Major Progressive Leaders: Seize the Moment & Fix the Senate

Washington, DC – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is reported to be working to advance a substantive package of Senate rules reforms this week and is prepared to use the constitutional option to enact reform, if necessary. To support the push for real reform, dozens of organizations involved in the Fix the Senate Now coalition have sent over 2.5 million emails to members on the importance of fixing the Senate, leading to more than 75,000 phone calls and nearly one million petition signatures delivered to Senate offices.

Today, in advance of this week’s activities, leaders and principals involved in Fix the Senate Now are speaking out, calling on the Senate to take advantage of the opportunity to enact real Senate reforms:

  • Nan Aron, President of Alliance for Justice: “Senate Democrats soon will make a decision that will have profound consequences not just for this year or this Congress, but for decades.  If they support using the constitutional option to enact real rules reform, they can end the gridlock that has paralyzed the Senate and done incalculable harm to millions of Americans.  Yes, it is the current Republican minority that broke the Senate.  They placed their desire to undermine the presidency of Barack Obama ahead of the needs of the American people.  Now the question is, who will fix it?  If rules reform fails, then every time the nomination of a good judge is thwarted, and every time progressive legislation fails to get an up-or-down vote, responsibility will rest with those few who failed to take decisive action when they had the opportunity.”
  • Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club: “The American people are sick and tired of a Washington that doesn’t work, where corporate polluters profit while progress on our most pressing problems is obstructed. Our Senators have a real opportunity to change the status quo by passing true filibuster reform, and the Sierra Club and our 2.1 million members and supporters urge them to put the best interests of American families before more obstructionism.”
  • Larry Cohen, President of the Communications Workers of America (CWA): “More than a million constituents have weighed in for changes in the Senate rules. Senators must vote to end gridlock.  We cannot let this moment in history pass.  Working families cannot continue to pay the price for the Senate's inaction and its inability to debate the issues that are so important to our families and communities.” 
  • Mary Kay Henry, International President of SEIU: "Meaningful debate on issues that shape the future of our country ranging from immigration reform to healthcare implementation must be discussed in the next Congress.  We must act now to ensure the Senate will be able to debate critical issues."
  • Ben Jealous, President of NAACP: "The American people are losing faith in our democratic political process.  We need to act now and end silent filibusters that run rampant in the U.S. Senate.  The American people deserve more transparency and accountability and to hear a full debate on issues that have such a profound impact on their lives."
  • Michael Waldman, President of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law: “The U.S. Senate and Majority Leader Reid have a historic opportunity to fix the Senate. The last Congress was one of the least productive of all time. We urge Senator Reid and his colleagues to rise to the moment. They must reject yet another handshake deal and support real change in the Senate. It’s time to cut down on needless obstruction and gridlock. Fixing the filibuster is the first step in revitalizing our government.”

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