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NEVADA VIEWS: Sen. Rosen: Stand up for the filibuster, stand up for Nevadans

Since Democrats have reclaimed the Senate by the slimmest majority in decades, progressives everywhere have been looking to use their newfound power to push through some of the most controversial items on the Democratic docket like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. However, whereas the Senate — to its credit — worked to pass common-sense bipartisan infrastructure legislation, some of the more partisan pieces of the progressive platform have been slowed down in recent months by a Senate procedure known as the filibuster.

The filibuster, a rule that requires a bill to receive at least 60 votes to pass through the Senate, has recently drawn the ire of the left-wing of the Democratic Party.

Progressives have attacked elected officials, even those from their own party, who support this Senate rule. Most notably, U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona have been the subject of monthslong scrutiny regarding their positions on the filibuster.

There are many Democrats in the Senate, including our Sen. Jacky Rosen, who are approaching their position on the filibuster with common sense. The filibuster serves as a vital check — on both Republicans and Democrats — to ensure that only well-thought-out policies with broad support pass through the Senate and are signed into law. Democrats, during the Trump years, effectively used the filibuster to stop some of the Republicans’ most controversial proposed policies. Democratic senators filibustered former President Donald Trump’s efforts to fund the border wall, defunding sanctuary cities and efforts to restrict reproductive rights.

Democrats have used the filibuster to their advantage in the past — but both sides can have short memories. No Senate majority can last forever, and if Democrats get rid of the filibuster today, the next Republican majority will certainly pass their most partisan agenda items with a simple majority — including policies that would directly impact Nevadans.

Organizations dedicated to reproductive rights recognize the importance of the 60-vote threshold and have broken with progressives to vocally defend the filibuster. Yucca Mountain, a proposed nuclear waste storage facility located just outside of Las Vegas, has only been delayed because of the filibuster. These are all policies that would dramatically impact the daily lives of Nevadans. They’re policies that should be debated and negotiated, not signed into law with a simple majority.

As a Nevadan, I want to see legislation that helps the everyday life of each person in our state, whether they are a Republican or a Democrat, and I expect Sen. Rosen believes the same thing. In the past, she has spoken out in favor of the filibuster, touting this Senate procedure’s ability to bring both sides of the aisle to the table to create good, bipartisan legislation. I urge Sen. Rosen to think about the future of America.

Peter Guzman is the president of Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce.

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