View Full Version : Fix the filibuster

6th October 2010, 15:22

The filibuster is the #1 obstacle to progress
The Senate must seize the opportunity to fix the filibuster.
Take action to fix the Senate!

GO TO THE LINK TO add your name to this petition to all current senators and candidates for Senate.

Congress has left Washington and there will be no more chances to pass much-needed legislation before the election.

There will be no public option, no climate bill, no end to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," no new tier of unemployment benefits, no end of too big to fail, no response to the horrible Citizens United Supreme Court decision and no end to the crisis facing the federal judiciary caused by the dearth of judicial confirmations.

There is one reason why, despite Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate, Congress was unable to pass many common sense reforms the filibuster.

Tell the Senate: Fix the filibuster. Click here to automatically add your name.

The filibuster is an antiquated provision in Senate procedure that requires a 60-vote supermajority to pass legislation, confirm nominees or even perform some of the most mundane parliamentary tasks.

Filibuster abuse has gotten so bad that a staffer for Senator Jim DeMint (a Republican senator from South Carolina and the one most closely associated with the Tea Party) sent an e-mail to the offices of all the other senators explaining that Sen. DeMint would filibuster any bills he had not personally approved of moving to the floor.

This is what the filibuster has reduced the Senate to an arena where moments of pique, inflated feelings of self-importance, the casual and callous disregard for the crises we face as a country, and political posturing can bring the business of the legislative branch of our government to a grinding halt.

Tell the Senate: Fix the filibuster. Click here to automatically add your name.

Many progressives are frightened of filibuster reform.

Some defenders of the filibuster argue that we should keep it because the Senate should be a place for deliberation. If that's true, then the filibuster is exactly the wrong tool for the job.

There are over 400 bills that cleared the House and were not taken up by the Senate because of the filibuster or the threat of a filibuster, including many with broad bipartisan support. The filibuster hasn't led to deliberation in the Senate; the filibuster has led to debilitating constipation of the Senate.

Others want to keep the filibuster around so that a future progressive minority might be able to stop the excesses of a conservative majority. Even if you think that the Republicans will keep the filibuster in place when it's no longer to their benefit, it's hard to look back and survey the past history of the filibuster and deem it any near a net gain for progressives.

Look at what the filibuster has gotten us. The filibuster did not prevent the appointment of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court that was able to hand the presidency to Bush. And afterward, it did not stop the appointments of reactionary and partisan Justices Roberts and Alito to the Court.

The damage averted during the eight years of the Bush administration because of the filibuster is dwarfed by the amount of progress the filibuster stifled in the two years since President Obama took office.

The simple fact is that we cannot allow the Senate to continue in such a dysfunctional manner. We need it to start functioning again if our nation is to meet the myriad challenges we face.

At the beginning of the next Congress, the Senate will be able to change the filibuster rules with a simple majority vote. There are multiple proposals on how to fix the filibuster, many of which have merit. But what is clear is that the Senate must seize this opportunity to fix the filibuster.

Tell the Senate: Fix the filibuster. Click here to automatically add your name.

Thank you for working for a better world.

Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

P.S. Some progressives oppose efforts to reform the filibuster because they anticipate times when the filibuster will be used by a progressive minority to stop the overreach of a conservative majority.

If you look at the totality of how the filibuster has been used, it has on rare occasion achieved tactical success for progressives. But on the whole it has proved a strategic disaster for those who fight for social change.

The filibuster systematically works against those who want the government to function, who want to see our legislators address problems and fix things, and who want the government to move us past old prejudices and hateful laws written in the bad blood of our forbears.

And given the craven, callous disregard of Senate Republicans for the multiple crises we face as a nation, given their utter willingness to place political ambition and partisan gain over the need to legislate, is there any doubt that they will have the slightest scruples in eliminating the filibuster when it's to their advantage?

Rather than endure additional years of dysfunction in one of the most important institutions of our Republic, we should address the problem on our own terms.

Click here to automatically add your name to our petition tell the Senate: Fix the filibuster.

6th October 2010, 17:21
The Sierra Club is taking action to fix the filibuster too:
Send a message to your senators to help get the Senate moving!

Nearly 400 legislative bills that have passed the House of Representatives have been blocked or prevented from debate by obstructionists in the Senate. Send a message to your senator to help get the Senate moving again.

Take Action: Break the GridlockTraffic
Nearly 400 legislative bills that have passed the House of Representatives have been blocked or prevented from debate by obstructionists in the Senate. This includes a comprehensive climate bill that passed the House only to die in the Senate.

The allies of Big Oil and Coal are going too far -- abusing a system that was designed to protect the rights of the minority, not polluting corporations. Only by fixing the Senate rules can we keep these obstructionists from standing in the way.
Click here to take action! http://action.sierraclub.org/site/Advoca...
Contact your Senators today and urge them to support rule changes to get the Senate working again!
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