Senate Debating Filibuster Reform Now.
January 5, 2011 Leave a comment
Right now, the Senate is debating on the filibuster reform. The debate is being aired on C-Span 2. This article, posted on the New York Times late last night, summarizes the current situation.
On C-Span, the Republicans are framing this as a tactic to suppress the rights of the minority. This is not so. I have linked again and again to the proposal being debated. It does nothing to suppress the minority, whoever they may be, in the Senate. The proposal requires 10 Senators to filibuster, their names to be public, and objecting Senators to remain on the floor. When no one is on the floor, the filibuster ends, and the chamber is allowed to proceed. It eliminates the ability for a Senator to filibuster a motion to proceed–which means that under current rules, a single, anonymous Senator may object to debate. It also suggests an expedited process for nomination, and ends the segregation by party in the chamber.
Read it for yourself. This does not, by any means, suppress the rights of the minority. It simply requires accountability. It eliminates the ability of a single, anonymous Senator to prevent debate on legislation. It requires more than one, single, anonymous Senator to filibuster a bill. It allows those Senators to filibuster as long as they wish–so long as they can hold the floor. If they no longer wish to speak to the body, the filibuster ends, so Senators cannot object, then traipse home for a holiday. It requires effort on the part of objecting Senators, and that is what Republicans are objecting to.