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Filibuster reform is very close to happening. You know it's close because of the bipartisan gang freak-out in trying to derail it. Unfortunately, senators flock to "bipartisan" proposals like flies to porta-potties. At least when it comes to things like the precious dysfunction of Senate procedure.
WASHINGTON -- A small bipartisan group of senators opposed to broad filibuster reform are closing in on a compromise package that would derail the building momentum toward a rules change in January. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has been the most vocal internal opponent of substantial Senate rules reform, and Democratic sources say he is now finalizing talks with the bipartisan group of senators.

On Tuesday, Levin told HuffPost that he was optimistic an agreement would soon be reached and that he was opposed to the "talking filibuster," the most far-reaching reform on the table. "There's a lot of conversations going on. There's a lot of things I'm involved in. There's a lot of things that I think are going to happen -- that I'm optimistic are going to happen. I don't want to be more specific," he said. "I'm optimistic it's going to happen. Hopefully we're going to be able to work out something."

If it's bipartisan, it won't work. That's because Republicans don't want it to work. The Senate has gone this route before. Obviously, if it had worked the first two times, we wouldn't be where we are now, would we. That's a lesson that a handful of Democrats, like Levin, seem completely incapable of learning. One of them, schockingly enough, seems to be Chuck Schumer.
Schumer said the right filibuster package could sail through the upper chamber. "I would say there are 90 members of this chamber, a significant majority of both parties, which would like to see something change and are fed up with how the Senate works," he said. "It's a bipartisan yearning to fix it. Whether we can come to an agreement or not between the parties, we'll see."
There is no yearning on the part of Republicans to fix this. If there was, well then there wouldn't be any fixing needed, would there. Because those Republicans yearning to make the Senate function would have been doing that instead of helping the rest of the Republicans obstruct. Given that three of the Republican senators who might have been interested in helping out in the cause of bipartisanship (Richard Lugar, Olympia Snowe and Scott Brown) are gone, this is one more exercise in bipartisan futility.

We need real reform, not what a Senate Republican leadership aide calls "another ineffectual ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ or some watered-down cosmetic changes that won’t make the Senate more functional."

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 Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:56 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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