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The CWA makes the case for reform.
According to Politico, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not likely to keep a requirement that opposing senators maintain a talking filibuster in his reform plan. He is, however, willing to move forward with the constitutional option—passing reforms with a simple, 51-majority vote. Which is kind of ridiculous. Using the constitutional option (the "nuclear option" in GOP-speak) is going to make the Republicans irate. If he's going to go so far as to use it, then he needs to make it really count, make it work for the strongest possible reform that includes the talking filibuster.

There is one idea he's considering, though, that's a good one.

Reid’s most pressing demand is to eliminate filibusters used to prevent debate on legislation from starting. He also wants to end filibusters used to prevent the Senate from convening conference committees with the House. And he’s eager to pare back the use of filibusters on certain presidential nominations.

Senators could still filibuster in any number of situations under this approach. But Reid is weighing whether to shift the burden of the filibuster from those who are seeking to defeat it onto those who are threatening to wage one. Rather than requiring 60 votes to break a filibuster, Reid is considering requiring at least 41 senators to sustain a filibuster. That would amount to a subtle shift to force opponents to ensure every senator is present in order to mount a filibuster.

The talking filibuster is certainly the most democratic approach, in a small-d sense. It creates more accountability, more transparency in the opposing party by making them stand up before the C-SPAN cameras and the American public and make their case. It's also hard work, something that far too few senators have actually had to do in their careers. It should simply be a part of their job description, to have to stand before the chamber and actually debate.

But forcing an opposing senator to line up 40 of his or her colleagues to join in a filibuster would also be an effective tool. This is especially the case on nominations, which are often filibustered for reasons completely unrelated to the nominee, but almost always pass with far more than the necessary 60 votes. Either one of these reforms would help, but in combination they would make the Senate function again.

Please send an email to your Democratic senator/s urging them to pass real filibuster reform including the talking filibuster and/or flipping the burden.

If you don't have a Democratic senator, call Reid's office at 202-224-3542, and tell him to include the talking filibuster and/or flipping the burden of the filibuster.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:40 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The filibuster suits Reid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckeyemike, midwesterner

    just fine. I have zero expectations on this front and the only fun to be had is wondering what will be thrown up as a shiny object if  filibuster reform ever becomes a serious possibility.

  •  i think harry may have a winning hand with this (11+ / 0-)


    if they need to round up 41 senators to launch a filibuster that is going to put a crimp in their style.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:43:52 AM PST

  •  Well, good. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, TLS66, ebrann

    "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not likely to keep a requirement that opposing senators maintain a talking filibuster in his reform plan."
    --That's a stupid idea IMO. All it means is that the R obstructionist asshats have an even easier time obstructing than they do now. And they'd use it to push their stupid talking points even more than currently, so this wouldn't help anything anyway.

    I'm all for getting rid of the current filibuster, but making it even easier for R crazy to jam things up? No. No "talking filibuster."

  •  filibuster on motion to proceed? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, bear83, We Won, Simplify, FistJab

    (I think that's the right term.)

    I thought Reid had given up on eliminating that filibuster.

    If he's still trying to get rid of that one, it's progress.

  •  On a scale of 1-10 I give Harry's ideas a 3. I (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MJB, bear83, noble experiment

    suppose they're better than nothing.

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:50:04 AM PST

  •  Reforms like this tend to start small and grow. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton, bear83, Noodles

    Look at civil rights bills. First two that passed in the 50s were essentially toothless. Eventually there were better ones. It would be nice to have the strongest reform possible but incremental reform beats nothing.

  •  Is this horse trading? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PorridgeGun

    Is this a strategic move in light of the Pending Gun fight?

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:53:59 AM PST

  •  A talking filibuster is a must, I think. (0+ / 0-)

    It's also a no brainer.

    I like the idea of the protection from a simple majority, with the responsibility of having to put some political skin on the line.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:58:46 AM PST

    •  Reid is beginning to remind me of a cat (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k9disc

      We once adopted a rescue cat who had been abused. As a result, she was afraid of people's hands. But she also wanted to be patted. So she did this back & forth thing when you held out your hand to pat her - stepping forward, then back, then forward, then back....

      We ended up naming her "Yo-yo."

      •  Or as President Merkin Muffley noted of a certain (3+ / 0-)

        base commander:

        "Well now, what happened is... ahm... one of our base commanders, he had a sort of... well, he went a little funny in the head... you know... just a little... funny. And, ah... he went and did a silly thing..."

        Come on Harry, are you that worried about preserving our precious bodily fluids (I mean the filibuster)?

        "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

        by TofG on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:20:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  it doesn't make any sense. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MJB, Egalitare, bear83, J M F, emal

    This is like eating your steak with a meat cleaver and a pitchfork. If you're going to use the blunt instrument of the 51 vote rule, use it for something effective.

    Seems to me we are headed towards something really weak in the end.

    •  Makes perfect sense if you want to preserve (0+ / 0-)

      filibuster a means for party governance.  It means that the fiibusters most likely to be broken are those of individual Senators (or rumps) will those sanctioned by the Party are almost certain not to be broken, just the opposite of what a Speaking Filibiuster likely would do (since, say, 8 or 10 arguing principle could round robin indefinitely, while either Party is likey to force a cave if all they have is repeating silly talking pts once the coats are brought in).  

      The result, of course, is that proposals either party as a party opposes are likely to be stripped from bills, or not included in the first place, if the sponosring Party actually wants it to pass.  A probably intended effect will be increasing the power of each Party's Leaders.  An intented or maybe unintended effect (thuogh I doubt it) will be to shift power further from public view into negotiations away from public scrutiny.

      I can see how this would be attractive to Reid, who is after all a Party Leader.  For one thing, it means the Ds would likely retain power to kill the most odious of Thug ideas when the day of inevitable minority comes.  OTOH, it likely only marginally improves governing, as stripping off 4 Thugs will either be very costly in all senses (see, Stim deal, Maine twins & Spector & ACA, 'Cornhusker kickback') or not be likely at all (since the fact that Thugs can't gerrymander a statewide election seems lost on most of them - See, Brown, Murdock, Aikins).

      •  In the long run, 41votes helps Reps more than Dems (0+ / 0-)

        Republicans have always maintained their ranks better than Dems.  So requiring unity to sustain a filibuster will allow the filibuster to be effective when Repubs are in the minority.  When Dems are in the minority, not so much.

        Of course, I fully expect Repubs to eliminate the filibuster when they are in the majority again.   They will use the nuclear option and they will say Dems did it first.

        •  Agree on all but last. I'm not so sure all Thug ' (0+ / 0-)

          nuclear' bs wasn;t just a great big bluff/negotiating tool.  Do you think they can't see what the legislation in the first 2 years would have been if they hadn;t been able to gum it up?

          They believe 'buying' voters with 'entitlements' is always popular.  They're agenda is to abolish those popular entitlements and give the $ to corps and the rich.  Do you really think they don't understand the legislation from the backlash from doing so would likely be a whole lot worse for thier bosses than the status quo with whittling they can acheive with the filibuster?

          Remember, these are the same Thugs who run promsing to all but abolish abortion for 40 years and never even tried to do that when they had power.  Yet, the rubes continue to swallow the bs hook, line and sinker.  Thugs figure the Tea-rubes and Tax-rubes and all there other rubes will do the same.  Not surprising, given the utter contempt they have shown for almost all people.

  •  Cave and cave again... (0+ / 0-)

    He caved once and liked it a lot.  So he's going to cave again because it feels soooo goood.....

  •  51 votes to change rules (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaveW

    Is the most important thing of all the inadequate reform proposals I have seen.  That is the core item liberals should be most concerned with - once a real rule change happens with 51 votes, it will "break the seal" and lead to future, easier rule changes that eventually break the filibuster.

    This is one area where the form and process matter more (for the moment) than the substance.

  •  While I would prefer the talking filibuster, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, Egalitare, bear83, DaveW

    (its the romantic in me, who grew up watching Mr. Smith goes to Washington, I guess), I could live with flipping the burden.  In some ways, that is a more profound reform, because the presumption in then in favor of cloture.

  •  JAVA issue??? (0+ / 0-)

    In light of the recent diary here warning about security holes in Java, supported by Homeland Security, and suggesting that Java be removed from one's PC to prevent a security breach, why then does the "Please send an email to your Democratic senator..." require having Javascript enabled in order to perform this action???

    I deleted Java, waiting for Oracle to fix this issue, and, of course, I can't use the link.

    Hey, DKos, what is up with that???

    "We will find fulfillment not in the goods that we have, but in the good we can do for each other." ~ RFK

    by paz3 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:19:26 AM PST

    •  JavaScript is not Java (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, Simplify

      They are in fact completely unrelated, as they were invented and maintained by completely different people using totally unrelated standards.

      So do keep JavaScript enabled, it will not expose you to any of the vulnerabilities in Java.

      "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

      by Drobin on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:27:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bill Moyers also had a post (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, We Won, midwesterner

    via Nation of Change

    Moyers Essay: Take Action on Filibuster Reform
    Bill Moyer

    Published: Friday 18 January 2013

    Unless the Senate reforms the filibuster at the beginning of the new 113th Congress—that’s as soon as next Tuesday, January 22—the minority wrecking crew remains in charge for the next two years.
    Also see

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:19:38 AM PST

  •  According to "sources" ???? Meh. (0+ / 0-)

    Let me know when we have something substantial to complain about, please.

    If you don't like abortion, don't have one! Trust The Women t-shirt from Zazzle.

    by jan4insight on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:26:17 AM PST

  •  Weak. Gutless. Thank God we all bust our ass and (0+ / 0-)

    give our dollars to hold onto the Senate majority, only to have it really not matter because no Dem policies, judges, etc. ever see the light of day regardless.

  •  I like 'flip the burden' (4+ / 0-)

    That's a strong reform. It means McConnell could only afford to lose 4 senators' votes to keep a filibuster going, and they wouldn't even have to vote for cloture, they could just stay in a DC bar and not vote.

    Reducing the post-cloture clock and reducing the ability to delay judicial nominations - if that's included - would be great as well.

    I'd prefer the talking filibuster mainly due to the accountability it would bring by putting a face on those that are stalling. But this other stuff is a start.

    Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

    by bear83 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:32:22 AM PST

  •  Well, it's something. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaveW

    It's better than nothing in that all 41 filibusters will have to go on the record each and every time they do it and Reid could call for the vote requiring any absent filibusters to jet back to Washington.    

    And while he's suing the 50+1 approach to modifying the rules, he ought to adopt a rule that allows the filibuster issue to be revisited throughout the session if needed so that if the GOP decides to use a loophole to continue its obstruction, then the majority can adopt a reasonable fix.  Having that sword hanging over them might ensure better GOP behavior.


    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.—Carl Schurz
    Give 'em hell, Barry—Me

    by KingBolete on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:32:40 AM PST

    •  Great points. Having to be on record individually (0+ / 0-)

      totally changes the atmosphere from just hiding behind a party action. As it is now, a filibuster is essentially a passive move, "just going along with my party." It leaves no individual record. With Reid's proposal, there would be a vote on record (and available on Cspan, presumably) that would make powerful fodder for ads in the next election.

      Your idea for the other new rule is brilliant. It would knock the legs out of the arrogant bully behavior we've seen from the GOP so far. I hope people here and elsewhere see this and push hard for it. It deserves wider exposure.

  •  Flipping the burden is more important than talking (1+ / 0-)
  •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

    Why is Reid still the majority leader?  He admitted he was wrong with his handshake deal.  Grow a pair and make the Senate work or get out of the way so someone else can.

  •  Effect is to make Senate more partisan, as the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Algernons Labyrinth, DaveW

    procedure shifts from break a filibuster to sustaining it.  The only way to get 41 votes, most likely, will be bc the party doesn't want the bill.

    Now, this may just be recognition of reality, but it would be a continuation of the fundamental change in the Senate, since the 'radicalization' of Thugs began circa 1976, from deliberative body to partisan.  The effect will be that individual Senators, or even rump groups, will likely not be able to sustain a filibuster for even the time they could under a 'talking filibuster' requiremet, while a party sanctioned filibuster could likely never be broken bc either party having less than 41 (or really 44) seats is historically rare.

    Not surprising given the source, another likely effect of this 'parlimentarization' of the Senate will be to increase the Leaders' power.

    •  Since the GOP votes in lockstep (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal, PorridgeGun, ebrann

      This proposal would be utterly useless in curbing filibuster abuse.   Dems are sometimes able to carve off a few GOP votes here and there in the Senate, but there's no way they could prevent the GOP getting 41 votes every time they want to filibuster something.  

      Better to go with the talking filibuster. What is Reid afraid of, that Dems might actually be able to make the Senate work for a change?  

      Maybe Reid fears his own party's votes in the Senate more than those of the GOP.

      Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:10:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. It depends on whether you think the problem (0+ / 0-)

        is partisan gridlock or individual or rump 'holds'.  I think the talking filibuster would likely take care of both of the worst of those.  Hence, I think Ried's idea is about preserving the filibuster as a partisan tool.

        I also don't understand how you can't do both.  Surely, if the issue is fundementally partisan you can get more than a handful of party members to stand and yak round robin?

  •  Think I'll go with whatever Harry comes up with. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    We Won, DaveW

    I don't  often feel or think this but Harry seems to be on top of his game and understands what can and can't be done and what is the best way to move forward much better than I am capable of. Just winning his last election and then talking shit about Romney during the fall and getting so many of Obama's appointments through last month and so on.....I am really impressed!

  •  The forty supporter rule for imposing a filibuster (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, DaveW, rbird

    sounds like a great idea. And frankly, I think that the constitutional option sounds a lot more effective than the talking-filibuster idea. So I feel positive about these developments.

  •  The talking filibuster is the least important (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, DaveW

    part of the reform. I think getting rid of secret holds, limiting the length a nominee/bill can be held and limiting the # of holds each Senator gets each term is much, much more important than the talking filibuster. It seems the netroots have latched onto this portion of reform because it creates great optics, while ignoring the real reform that needs to happen.

    President Obama at Madison Rally 9/28/2010 - "Change is not a spectator sport."

    by askew on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:50:11 AM PST

  •  Why is this Reid's decision to make? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rbird, PorridgeGun

    Since when is he the sole arbiter of what Senate Dems wish to accomplish on the filibuster?  He isn't.  

    Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:06:35 PM PST

  •  Difference in republicans and irate repubblicans (0+ / 0-)

    Zero

    A fool and his money are soon elected. -Marx, Groucho

    by Garth1066 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:09:01 PM PST

  •  Called him (0+ / 0-)

    His staffers were getting an earful from others, so I left a message.  Heh, I'm lucky in this, since my senators are among the ring-leaders of the reform movement.  I don't have to heckle them, I can spend all my time heckling Reid.  Unfortunately, I'm not a resident of Nevada, so my heckling doesn't carry quite the weight it would otherwise.

    Tell me what to write. tellmewhattowrite.com 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

    by rbird on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:23:16 PM PST

  •  I'd like to see the filibuster abolished entirely, (1+ / 0-)

    but that ain't gonna happen, so Reid's proposal is a decent compromise. Shifting the burden of maintaining a filibuster to the minority is huge. It will change the whole dynamic from the lazy, pro-forma, near-invisible blockading we see now to shining a light on individual votes. It will  much force the media to quit reporting filibusters as "Senate fails to pass SB xxx" when in fact the bill got 59 votes. They're going to have to squirm hard to keep letting the minority off the hook.

    I'd like the drama of the talking filibuster, but it's worth sacrificing for the real meat of the issue. The Reid plan would not only force senators to be present for every vote, but would require them to go on record individually voting to obstruct. It would shift the narrative from "crappy Congress" to "shithead Senator Gop".

    This, along with King Bolete's proposal a few posts up to change the rules to allow the issue to be revisited under the same 51-vote rule, is the heart of reform. No harm in agitating  to include the talking fil, but we'd do ourselves a favor by not making it top priority.

    Joan, I appreciate your work here, but think you messed up with your negative lead. If the reports are correct, Reid's plan would be big reform. The talking veto is just a side dish. Your first paragraph just injected self-destructive cynicism into what has to be an all-out fight for the reforms that really matter. Your treatment didn't motivate getting those emails sent.

  •  Requiring 41 votes in support of a filibuster (1+ / 0-)

    is more than a "subtle shift".  It's a death knell.

    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

    by Observerinvancouver on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:47:46 PM PST

  •  WHY?? (0+ / 0-)

    "Reid reportedly backing away from talking filibuster in reform proposal"

    Why does this not surprise me in the least?  Down deep, I( felt along that when push comes to shove, Harry Reid would cave, like he does every time he gets a chance to let the Republicans ream him.

    If I choose to give my loyalty to a person or a group, I expect something in return.  In the case of Jesus Christ, I expect absolute truth without any qualifiers.  In the case of Democrats, both as individuals and as a group, I expect guts.  Ir they say that they are going to take a position on a particular issue, then I expect them to hold to that position through thick and thin, no matter what.

    I truly was stupid enough to believe Harry Reid when he talked about toughening the filibuster rules.  Little wonder that I feel betrayed by his now turning chicken.

    Just this word to the Democrats:  My support of you is not chiseled in stone or cast in concrete.  If you love being reamed by the Republicans, I can't help that.  But I can -- and WILL -- remove my support from you and your positions on the issues.  If you insist on supporting the Republicans in everything, then I might as well take my support to the source -- and I may just decide to do so.

  •  Time to primary Reid (0+ / 0-)

    Harry Reid is a spineless appeaser.
    First drum him out of any leadership position for his complete lack of leadership, then primary him out of his job.

  •  The 41 Vote Rule (1+ / 0-)

    This was proposed several years ago by Norm Ornstein and it remains probably one of the best ways to reform the filibuster.  If they want it, make them produce the votes to sustain it.

  •  Points of Optimism (1+ / 0-)

    First regarding revising the rules to require 41 Senators to start/sustain an filibuster is a positive alternative to the talking filibuster (although I would like both).  As I said in this Diary, of all the new rules I've heard of so far, this ones my favorite.  It would require that the minority stick together to maintain a filibuster.  If just a handful of Senators on the minority side can be picked off or simply get tired having to debate something they may not be enthusiastic about, debate would be limited.  The majority would not have to muster a single vote so they would be free of the burden of having to beg for 60 votes.  The reason I like this rule so much is that if you are going to filibuster a bill, it should be your burden to sustain it, not the majority's burden to end it.

    The other point of optimism is that Reid is apparently willing to use the Constitutional Option.  That must mean that we have at least 51 Dem. Senators willing to vote for these rules as Merkley is claiming.

    Stay Tuned, "Day One" is Tuesday the 22nd!

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 02:31:59 PM PST

  •  now we're settling for (0+ / 0-)

    and/or? Looks like business as usual to me. I wonder who got to Reid??

    when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

    by bunsk on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:16:07 PM PST

  •  I don't care how they do it, but so help me god... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    downtownLALife

    I don't care how they do it, but so help me god, if they don't reform the rules in a way that limits or eliminates the ability of Republicans to stall legislation, I'm just going to go ballistic every time some Senate Democrat complains about Republican obstructionism. We know the Republicans are going to obstruct. Many of their constituents want them to obstruct. If the Democrats refuse to do anything to tangibly address Republican obstructionism, then you are basically conceding that you don't want the Senate to pass good legislation that helps the American people if it also upsets your corporate benefactors. This concerns the basic relevance of the Democratic party when it comes to standing up for the middle-class and working poor.

    We just can't stand for it as a party. Not with all the important issues we're facing over the next couple of years. We cannot allow our Senators to just throw their hands up in the air when critical legislation is blocked by filibuster abuse.

  •  the dilrod is not exactly walking the talk (0+ / 0-)

    at least the teabaggers raise hell and stick with it.
    with the leverage we have- my gosh, go for the gut.
    again and again.

    People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think. -George Carlin

    by downtownLALife on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:57:32 PM PST

  •  Reid has no spine (0+ / 0-)

    or balls. Repairing the filibuster is the #1 thing we need to do right now. No excuses, no compromises.

    Bold Progressive. Deal with it.

    by novenator on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 04:59:43 AM PST

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