Washington, DC – Momentum for real Senate rules reform continues to build, with supportive developments occurring both inside and outside the chamber. Below are some of the key happenings and commentaries in regards to the ongoing rules reform debate:
• Senator Mitch McConnell filibusters his own bill – underscoring how politics drives obstruction and why Senate rules reform is needed: As Huffington Post reported, “A move to embarrass Democrats backfired on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday as the Kentucky Republican proposed a vote on raising the nation's debt ceiling -- then filibustered it when the Democrats tried to take him up on the offer.”
• Washington Post’s Katrina vanden Heuvel:” Our system, by design, protects minority voices, but it doesn’t sanction stalemate. Fortunately, when the curtain comes up on the new Congress, a group of senators will be ready to vote for change. Even President Obama has come out in support of Reid’s proposed, modest reforms, and the Fix the Senate Now coalition is mobilizing members of the public to urge their senators to do the same.”
• Senator Merkley (OR) Interview with ThinkProgress’ Ian Millhiser: “Nevertheless, the full package of reforms Merkley laid out yesterday add up to a very serious proposal that would curb many of the current minority’s worst abuses of the Senate rules, remove most of the blockade facing judicial and executive branch nominees, and transfer some of the pain of filibustering onto the people responsible for the filibuster. And Merkley appeared quite optimistic that filibuster reform will pass this year.”
• Common Cause’s Bob Edgar in Politico Opinion piece: “Let’s be clear: The filibuster does not protect debate. Instead, the rule transfers power from the majority to the minority, letting 41 out of 100 senators block even the start of debate on bills and nominees. Put another way, the 60-vote supermajority rule has become the de facto threshold over all Senate business, allowing the minority to wield a veto over the majority’s right to pass laws — something the framers contemplated but expressly rejected.”
Contact: Michael Earls at 202-261-2388
The Fix the Senate Now coalition includes 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).