Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has long been a fierce opponent of open debate, whether it's vetting judges or allowing contentious bills to be amended, former New Hampshire Sen. John E. Sununu writes
in Monday's Boston Globe.
Yet Reid's historic decision to invoke the so-called "nuclear option" to kill filibusters and allow a simple majority vote on most presidential nominations also threatens to eliminate future compromise and turn the Senate into an even "more partisan" and "impulsive" version of the House, the Republican said.
"For nearly 225 years, the principle of open and unlimited debate has worked well in the U.S. Senate. Yes, there has always been plenty of pontificating and histrionics; and deliberation can be painstakingly slow. That however, is by design," Sununu said.
"The Senate was meant to balance the impulsive nature of the House and put all states on equal footing. An open debate and amendment process encourages consensus and protects against the tyranny of the majority," he added.
Reid, Sununu claims, has schemed behind the scenes to ensure vulnerable Democrats aren't forced to make tough votes during election season, and repeatedly calls up bills for consideration only to immediately close the door on any amendment or debate.
Although Reid insists that his actions will not affect Supreme Court nominees, Sununu says it's only a matter of time before that rule is changed as well.
"It’s truly ironic that Democrats protesting the partisanship in the Senate have responded by making the institution more partisan than ever," Sununu said.
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