In this Saturday’s segment of “What We Now Know,” Up host, Steve Kornacki up dates last week’s show and notes that the fight for real filibuster reform is not over. He discusses what they have learned this week with panel guests Mary C Curtis, The Washington Post; State Sen. Kelvin Atkinson (D-NV); John Amaechi, former NBA player; and Mike Pesca, NPR.
Progressives Urge Filibuster Reform Revival In Senate
by Sabrina Siddiqui, Huffington Post
Progressive and labor groups on Thursday renewed calls for Senate leaders to reform filibuster rules that have allowed Republicans to repeatedly stonewall presidential nominees and legislation, including gun control.
Fix the Senate Now, a coalition of more than 70 progressive and labor organizations sent a letter to Senate leaders focusing on judicial vacancies. Republicans have repeatedly used filibusters to block President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees. The coalition’s letter urges Senate leaders to change rules requiring 60 votes to break a filibuster.
Jeff Merkley Escalates Push For Filibuster Reform
by Sahil Kapur, TPMDC
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is teaming up with the liberal advocacy group Democracy For America to build public awareness of filibuster abuse and court supporters for reform.
“It’s now clear the experiment has failed. The Senate remains broken,” Merkley wrote to supporters. “Senate Republicans continue to force delays – even on bills with overwhelming public support, and even on nominees widely considered well-qualified.” [..]
Senate Democrats have the option to weaken the filibuster at any time with 51 votes, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has repeatedly threatened to use that “nuclear option” if Republicans don’t stop blocking presidential nominees. Hardly any Democrats have publicly ruled out using that option to fix the Senate. But behind the scenes, despite anger at the GOP now, there is concern that weakening the filibuster could come back to haunt them when Republicans return to power and, for instance, seek to weaken abortion rights.
Merkley insists he’d be just as strong a supporter of his plan if he were in the minority, arguing that the point of the filibuster is to debate, not to obstruct in the dark.
Obama ‘comfortable’ with FDA’s lowered age limit for ‘Plan B’
By Michael O’Brien, Political Reporter, NBC News
President Barack Obama said that he was “comfortable” with new federal regulations making emergency contraception available to women and girls over the age of 15, but said more study was needed to see whether it was safe to allow access to the “morning after” pill for girls younger than that. [..]
On Wednesday, the FDA agreed to lower the age limit to 15 for sales of “Plan B One-Step,” and to make the emergency contraceptive available in the general aisles of stores instead of behind the pharmacy counter.
Justice Department to appeal judge’s Plan B order
By JoNel Aleccia, Senior Writer, NBC News
U.S. Department of Justice officials have filed notice that they will appeal a federal judge’s order requiring the Food and Drug Administration to make the so-called “morning after” pill available without a prescription to all women without age or certain sales restrictions.
The department also has asked the federal district court to stay its order, which was set to take effect on May 6, according to Allison Price, a spokeswoman.
The move comes a day after the FDA agreed to lower the age limit to 15 for sales of non-prescription Plan B One-Step emergency contraception and to make the drug available in the general aisles of stores with pharmacies, instead of behind the counter.
Iraq Violence Leads To Deadliest Month In 5 Years
by Eline Gordts, Huffington Post
With more than 700 people killed in just 30 days, April was the deadliest month in Iraq in five years. According to the United Nations Mission in the country, 712 Iraqis lost their lives in acts of terrorism and acts of violence in the month of April. Nearly 600 of the dead were civilians.
The string of attacks continued in the first days of May. On Friday, a bomb outside a Sunni mosque in Rashidiya killed at least seven, the Associated Press reported. In a separate incident, nine police officers and four militants were killed during clashes Thursday evening in the northern city of Mosul.