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The United States Senate Operational Philosophy

Updated on March 26, 2017


The current operational philosophy in the United States Senate and the partisanship that exist is out of touch with American citizens and the Constitution. It is true that according to the Constitution each body of Congress can establish the rules by which they operate but the rules need to make sense in how legislation gets accomplished. The current situation in the Senate makes no sense with respect to votes being taken to confirm individuals for federal appointments or passing legislation. We may not always agree on the choices as individuals or the legislative content but the process needs to be efficient not cumbersome.

The confirmation process for federal appointments needs to be changed to some extent. It is appropriate to have hearings by the applicable committees to evaluate the qualifications of individuals for various federal appointments such as judges and ambassadors. Once a committee has finished their deliberations and questions for a nominee the vote should be placed before the entire Senate. Votes for nominees should be based on two things. One is whether they are qualified to hold the position for which they have been nominated and the other is whether they respect the Constitution. This involves putting aside political philosophy. Respecting the Constitution involves making decisions on the content not interpretation. Our founding fathers clearly indicated their intent through the federalist papers and this should be considered when making decisions either at the Supreme Court level or lower courts. Sadly the current partisanship in confirming an appointment for the Supreme Court is nothing more than political grandstanding to put it mildly.

Today there is a double standard and everyone knows it. What is good for one party is good for another. The nuclear option with regards to confirming nominees for the Supreme Court should never be necessary. There may be some benefits in some respects with the 60 vote rule but the important thing is to put do the right thing for the country not a political party.

With respect to legislative procedures there should not be any operational philosophy in place in the Senate or the House of Representatives that require changes in the operational process of one legislative body based on the rules of another. The current problem with the legislative process in the House requires that the way legislative proposals are established is impacted by the procedures in place in the Senate. This is wrong and should change immediately. The Senate should do the right thing and allow a logical process to be in place to review legislative proposals from the House of Representatives.

It is true that there are large issues and controversial legislative proposals which can be lengthy but it should not be necessary to have piecemeal legislation to get by operational philosophy by one legislative policy over another. It is wrong for the Senate to impact the methods of the House of Representatives legislative proposals to get by Senate rules. Both political parties have been in power in the Senate but nothing has changed to such an extent to make the process more logical and efficient. It is time the Senate gets with the philosophy of the House and allows a majority to make decisions. If bad decisions are made by the party in power of either legislative body voters will vote them out. Decisions should be made in the best interest of the country and the citizens not their political party. The last election results across the country was a resounding message that voters are tired of the political partisanship but some individuals do not get the message. If their methods do not change come the next election cycle they will again see the anger of the voters and they will no longer be in a position to make decisions which are not in the interest of the country or the citizens. The language of the Constitution should be honored not ignored.


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    • Dennis AuBuchon profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis AuBuchon 

      2 years ago

      Thanks Jack Lee for commenting on this hub.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      I agree with you 100%. The current Senate grid lock is the exact reason our government is broken. Partisan politics trump the will of the people. We need term limits to drain the swamp. Congress was never meant to be a career. People should go to Washington as a public service and serve their term and return to private industry. That applies to both parties and all of Congress.

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