Calmes: The Jan. 6 committee did the country proud but it hasn’t changed our calcified politics, and may in fact have made things worse.
The vote on the so-called bill for the first time allowed the Senate to get to business in the morning after a long weekend. The Senate’s calendar has changed a few times since it last took up public business. There was no debate. There was no one who appeared to speak in opposition to the bill. There was no debate on amendments to make up for the bill’s supposed flaws.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, wanted a vote so he could take the Senate floor again and demand a debate on the bill. He did not get a vote after Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to force it through by holding a secret committee vote without giving either side the opportunity to weigh in.
Sen. McConnell was not happy.
I’ll explain why Sen. McConnell was not happy, and also why he was not successful. But first, it’s important to understand the significance of the vote in context.
The main difference in this year’s debate on the state budget resides in the Senate’s schedule. McConnell proposed holding a bill like this for the Senate calendar. There was resistance and an attempt to delay it, even though the calendar had changed.
The reason for the delay is McConnell’s desire to get a vote in the Senate as quickly as possible. Every day the Senate is not taking public business means the Senate is not doing that important work that is required by the constitution.
It is not unusual for a senator to push for changes in what is normally considered the most important chamber. But every day the Senate is not taking public business, is a day it is not doing anything.
That’s why, in 2014, the Senate was not taking up the budget in the first place. There was not enough time to do it correctly.
This year, there is a chance to get on the calendar a lot of important public business the Senate can do now that it doesn’t have to wait for an election year. But there is the threat of a shutdown over the budget if things go wrong.
It’s a good thing there is more time to do it properly, with debate and amendments. But it is better than having nothing at all to do.
This is not an article about whether or not the bill in question is a good bill or whether it is a good idea. It is about the politics