Tuesday, January 04, 2011

filibuster reform

If you are my age, you probably remember when filibuster meant a senator getting up on the floor of the senate and speaking, sometimes for days about what he was hoping to block. We had one of the kind who could really do it-- Wayne Morse.

Then the senate changed its rules and enabled a senator to say he would filibuster, but didn't have to do it. To break this kind of one man rule required 60 votes. The days when the senate could be tied, with the vice president breaking the tie, were over and instead of a majority deciding the bills, it was one man or 60 senators voting for it.

Senators Merkely from Oregon and Udall from Colorado came up with way to make the senators have to be more responsible regarding their blockages and the plan seems like a good way to still allow a filibuster but make the senator accountable.

I don't know if the possible delay will be good; but I hope any Democrat reading here will let their senators know what we expect-- vote for reform. The reform will still take 60 votes to break a filibuster but it won't let some lazy senator wave his fingers and say he did one. They will have to get out there and say why. They will have to be accountable and no longer simply obstructionists. Their words will be out there for their constituents to read and decide whether they agree or not with what was said.

According to a Republican senator (Alexander) this reform would block freedom of speech. Do these guys even remember what that was?

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