Senate Democrats

Reid Urges to Protect Checks and Balances

Highlights the importance of ensuring a voice for minorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement at a press event with Senator Ken Salazar, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Robert Menendez and Latino leaders against Republican abuse of power:

“Tomorrow, the United States Senate will face a historic vote on whether to do away with a critical Check in our government of Checks and Balances – a Senator’s right to filibuster.

During this vote, every Senator will have an opportunity to stand up for the Constitution and let George Bush and right-wing Republicans know that the power of the Senate is not theirs to abuse.

It’s a moment of truth for the United States Senate.

Today, Senate Democrats represent the last check on President Bush’s power.

Republicans want to eliminate this check and give President Bush power no president has ever had — the ability to hand out lifetime federal judgeships without consensus from the other party.

They think the Senate should be a rubber stamp for the President – even if the President wants radical Supreme Court nominees and judges who will rollback our rights.

Judges are often the last resort for all people in America seeking justice. And the filibuster is one of the Senate’s most important tools that guarantees minorities a voice in their government.

And nobody understands this better than the Latino community, because as a minority, for a long time they have faced injustices.

A government in which one party has control over all decisions is bad for America and bad for all our people.

Our country works better when we cooperate and work towards compromises that benefit the greater good and not one group over another.

If the Republicans succeed in changing the rules of the Senate, they will not only be silencing Democratic voices, they will also be silencing the voices of millions of Latinos.

The Framers of our Constitution believed the Senate should be a deliberative body where cooler heads and consensus prevails.

Republican leaders should not focus on denying rights to America’s minorities.

They are that out-of-touch with the American people.”