George Packer has an excellent article in the New Yorker about how dysfunctional the Senate is where the rules that have evolved can easily be used to either make sure nothing gets done or create delays and waste time.
The Senate is often referred to as “the world’s greatest deliberative body.” Jeff Merkley, a freshman Democrat from Oregon, said, “That is a phrase that I wince each time I hear it, because the amount of real deliberation, in terms of exchange of ideas, is so limited.” Merkley could remember witnessing only one moment of floor debate between a Republican and a Democrat. “The memory I took with me was: ‘Wow, that’s unusual—there’s a conversation occurring in which they’re making point and counterpoint and challenging each other.’ And yet nobody else was in the chamber.”
If you've ever wondered why it can take a very long time for a legislative body to get something done, check out the article.
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