Today, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) delivered a speech on the Senate floor condemning the Democrats’ plans to change the Senate rules in order to seize control of America’s elections.
“If you want to end gridlock, do the difficult work of actually building coalitions of support, introduce bills to be referred to the committees of jurisdiction that Republicans can actually vote for, allow for an open amendment process, as we did with the China bill.
“Now this is the entire point of the 60-vote threshold. It’s a forcing mechanism, during fraught times like these. It gives the minority a say in the process. It forces majorities to find ways to compromise. It incentivizes bipartisan collaboration among senators representing diverse parts of our nation with differing values, differing priorities. Americans want us to go through the hard work of finding common ground.
“I said it in my first speech on this floor … and I will repeat it until my last speech: We are, above all else, the custodians of the common good. The common good. Remember that colleagues before you take a hammer to one of the Senate’s signature means of advancing it,” said Senator Young during his speech.
To view the Senator Young’s full speech, click here.
Senator Young’s Floor Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:
In a letter written in 1789, Thomas Jefferson declared the “earth belongs to the living, not the dead.”
Relationships between generations, he explained, are but that of distant, independent nations.
Mr. President, I don’t know how many of my Democratic colleagues still admire Jefferson, but they are certainly taking his words to heart.
There is little concern on one side of this chamber about the impact of our actions beyond our own time here.
There is a belief that the importance of this hour’s partisan ambitions outweighs the value of centuries’ old institutions.
Abandoning the 60-vote threshold in order to seize control of America’s elections isn’t simply short-sighted. It’s clueless, it’s the exact opposite of what the people who sent us here want.
Back home in Indiana, I hear from anxious Hoosiers about rising inflation, about the cost of putting food on their tables and gas in their cars. About paying to heat their homes or for next month’s rent.
They are tired of and still worried about a pandemic President Biden promised to “shut down.” And they are angry about a southern border he has left wide open.
In the middle of all this, an affordability crisis, an ongoing pandemic, a broken border, changing the Senate’s rules to nationalize Indiana’s elections, repeal our popular voter ID law and use tax dollars to fund political campaigns are not high among Hoosier priorities.
You know what is though? Congress coming together, finding compromise and actually addressing our shared national challenges. It’s one of the most widely-ignored messages of the last election.
If Americans wanted radical, extreme, partisan change, they would not have evenly divided the Senate.
Believe it or not, they want us to collaborate. We have shown them we are capable of doing that.
We formed a united front against China when it comes to competitiveness and trade policy.
We helped American workers and small businesses hurt by the pandemic.
We gave our troops a raise.
These are important achievements that will benefit Americans now and in the years to come.
I understand that my Democratic colleagues are frustrated though.
You have had less success with your reckless multi-trillion dollar social spending bill. And your proposal to federalize and politicize America’s elections is a tough sell.
As a result, America’s democracy, we are told, is in peril. And the only way to save it is to kill the filibuster.
But the 60-vote threshold is not the source of the dysfunction; your radical agenda is. The legislative filibuster is not a threat to our democracy; ending it is.
My advice: rethink your priorities. If you want to end gridlock, do the difficult work of building coalitions, introduce bills Republicans can vote for, allow for an open amendment process.
That is the entire point of the 60-vote threshold.
It gives the minority a say in the process. It forces majorities to find ways to compromise. It incentivizes bipartisan collaboration among senators representing parts of the nation with differing values and priorities, which is what Americans want.
And yes, it is an obstacle to one party, either party, razing our institutions by the slimmest of margins.
Frustrating as it may be, the filibuster, in its way, is a source of, and sometimes the source of, order and even unity in Congress.
If you think our current political division is troubling, torch the filibuster, foist your unpopular partisan priorities on the American people and then check the health of our democracy. Don’t be shocked by its sorry state.
I’ll close with a familiar caveat. Majorities, no matter their size, never endure. Looked at in the light of human history, all of us, even the most long-tenured, are here for little more than a hiccup in time.
Yes, what one party sows today, the other will reap tomorrow. Clearing the path for every grandly ambitious Democratic piece of legislation aimed at reshaping America would only clear the way for a future Republican effort to repeal and replace it with one of our own. With even greater scale.
Beyond this though, as much as I admire Thomas Jefferson, I do not believe that the earth belongs only to the living.
No, citizens place both their trust and their destiny in a set of shared institutions. In America, this forms a compact that stretches across centuries and generations. It includes those in the grave and those yet unborn. And for the moment, we are its custodians.
If we give in to temporary passions, if we tear our institutions to shreds rather than work through them, rewriting the rules when we don’t win the game, we are failing in our jobs. We are breaking that compact.
I said it in my first speech on this floor. I will repeat until my last: We are, above all else, the custodians of the common good.
Remember that before you take a hammer to one of the Senate’s signature means of advancing