The Compromised Senate

U.S. senators once liked to call their institution “the world’s greatest deliberative body.” That sounds like a sick joke, given the behavior of the vast majority of Republican senators and the bizarre senate rules, most particularly the “filibuster,” which requires sixty (out of a hundred) senators to approve most pieces of legislation. Thanks to the weird process of “reconciliation,’’ the senate passed the desperately needed pandemic relief package last night on a 51-50 party-line vote. Regrettably, reconciliation can’t be used for legislation aimed at curbing voter suppression by state legislatures. Republicans can still and surely will block such remedial measures because at least two Democratic senators are opposed to eliminating the filibuster.