Columnist: 10 leftist agenda items Biden could easily pass with no filibuster

by WorldTribune Staff, July 20, 2020

Joe Biden as president will enact the leftist agenda of his handlers and will do it by eliminating the filibuster, a columnist noted.

Biden said of eliminating the 60-vote threshold to end debate: “you’re just going to have to take a look at it.”

Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden. / C-SPAN

“If Biden wins and Democrats capture the Senate, this would enable them to pass legislation with a simple majority, leaving Republicans powerless to stop them,” Washington Examiner politics editor W. James Antle III noted in a July 19 op-ed.

Antle listed 10 leftist policies that Biden and the Democrats could enact without the filibuster:

1. Gun control: The details of the exact proposals have varied, but universal background checks and reinstating the so-called assault weapons ban, originally passed as part of Biden’s 1994 crime bill, would seem to be priorities if Democrats win in November. The Biden “plan to end our gun violence epidemic” would make gun manufacturers liable for crimes committed using their products and ban high-capacity magazines.

2. Amnesty for illegal immigrants: There was filibuster-proof support for comprehensive immigration reform that would have legalized a large majority of the unauthorized immigrants currently residing in the United States under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, but Republican opposition stiffened after the collapse of the Gang of Eight in 2013 and the election of Donald Trump in 2016. The DREAM Act, a legislative precursor to Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, was stopped by a filibuster in 2012. Biden has proposed a “roadmap to citizenship for the nearly 11 million illegals in the U.S.

3. Taxpayer funding of abortion: Biden has abandoned his support for the Hyde Amendment, which bans most federal funding of abortion. Democrats frequently campaign on Hyde Amendment repeal but have not made a serious attempt to do so since 1993 because the Senate votes have not been there even when they have been in the majority. But with fewer anti-abortion Democrats in Congress than ever before and no filibuster, it would be easier to pass such legislation and restore Medicaid-funded abortions for the first time since 1976.

4. Tax increases: While most tax and spending legislation can already avoid the filibuster’s supermajority requirement through the reconciliation process, some provisions can still be blocked by the minority. Under Obama, Senate Democrats tried to improve their prospects for repealing the Bush tax cuts with legislation separating the middle-class reductions from those for upper-income earners. Both pieces of legislation were stopped by filibuster, and most of the tax cuts were extended in 2013. Democrats are likely to try something similar with the Trump tax cuts, and without the filibuster, they could. The Buffet rule, which imposed a 30 percent minimum tax on the wealthy, was also blocked by filibuster. So was a Democratic resolution stating, “any agreement to reduce the budget deficit should require that those earning $1,000,000 or more per year make a more meaningful contribution to the deficit reduction effort.”

5. Ending the secret ballot for unionization: Called “card check,” Democrats were unable to pass this when they held nearly 60 seats in the Senate. The policy would make it easier to unionize a workplace because it would replace most secret-ballot elections with a petition signed by a bare majority of eligible employees. Its chances would improve without the filibuster.

6. D.C. statehood: Democrats want to make Washington, D.C., a state. This would guarantee the Democrats an additional member of the House of Representatives and two more senators in perpetuity.

7. Court-packing: Liberal activists have increasingly been clamoring for an expansion of the Supreme Court by Congress to undercut its current narrow conservative majority. A Democratic Senate would then be able to confirm new liberal nominees quickly who are already no longer subject to filibuster.

8. The public option — and maybe Medicare for All: Biden would prefer to instead create a government-run public option within Obamacare. This would also increase the federal government’s role in healthcare and make it difficult for private insurers to compete. The public option would already be part of Obamacare, but some centrist and insurance-state Democrats opposed the idea and denied it a filibuster-proof majority. Getting rid of the filibuster would make all Democratic attempts to grow the federal role in healthcare easier, as the writing of Obamacare was hampered by having to follow the reconciliation process to get around the possibility of a filibuster. If enough Democrats decided to do so, they could even decide to go all the way with Medicare for All or another government-run, single-payer plan. Would Biden really veto it? He has succumbed to liberal pressure before — such as on the filibuster.

9. Oil company crackdowns: During the Obama administration, Democrats advanced legislation to disqualify oil companies from manufacturing tax credits. It was blocked by filibuster. Further reaching legislative efforts are sure to be revived if Democrats control a filibuster office while Biden is on the opposite end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

10. The Green New Deal: The grab bag of liberal policy proposals comes with a price tag estimated at anywhere from $50 trillion to $93 trillion over 10 years. The only way it could ever pass is without the filibuster.

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