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The United States Senate: Can It Work?

Once upon a time, the United States Senate was known as the "World's Greatest Deliberative Body."  But in recent years, watching the Senate in action (if you can call it that) is like watching paint dry. The soundtrack of the chamber no longer is a Senator debating, but instead is the classical music played by C-SPAN as the Senate does nothing.

Partisanship and a close party division in the Senate have caused the body to ground to a halt. Rules that were designed to protect the minority party are now used to block legislation and nominations. The Senate was designed to protect the minority but not this way.

History tells us that Thomas Jefferson,visiting George Washington, asked why the Constitutional Convention had created the Senate. "Why did you pour that coffee into your saucer?" asked Washington. 'To cool it," said Jefferson. "Even so," responded Washington, "we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it."

A major part of the...

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