Today, Senate Republican leaders demonstrated their willingness to leverage their party’s strengthened position in the coming session, by announcing that they intend to block all bills that enter the chamber until the issue involving the Bush tax cuts is resolved. Proving their willingness to throw their weight around, they announced this resolve through a letter signed by all 42 Senatorial members of the GOP, saying “…legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities.”
Regardless of your stance on the tax cuts, there is no denying the impressive organization of the GOP. When the Democratic party ruled the Senate, there seemed an undercurrent of chaos and an unwillingness to take a strong stance on major issues for fear of electoral consequences. Even during the landmark Democratic victory on healthcare, many seemed uneasy with the force required to pass the bill. There was no cohesion or unity amongst the party to project a sentiment of strength and determination.
I hope that the battle over the tax cuts is resolved quickly so that the Senate can tackle other important issues before the coming recess, the most dire being the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It is saddening that an issue of finance is taking precedence over the fundamental civil liberties and discrimination of an entire class of people, but that is often how the political theater is played today.
When a more heavily Republican Senate is sworn in following the recess, it is clear that, for better or worse, the organization of the GOP will have a serious impact on the practices of the chamber. Despite personally holding a stance on certain issues that align closely with the Republicans, I worry what the impact this will have on issues of LGBT rights, something I hold near and dear to my heart. While I don’t believe that discrimination is a fundamental tenet of the Republican party, this current crop of politicians seems particularly bent against concerning issues.
I can only hope I’m proven wrong.