Nov 272012
 

The Republican Party has broken the Senate, and as usual, it’s up to the Democrats to clean up the mess they have made.  Led by Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM), joined by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and the entire freshman class of Senate Democrats, and supported (at last) by Harry Reid (D-NV), the effort for filibuster reform reform has a good chance of succeeding in January.

27jeff-merkleyOn the Senate floor Monday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell railed against his counterpart, Harry Reid, and a “cohort of short-sighted Senate sophomores,” for proposing to modify the Senate’s filibuster rules on the first day of the 113th Congress to limit the extent to which the minority can gum up legislative business.

“Does [Reid] believe that on the day he finds himself in the minority once again that he should no longer be heard?” McConnell asked, “Or does he think that Democrats will remain in the majority from now until the end of time?”

In a Monday interview, one of the supposedly short-sighted sophomores said, contra McConnell, the reforms Democrats are proposing could in theory go much farther, but are being designed with future power shifts in mind.

“The point I would make is that I’ve said from the outset is that a test of a good proposal is whether or not you could live with serving under it in the minority,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR). “That’s why the talking filibuster is the right way to go. McConnell has broken the social contract. His team, under his leadership, uses it constantly and silently, out of public sight. Really the proposal I put forward restores the basic elements that existed in the past, and I’m quite happy to live under that structure as a minority. … [That] has been part of every conversation I’ve had with colleagues. … If we’re in the minority and we’re blocking something, we should be accountable to the public.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <TPM>

Rachel Maddow covered this issue in two segments. In the first, she explained the debate over filibusters.

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In the past the minority could use the filibuster to shine light on a perceived injustice to the public and put public pressure on Senators, before they voted on an issue. That was, and is, the proper use of the filibuster.  It was never intended as a tool for minority rule.

In the second, Rachel and Sherrod Brown discussed the future of the Senate.

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Can we live with the proposed rules if Republicans control the Senate in the future. I think so. As pleasant as the idea of hogtieing the Republican Party sounds, if the people are stupid enough to elect them, they have a right to govern. Anyway, since Bought Bitch Mitch has his panties in a major bunch, opposing filibuster reform, that proves it is good for America.

Contact your Senators.  Tell them the filibastards have had their way far too long, and to take the Senate back!

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  22 Responses to “Filibuster Reform on Day One!”

  1. First step to regaining a functioning  gov'ment seems to be taking control of the filibuster- anything the Bastards  ie Mitch, Boner and crew fight has to be good for the rest of us- removes one of their weapons of abuse-

  2.  Led by Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM), joined by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and the entire freshman class of Senate Democrats, and supported (at last) by Harry Reid (D-NV), the effort for filibuster reform reform has a good chance of succeeding in January.

    With one possible day of fixing the filibuster, I am very hopeful and look forward to Mitch McConnell being ousted…

  3. Contact your Senators. Tell them the filibastards have had their way far too long, and to take the Senate back!

    Living in Florida for almost 4 years now, I wouldn't expect any conservatives to take me seriously….?

  4. It is interesting to note that the House does not have a filibuster and it seems to operate just fine.  It gets more done than the senate does. Unfortunately, it is mostly republican crap that they pass, but they are doing something which is better than nothing.

    • The Senate was intended to be a more deliberative body to curb the excesses of the House, buy obstructing everything betrays that role.

  5. We certainly got a good one when we elected Jeff Merkley here in Oregon! Even though it's not necessary to contact him to urge him to support filibuster reform, it is necessary to contact him to let him know you support what he's doing. 

  6. What has been proposed is fair and commonsensical – so it's no wonder republicans hate it.
     
    Just for reference here are Ten Ways repubs Can Obstruct the Function of the Senate:
    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/open-government/news/2010/09/28/8328/minority-rules/
     

    • Excellent piece Nameless.  In my view, each senator should be docked pay for every obstructionist tactic he uses, every hour he delays; and if he doesn't show up for committee work, he should be found in contempt and docked pay.  Republicans howl about big government, and we all know that is mostly about regulations in business etc, but they should also be looking at the cost of government.  There is more government waste in the Congress than in a lot of other areas, just because the elected officials play games.

    • Great read! And it's all too true. We have watched this happening numerous times since Pres. Obama was elected. It's sad to watch grown people, mostly men, acting like schoolyard bullies because a "Black Man" is in the White House.

    • I agree completely Nameless.  I think Merkley intends a rule that fixes most.

  7. "…we should be accountable to the public.”… — And that is just what the Republican/Teabaggers haven't been with all their obstruction and bear scat!  McConnell has his knickers in such a twist that he fails to realise that the Democrats HAVE thought this through and are looking for a way to more effectively do the PEOPLE's business.  They are not stifling debate but rather encouraging debate as opposed to strong armed silence.

  8. I am strongly in favor of using the Constitutional Option to stop the filibuster on Day One of the new session next year. Because the Senate is no longer "dignified.
     
    I offer for your perusal from http://www.tomudall.senate.gov/files/documents/Blog/Gold_Gupta-Constitutional_Option.pdf
     
    The Constitutional Option
     
     
    213
    P
     
    ART II: CREATION OF THE FILIBUSTER
    A. The “Dignified Senate”
    The possibility that a minority of Senators could hold unlimited
    debate on a topic against the majority’s will was unknown to the first
    Senate. The original Senate Rules—then only twenty in number
     
    18—
    allowed a Senator to make a motion “for the previous question.”
     
    19
    This motion permitted a simple majority of Senators
     
    20 to halt debate
    on a pending issue:
    The previous question being moved and seconded, the question for
    the chair shall be: “Shall the main question now be put?” and if the
    nays prevail, the main question shall not then be put.
     
    Remember "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" when Jimmy Stewart, playing Mr. Smith, collapses on the Senate floor while filibustering?
    I honestly thought Bernie Sanders might collapse while he filibustered to try to stop the Bush Tax cuts from being extended. He was brilliant and a "Dignified" member of the Senate.

  9. We seem to have a rule of thumb in politics – if we are doing the right thing then the Right Wing SCREAM blue murder and stamp their feet, and predict the end of civilisation  as we know it!  We ARE doing the right thing – Hooray for Elizabeth Warren and hooray for Merkley and Udall – and at last 'blue dog' Harry Reid is seeming to realise a few things….. hmmm!  God bless Bernie Sanders forever!

  10. Thanks Tom!  I think we see more of what Obama wanted to do in 2008 election in 2013 to pave the way to 2016