“Amen Brother”

Since some of you do not like to link, I am going to steal this whole post from KOS.

Today I got extremely lucky. I switched out the CD in my car, and when that happened, the radio clicked on to our local NPR station. Lo and behold, Senator Harry Reid was on the State of Nevada program, and he was taking questions from callers. I had never successfully managed to call in to one of those programs, but today, I was determined to snap the losing streak; today, against the cacophony of discussions involving gun control and the deficit, I needed to call attention to an issue that will affect every single piece of business that the Senate will address this year. It’s an issue that, if properly addressed, may very well change the power dynamic in Washington. It’s a problem that is eminently fixable, and Senator Reid alone has the power to fix it. I am talking about the movement to reform the filibuster. Follow me below the fold for links to the program!

If you click here you will be able to access the audio feed for today’s program. My call comes in approximately 43:40 into the show.

I asked Senator Reid if he supports the Mekley/Udall proposal to reform the filibuster In short, this proposal would:

1. Require Senators who are filibustering to actually hold the floor a la “Mr. Smith goes to Washington” and debate…you know, the whole point of stopping Senate business in the first place;

2. Change the rules so that instead of requiring 60 votes to end a filibuster, 40 Senators must affirmatively vote to keep it going; and

3. End a Senator’s ability to filibuster in certain situations, like a motion to proceed. A motion to proceed allows for debate on a piece of legislation on the Senate floor. Under the current rules, the Republicans have been filibustering motions to proceed, thus invoking their right to unlimited debate in order to stifle debate altogether.

These are critical and common sense reforms. Such a package would preserve the minority’s right to debate while simultaneously reining in the wholesale abuse of that right that the Republicans have used to effectively break the Senate. We desperately need this fix, and it is up to us to let our Senators know that we are paying attention to this issue and that they cannot make this go away with some stupid “gentleman’s agreement” that Mitch McConnell has no incentive to enforce.

Your Senators’ contact information is here. Give them an earful, particularly Feinstein and Boxer, and let them know that we are paying attention to this issue and that they must act to rectify it.

There is a piece of good news out of this. Before I asked Senator Reid about this, I speechified for about 20 seconds on how the Republicans have used the filibuster to break the Senate. At one point, the Senator interjected with something that I didn’t understand. I paused for a moment, and then continued on with my question.

It wasn’t until later, when the program put up the audio feed on its website, that I was able to hear what he had said.

“Amen, brother.”

We have hope. Let’s carry this across the finish line!

~Graff4Dean

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