U.S. Rep. Luke Messer

U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, R-Shelbyville

The U.S. Senate is broken.

President Donald Trump and Republicans in the U.S. House are working to pass the American peoples’ agenda, but the U.S. Senate is standing in the way.

Once known as the "world's greatest deliberative body," today the U.S. Senate is a mess of arcane procedures and rules allowing a handful of Senate Democrats to block the president’s every move.

Despite promises to work with the president, Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly and other Senate Democrats have obstructed the Trump agenda since day one by delaying Trump administration appointments and refusing to advance hundreds of conservative bills passed by the House.

Passing the president's tax cut plan was an important victory, but it's one of few major policy achievements the Senate has accomplished all year, and it’s inexcusable.

The House passed 477 bills to advance the Trump-Pence agenda, and 378 of those bills are stalled in the broken Senate.

Hoosiers deserve a Senate that does its job and senators who work for them. I’m launching a plan to fix the broken U.S. Senate so it starts delivering results.

First, we need to get rid of the filibuster allowing a liberal minority to stop the will of the American people. With the filibuster rule in place, the U.S. Senate needs 60 votes — instead of a simple majority of 51— to bring a piece of legislation to a vote.

The mere threat of a filibuster has allowed Donnelly and his fellow Democrats to block hundreds of House bills that deliver on President Trump’s agenda, including legislation to repeal Obamacare.

The American people have demanded these conservative policies with their votes in the last two elections, and it’s time to deliver. Republican senators need to back up their promises and remove artificial barriers.

Second, we need to stop minority abuse of the presidential nomination system.

It’s been a year since Trump’s inauguration, and nearly 200 leadership positions in the federal government still need confirmation from the U.S. Senate.

The reason? Democrats are using every procedural trick in the book to delay confirmations they know are inevitable. This is unacceptable, and it’s preventing Trump from doing the job the American people elected him to do.

To fix this, any judicial nominee should receive an up or down vote in 45 days, debate time should be cut from 30 hours to eight, and individual senators should not be able to hold up federal court nominees for their own political gain.

Individual senators shouldn’t be able to hold up legislation either, especially if their obstruction is hidden from the public.

Third, we should impose term limits in the U.S. Senate. The Senate doesn’t just have a leadership problem; it has a membership problem. Too many Senators are more focused on their careers than delivering for the people. By imposing a two-term limit, we can inject a sense of urgency in the Senate and hold our Senators accountable for results.

Outdated and abused procedural rules have turned the U.S. Senate into a place where commonsense bills go to die, rather than a functioning legislative body. We can do better.

Luke Messer is a congressman representing Indiana's 6th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. The opinions are the writer's.

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