Skip to main content

A screen capture of Jimmy Stewart's character holding a filibuster in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
The Huffington Post reports that in a whip count they've compiled through interviews and reporting, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could have the 51 votes he needs to push filibuster reform next month, with the new Congress.
A number of senators who had been leery of going nuclear now are ready to press the button. "Democrats are considering three rules changes, and in the best of all worlds I wish we could just to do them on a bipartisan basis and come very close to what's being discussed," Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) told HuffPost. "If we can't, then at the end of the day, the need for change is so dramatic that we should use this constitutional approach."
There's still strong Democratic opposition, namely Sens. Carl Levin and Mark Pryor, but the influx of new senators, Tammy Baldwin (WI), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Martin Heinrich (NM), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Mazie Hirono (HI), Tim Kaine (VA), Chris Murphy (CT) and Angus King (ME) leaves them in a distinct minority. They're potentially losing members, as well. Sen. Dianne Feinstein told Huffington Post that she's open to the proposals.

This comes with a massive new push from the "Fix the Senate" coalition, which Daily Kos is part of. The coalition has written to Senate leadership to offer support, and to encourage a package of reforms that will make the Senate function again. Those reforms are:

  • Eliminate the ability to filibuster the motion to proceed;
  • Require that those wishing to block legislation or nominations take the floor and actually filibuster— i.e., mandating “talking filibusters”;
  • Assert that 41 Senators must affirmatively vote to continue debate rather than forcing 60 Senators to vote to end debate; and,
  • Streamline the nomination process so that nominees will get a yes or no vote on the Senate floor, including a reduction of the required 30 hours of post cloture debate on a nominee to 2 hours.
The talking filibuster is a much-needed reform, but what would be even more effective is flipping the vote requirement: Instead of having to have 60 affirmative votes to go forward on legislation, the opposition would have to round up 41 senators to stand up and vote to obstruct it, to go on record as standing in the way of governing. That's an extremely common-sense reform that doesn't threaten the rights of the minority, but makes the minority responsible for its actions. In fact, it not only doesn't take away their rights, it gives them another opportunity to vote!

Tell your senator to vote to make the filibuster a real, talking filibuster that requires affirmative votes to continue.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 01:56 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site