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After reading Filibuster fireworks likely for July earlier today, I did the usual and clicked on the link at the bottom to mail my Senators. I usually don't get a quick response, usually a week if any responses really.

Today though, a few hours after I sent off that form email, Senator Mikulski's office sent back a reply! I copied the email below the page break.

She brings up the need to eliminate secret holds and most importantly, creating a talking filibuster. Hopefully, as Dean of the Female Senators, Mikulski can convince others to support reform as well.

And be sure to do as I did and email your Senators to revisit filibuster rules.

Bolding is mine.

Dear Mr. Ewald:

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for changing Senate procedure and rules.  It's good to hear from you.

I share your frustrations with the way things have been going in the Senate.  The snail's pace of getting things done is unacceptable.  Americans deserve better.  Congress is here to represent the people and should be held accountable for our actions.

The rules of the Senate were outdated – which is why we needed to bring the Senate into the 21st century.  I was proud to support several reforms last Congress.  Now, Senators who wish to delay consideration of a measure must do so publicly – eliminating the practice of "secret holds."  Also, no one Senator will be able to force the reading of the text of an amendment, as so long as the amendment has been filed at least 72 hours in advance.

While I am pleased with what we achieved, I believe that we must do more.  That is why I have joined my Senate colleagues in introducing a resolution to limit the use of the filibuster (S. Res. 4).  Among other things, this resolution would prevent senators from using the filibuster on motions to proceed, and allow an open debate on legislation.  It would also create a "talking filibuster" by requiring a senator to speak on the Senate floor and voice their objections in public.

I was raised in a country where I thought the majority ruled.  For too long, the work we were sent here to do has been mired in delay and dysfunction. It's long past time the abuse of the filibuster be brought to an end.  You can count on me to keep fighting to break gridlock and deadlock and return to regular order.

Again, thanks for writing.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance to you in the future.


Barbara A. Mikulski

United States Senator

Originally posted to Aximill on Wed May 22, 2013 at 12:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by Maryland Kos.

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