Former President James Buchanan called the United States Senate “the greatest deliberative body in the world.” But Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, recently complained that he hasn’t even been able to get a vote on a single legislative amendment in his first 15 months on the job.
The fact is that the U.S. Senate has largely quit deliberating. The Senate has voted on only 6 non-budgetary amendments so far this year and has taken only 25 roll call votes in the two-year Congress, compared with 154 at this point in the last Congress.
Bills are held in secret until 51 votes are lined up and then sprung on the Senate. Largely gone are the committee deliberations, debates and amendments.
Votes are taken largely to make statements for the next election, not to make great public policy. It’s high time Congress returned to “regular order.”Read More »