President Obama’s jobs creation proposals are being defeated one by one in the Senate. In reality, a majority of upper house lawmakers voted in favor of proposals such as the $60 billion infrastructure investments bill. However, they fell short of the 60 votes needed to proceed, resulting in a blocked bill.
The Constitution does not require a supermajority to pass bills in the Senate, but there is a regulation that allows senators to filibuster until 60 senators decide to cut off a filibuster and submit the proposal for a vote. The purpose of this technicality was to prevent the majority from overwhelming the minority, and it was used carefully for many decades.
Now this exception has become the rule for the Republican minority led by Mitch McConnell, who publicly said his main goal is preventing Obama’s re-election. The strategy is not allowing the president to govern by blocking the majority of Democratic initiatives, as small as they may be.
For example, in mid-October, 43 GOP senators blocked legislation to create a National Criminal Justice Commission, a group designed to help bring order to the current chaos of our justice systems. The measure had bipartisan support, in addition to having unusual support from police organizations and the American Civil Liberties Union. Nevertheless, a minority blocked this bill.
This obstructionist strategy has paralyzed the U.S. Congress, leading to an extremely low public approval rating-much lower than the one Obama has.
Apparently, Americans are slowly recognizing, in time for the elections, the differences between the executive branch and the legislative branch. This is also a way to differentiate between a president who proposes direct action to create jobs and a minority that obstructs his initiatives.