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Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-1) is circulating a letter amongst her colleagues that urges Majority Leader Harry Reid to end the current practice of "silent filibusters" so the Senate can vote on the 290 bills that have already been passed by the House.

The full text of her letter is below. I ask you to contact your Congressman and ask them to sign onto it; only through real pressure will the Democratic Senate leaders change this rule and make Republicans actually work at their obstructionism.

UPDATE: I was asked if there was a list of those Rep's that have signed on. To date (5:00 p.m. EST), here it is:

Chellie Pingree
Phil Hare
Peter Welch
Anthony Weiner
Jim Moran
Michael Michaud
Carol Shea Porter
John Bocceri
Jared Polis
Nikki Tsongas
Barbra Lee
Betty Sutton
Alcee Hastings
Mazie Hirono

Call and give them some props!

Dear Majority Leader Reid:

As the Senate continues its work on many important measures, we strongly urge you to end the procedural practice of allowing for a "silent filibuster" on legislation pending before the Senate. Currently, there are 290 House-passed bills that are awaiting action in the Senate - many of which are crucial pieces of legislation that will restore our financial institutions, reform our health care system, rebuild our nation's infrastructure, end our dependence on foreign oil, and put Americans back to work. By ending the "silent filibuster", a small group of obstructionist Senators who choose to block essential pieces of legislation will be forced to do so in the public eye, and commit substantial time and effort to the process.  

As you know, a traditional filibuster requires both sides of the aisle to debate an issue openly on the Senate Floor, making their positions clear to the American people. Unfortunately, the current practice of a "silent filibuster" allows one side of the isle - or one Senator - to avoid debate and silently block critically important legislation.

By providing anonymity and requiring almost no work, the practice of a "silent filibuster" incentivizes Senators to block pieces of legislation rather than work to craft a suitable compromise. This, in turn, has essentially brought the Senate legislative process to a grinding halt and caused an unprecedented backlog of hundreds of House-passed measures currently awaiting consideration on the Senate Floor.  

We strongly urge you to end the practice of the "silent filibuster" and quickly bring the House-passed measures that are ready for consideration to the Senate Floor without fear of a filibuster. As the Senate Majority Leader, you have the right to call for a vote on any of these critically important pieces of legislation-and we urge you to exercise that right where it is appropriate.  

This Congress has a choice between the failed policies of the past-tax breaks for the rich, deregulation of Wall Street and letting CEOs control health care-and the change this country truly deserves.  If any Senator chooses to filibuster efforts to create jobs, crack down on Wall Street, and fix our broken health care system, then they must make that choice in full view of the American people and commit the time and effort required for such a procedure.

Thank you for considering our request and for your hard work on behalf of your state and the American people.

Amongst the legislation that now sits before the Senate:

Supporting America’ families and communities

H.R. 12, Paycheck Fairness Act
H.R. 1728, Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act
H.R. 2749, Food Safety Enhancement Act
H.R. 3221, Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act
H.R. 3631, Medicare Premium Fairness Act
H.R. 3639, Expedited CARD Reform for Consumers Act
H.R. 4213, Tax Extenders Act
H.R. 3791, Fire Grants Reauthorization Act
H.R. 577, Vision Care for Kids Act

Cracking down on Wall Street

H.R. 384, TARP Reform and Accountability Act
H.R. 1586, To impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain TARP recipients
H.R. 1664, Regarding executive compensation practices of companies receiving TARP funds
H.R. 2664, Promoting Transparency in Financial Reporting Act
H.R. 2873, Enhanced SEC Enforcement Authority Act
H.R. 4173, Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

Helping Small Business

H.R. 1838, Amending Small Business Act to modify certain provisions regarding women’s business centers
H.R. 1839, To amend the Small Business Act to improve SCORE
H.R. 1842, Expanding Entrepreneurship Act
H.R. 1845, Small Business Development Centers Modernization
H.R. 3014, Small Business Health Information Technology Financing Act
H.R. 3737, Small Business Microlending Expansion Act
H.R. 3738, Small Business Early-Stage Investment Act
H.R. 3743, Small Business Disaster Readiness and Reform Act

Creating clean energy jobs

H.R. 3165, Wind Energy Research and Development Act
H.R. 3585, Solar Technology Roadmap Act

Supporting our nation’s veterans

H.R. 403, Homes for Heroes Act
H.R. 466, Wounded Veteran Job Security Act
H.R. 1168, Veterans Retraining Act
H.R. 1211, Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act
H.R. 1293, Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act
H.R. 1803, Veterans Business Center Act
H.R. 2990, Disabled Military Retiree Relief Act
H.R. 3219, Veterans’ Insurance and Health Care Improvements Act
H.R. 3949, Veterans’ Small Business Assistance and Servicemembers Protection Act

Originally posted to Dirigo Blue on Mon Mar 01, 2010 at 11:32 AM PST.

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