Congressional Game of Chicken: Fixing Filibuster, Part IV

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

“Get out the old phone books,” as Chuck Todd suggests in the video below, if Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) are successful in bringing filibuster reform to the Senate. By using Senate rules, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) recessed the chamber at the end of Thursday’s proceedings to extend the legislative day until later this month. Debate will begin on January 22, two days after the inauguration.

“I think the conversation is going to continue between [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell [(R-Ky.)] and Harry Reid about this. I think they’re going to see if there’s a way to reach a bipartisan agreement, they’re still talking,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.).

“We’re going to preserve our rights, we’re going to stay in the first legislative day and deal with the rules when we get back after the inauguration,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a leading proponent of reform.[..]

Liberals say the Levin-McCain proposal is inadequate because it would not implement their highest-priority reform, the so-called talking filibuster.

Udall and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore), the leading advocates for filibuster reform, say lawmakers who filibuster legislation should be required to actively hold the floor and debate. This would make it more arduous for senators who want to hold up business – they would have to organize teams to hold the floor for days or even weeks on end.

Udall said he would have to be convinced to support the Levin-McCain plan because it would not implement a talking filibuster rule, which he said is “the heart of the matter”

He said Reid may insist on it as part of any overhaul of Senate rules.

“The talking filibuster is still very much on the table,” Udall said.

Real Senate filibuster reform needed

By Frank Knapp, Jr., vice chairman, American Sustainable Business Council Action Fund


Much of this problem lies with the voters rewarding extreme partisanship over cooperative problem solving and Congress making policy decisions that guarantee later stalemates.

However, there is one self-inflicted structural problem in the U.S. Senate that magnifies both these electorate and policy decisions – the filibuster.Except for rare occasions, the Senate is ruled by the minority. With 60 votes needed to end a filibuster that can essentially be “called-in” by the minority, the American public is being deprived both of a truly deliberative body and seeing the consequences of their voting behavior.

There is no transparency or accountability under today’s Senate filibuster rules. Consequently we have had an abusive and undemocratic use of filibusters in recent years at every step in the legislative process. The Senate has become frozen in its ability to address the nation’s problems, especially when it comes to promoting a healthy economy. That is why many business organizations like the American Sustainable Business Council, a national coalition of business organizations that together represent over 150,000 small and medium businesses, strongly supports filibuster reform.

Merkley, Udall Escalate Criticism Of Scaled-Back Filibuster Reform

by Sahil Kapur, TPMLiveWire

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM) held a briefing with reporters Thursday to make the case for adopting their “talking filibuster” proposal with 51 votes via the constitutional option. [..]

Udall said the Merkley-Udall plan has “good momentum” and said he believes it has the necessary 51 votes to pass under what Republicans call the “nuclear option.” Changing the rules ordinarily requires 67 votes.

On Filibuster Reform, Advocates Claim Momentum

by Ryan Grim and Sabrina Siddiqui, Huffington Post

The Senate postponed debate on reforming the filibuster Thursday, as advocates cited the support of 48 senators for eliminating the silent filibuster using the so-called constitutional option, a measure that requires 50 votes plus that of the vice president. [..]

The main component of the Merkley-Udall approach is the talking filibuster, which still enables the minority to filibuster legislation but would require them to do so by actually standing and speaking on the floor. Additionally, the proposal would also streamline conference committee assignments and nominations, and eliminate the motion to proceed — a motion typically offered by the majority leader to bring up a bill or other measure for consideration.

On this morning’s The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd, Sen. Merkley appeared to discuss why what he and Sen Udall propose is better filibuster reform and where the negotiations stand.


    • TMC on January 8, 2013 at 22:28

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