Fix the Senate Now

Washington, DC – Renewed focus on how Senate obstruction is hurting our judiciary offers a reminder of why Senate rules reform – including a focus on streamlining the nominations process – is so sorely needed. Currently, 20 judicial nominees await Senate floor votes, including 12 who would fill vacancies that the U.S. Courts have declared to be “judicial emergencies.”

Fix the Senate Now

(Crossposted at the Brennan Center for Justice.)

On Monday, Senator Mitch McConnell warned that changing the Senate rules by a majority vote, a procedure known as the “constitutional option,” would cause “irreparable harm” by “breaking the rules to change the rules.”

Fix the Senate Now

Filibuster reform is showing up on editorial pages around the country.  The confrontation about the rules between Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor has brought new attention to the causes of Senate gridlock and the proposed solutions.

Fix the Senate Now

Washington, DC – A range of outside observers are calling for substantial U.S. Senate rules reform to cut down on unprecedented obstruction and to again allow the chamber to function as a deliberative body.  From the re-launch of the Fix the Senate Now coalition to support from some of the nation’s leading editorial pages and political columnists, the effort to reform Senate rules is gathering steam and support.  Recent supportive commentary from outside observers includes the following:

Fix the Senate Now

Washington, DC – With U.S. Senate rules and filibuster reform back in the news, much of the coverage has focused on how the reform process is likely to unfold. However, as the Fix the Senate Now coalition notes today, the renewed focus on “how” the Senate achieves reform should not distract from “why” the chamber should pursue reform in the first place.  

Fix the Senate Now

Senate rules reform was a hot button topic in the press and around the nation this week. President Obama declared his support and the Fix the Senate coalition officially launched on Wednesday. Here’s a glimpse of the key stories from the week:

Fix the Senate Now

Washington, DC – With the topic of U.S. Senate rules reform back in the news, the Alliance for Justice, the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the Sierra Club, and the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) today announced the re-formulation of the Fix the Senate Now coalition to support the push for substantive Senate reforms.  
 

Fix the Senate Now

More newspapers joined the call for Senate rules reform this week. Here’s what they had to say:

“In the past, filibusters were relatively rare. They were used to defend minority rights and ensure legislation got a full debate. Today, the minority party – whichever party happens to be the minority at the moment – uses the filibuster routinely to require 60 votes to get nearly anything done. In other words, the minority uses it to make the majority fail. How are voters to judge the majority party, when its progress is largely stymied by a filibustering minority?”

Fix the Senate Now

Here’s a scary thought: At a time when American leadership is a fundamental necessity at home and abroad, can you imagine the United States without a Secretary of Defense or a Secretary of State?

Rumors are swirling that United Nations Ambassador Dr. Susan Rice might be in line to take over for the retiring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Also, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, could be tapped to take over the retiring Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.