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 Here on Inauguration Day it's a good time to reflect on the tremendous hope we felt four years ago.
   Not only was Barack Obama inaugurated as our 44th president, but we also had nice, solid majorities in both Houses of Congress. If you recall the agenda back then, it included a nice big stimulus package, major health care reform (to include a Public Option), the Employee Free Choice Act to help foster growth in the Union movement, Firm action on Global Climate Change, passage of the Dream Act and comprehensive immigration reform, and so on.

  But precious little of that agenda occurred, mostly owing to Republican obstructionism. And what they used to obstruct was the filibuster rule in the Senate.

   More over the fold

  The Filibuster Rule has become something of a misnomer. It exists so that the minority Party in the Senate can be heard in extended debate. The Minority is able to use this tool to forestall legislation by shining the light of Public attention on their contentions.

   What has happened is that the filibuster has morphed into the Obstructionist Rule. It is no longer used in extraordinary circumstances, but on such a regular basis, that 60 votes have become required to pass anything in the Senate. It has become a perversion of its original intent.

   Back in the 111th Congress the House of Representatives passed hundreds of pieces of legislation which died a death of obstruction in the Senate. Among these were The Public Option, Cap and Trade, The Dream Act, and on and on.
   In the 113th Congress, if the Senate returns the Filibuster Rule closer to its true intent, they will be able to pass some huge pieces of legislation. Pressure will mount on the House to follow suit, at least in bi-partisan (mostly Democratic votes) fashion, because the more they obstruct, the more likely for the GOP to lose the House in 2014.

   With the current 'filibuster' rule, not much happens. With reform, much is possible. Please read Joan McCarter's diary for more information on tomorrow's vote, and to sign thepetition to send a message to your Senators:
  Here's a good summary from Chris Bowers e-mail message:  

...during lunch tomorrow—Tuesday, January 22—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is going to tell his fellow Democratic senators what filibuster reform package they will attempt to move forward with as a caucus.

After months and years of fighting to end unaccountable obstruction in the Senate, we can't come away from this round without something big. That means one of two things:

Either a talking filibuster that requires senators to continuously talk on the floor of the chamber to keep their obstruction going,
And/or flipping the burden from the current 60 votes required to overcome a filibuster to instead mandating that 41 votes are necessary to uphold a filibuster.
Before tomorrow's lunch, we need to make our voices heard on filibuster reform one more time.

 By all means, contact your Senators to demand meaningful reform, but above all contact Majority Leader Harry Reid to let him know that the eyes of the Nation are on him tomorrow to see if he backs up his words with action or not. From Joan's diary:    
And in May, after Senate Republicans blocked the reauthorization of the Export-Import bank, (Harry)Reid stated, “If there were ever a time when Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley were prophetic, it’s tonight. These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate, and we didn’t. They were right. The rest of us were wrong—or most of us, anyway. What a shame. [...] If there were anything that ever needed changing in this body, it’s the filibuster rules, because it’s been abused, abused, abused.”
Sen. Reid in July: “We could have [changed the rules] in the last Congress.  But I got on the Senate floor and said that I made a mistake and I should have helped with that.”
 Tomorrow, the rubber will hit the road, and Harry Reid is driving. Give him a buzz (multiple offices), and tell him to stand up for the People on this one. Here's his contact info:  
Carson City
600 East William Street, #304
Carson City, NV 89701
Phone: 775-882-7343 / Fax: 775-883-1980

Las Vegas
Lloyd D. George Building
333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Suite 8016
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: 702-388-5020 / Fax: 702-388-5030

Bruce R. Thompson Courthouse and Federal Building
400 South Virginia Street, Suite 902
Reno, NV 89501
Phone: 775-686-5750 / Fax: 775-686-5757

Rural Nevada
If you live in Esmeralda, Lincoln, or Nye Counties:
Phone: 702-388-5020 / Fax: 702-388-5030
If you live in Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing, Storey or White Pine County:
Phone: 775-686-5750 / Fax: 775-686-5757

522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3542 / Fax: 202-224-7327
Toll Free for Nevadans: 1-866-SEN-REID (736-7343) - Restricted to calls originating from area codes 775 and 702

Reid Newsroom
Sen. Reid’s Nevada Press Office 202-224-9521 (for inquiries from Nevada media)
Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center 202-224-2939

Please call, this is the big one!

I will call/e-mail/tweet Harry Reid and/or my Senators to demand meaningful filibuster reform

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| 13 votes | Vote | Results

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