The 60 Vote Majority


If you’re one of those angry Democrats that doesn’t understand why the Senate needs a super majority (or 60 votes) when it should be allowed to pass legislation by a simple majority (or 51 votes) blame Tom Daschle. Now, I am not a Constitutional scholar, but I’d been led to believe that supermajorities (the 60 vote threshhold) were required when the Senate was proposing an amendment to the Constitution, removing a president from office, or ratifying treaties. Apparently Daschle cited a “controversial” measure in the Constitution. Never heard of it? No one has. Daschle wanted to stop the Bush administration from passing bills or appointing whomever they wanted to appoint…even though the Republicans had a majority in the Senate at the time. In an attempt to stop the Bush administration, and the Republicans in the Senate, stated that “controversial” measures required a supermajority for passage.
Was this illegal or in violation of the Constitution? Daschle didn’t really violate the Constitution, because there’s nothing in the Constitution that says that he couldn’t do what he did, but when asked if he believed in majorities Daschle said: “The majority should rule, but in controversial issues, the Founding Fathers have said that it ought to take a supermajority to pass. The Republicans understand that.” He then said: “The Founding Fathers in their wisdom chose to assure that there would be ample support for controversial measures before they pass. And I’ve said on many occasions we’re prepared to take up these issues, but a 60-vote majority is something that should be achieved in these cases, and I don’t fault that.”
The Founding Fathers did not say that, but it was good that Tom Daschle didn’t fault himself for thinking that.
What happened after that point is that it sort of became the standard for all votes to follow. The Democrats held true to the 60 vote majority requirement, and the Republicans turned it back on them when the Democrats regained the majority, until it became a standard. In the 110th Congress, Reid insisted on a 60 vote majority before bringing bills to the floor. Therefore those of you who are upset that a 60 vote majority is required to do anything in the Senate have the soft-spoken, partisans Tom Daschle and his buddy Harry Reid to blame. Until, as Barney Frank suggests, the procedures are changed.
In the past year, I know most Americans are grateful for the fictional standard stopping most of Reid, Pelosi and Obama’s extremist agendas, but I’m sure that the liberal minority are just incensed about it now that Scott Brown is number 41.

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