in Washington. But if the minority party loses all influence over the legislative process, then my constituents and millions of other Americans will lose their voice.