In the past, Senate members used a filibuster as a means of bringing attention to a high-profile bill they disagreed with. For many, many years it was seldom employed but since the 1970s it has been used repeatedly to stop much of the chamber’s work. Both parties have used the filibuster to alter simple “majority rules” bills to supermajority votes, so this is not a partisan issue.
It is necessary to have 60 “yea” votes to end a filibuster but if it is used as a tool of a sizable minority instead of an individual’s privilege it can rarely be closed. To make matters worse, at some time in the past the Senate decided the mere notification of the intent to filibuster carried the same weight as a filibuster itself instead of having to stand on the floor and face the glare of the press and public.
Over the past few days there has been talk by Democratic senators of reforming the filibuster rules but as we all know, talk is cheap.
What is said today may very well be conveniently forgotten as soon as it falls off the front page. So I am asking you to email your two senators and simply say you support immediate filibuster reform. It won’t take long and needn’t be a long email. If you think, as I do, this is an important issue, I also ask you to contact your friends and invite them to follow your lead.
There is some talk about instituting a change that would not take effect for six years but this is not acceptable. We elected senators to do a job and for them to say, “we will begin to do so in six years” is ridiculous.
Thank you for reading this and for taking the time to improve the government.