"Senate Republicans must hold firm against the ObamaCare threat to
American liberty and prosperity. They should respond to Reid's threat
to eliminate the filibuster with a threat of their own: they'll shut down
and boycott the Senate."—ALG President Bill Wilson.
September 23rd, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today called upon Senate Republicans to "shut down the Senate" should Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoke reconciliation to "muscle ObamaCare through the Senate in direct defiance of the will of the people."
"Harry Reid is not going to just ram this through and eliminate the filibuster," said Wilson, "Not without dire consequences. Senate Republicans should shut down the Senate if that's the direction he wants to go in. No business addressed. No quorum. No votes. The filibuster is a time-honored tradition. And so is democratic resistance."
In recent weeks, Reid has threatened to use reconciliation, whereby only 51 votes would be needed to pass the government-run health care proposal. Yesterday, he again did so, promising to use it if Republicans halted consideration of the bill in committee. "If we can't work this out to do something within the committee structure, then we'll be forced to do reconciliation," he said, calling the tactic a "last resort."
Wilson called Reid's warning "a thuggish threat," and said it would result in "one-party rule over what is supposed to be the 'most deliberative body' in the world. The filibuster as implemented has been a tool for the minority party to still have a voice in governance. Its elimination is in essence the elimination of our age-old two-party system."
Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned Reid of a public backlash. He said, "Let me say…budget reconciliation has never been used to structure one-sixth of the American economy. If that option were chosen, there would be a severe, negative, and I think appropriate reaction from the American people… If you thought the American people were upset in August, you haven't seen how upset they will be if this device is chosen."
According to Rasmussen Reports, 66 percent of voters are angry at current government policies. And some 56 percent currently oppose Democrats' health care proposal.
Wilson said reconciliation may be the only way Congressional Democrats can get their legislation passed. "Harry Reid obviously doesn't have the 60 votes he needs in the Senate for cloture. Else, he would not be issuing these threats."
According to Reid spokesman Jim Manley, "The White House and the Senate Democratic leadership still prefer a bipartisan bill. However, patience is not unlimited, and we are determined to get something done this year by any legislative means necessary."
Wilson said the threats were as a result of severe public opposition to the plan to "scare Republicans into submission. First, they tried painting as 'extremists' opponents—which is really just caricature assassination. Now, they've moved from simply ridiculing opponents to holding a gun to their heads."
In the pages of USA Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer wrote, "These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades."
Congressman Steve Kagen (WI-CD6) said they were "uncivilized," and Congressman Baron Hill (IN-CD9) called them "political terrorists." Congressman Brian Baird (WA-CD3) called opponents of the legislation "Brown Shirts" and compared them to domestic terrorists, "Some of the rhetoric that we're hearing is… eerily reminiscent of the kind of things that drove Tim McVeigh to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma."
Wilson concluded, "These are times that try men's souls. And Senate Republicans must hold firm against the ObamaCare threat to American liberty and prosperity. They should respond to Reid's threat to eliminate the filibuster with a threat of their own: they'll shut down and boycott the Senate."