My Senator, Jeff Merkley, part of the Harkin-Udall-Merkley filibuster reform effort, speaks on the Senate floor Wednesday about the proposal to make the filibuster real again, with real floor speaking and with real debate.
Here’s the key parts of the reform effort, from Jeff Merkley’s office today:
The rules reform package includes five provisions that would do the following:
· Eliminate the Filibuster on Motions to Proceed: Makes motions to proceed not subject to a filibuster, but provides for two hours of debate. This proposal has had bipartisan support for decades and is often mentioned as a way to end the abuse of holds.
· Eliminate Secret Holds: Prohibits one senator from objecting on behalf of another, unless he or she discloses the name of the senator with the objection. This is a simple solution to address a longstanding problem.
· Guarantee Consideration of Amendments for both Majority and Minority: Protects the rights of the minority to offer amendments following cloture filing, provided the amendments are germane and have been filed in a timely manner.
· Talking Filibuster: Ensures real debate following a failed cloture vote. Senators opposed to proceeding to final passage will be required to continue debate as long as the subject of the cloture vote or an amendment, motion, point of order, or other related matter is the pending business.
· Expedite Nominations: Provide for two hours of post-cloture debate time for nominees. Post cloture time is meant for debating and voting on amendments – something that is not possible on nominations. Instead, the minority now requires the Senate use this time simply to prevent it from moving on to other business.
There are now 26 co-sponsors for the rules change. In addition to Udall, Harkin and Merkley, the resolution is currently co-sponsored by the following senators: Dick Durbin (IL), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Sherrod Brown (OH), Mark Begich (AK), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Michael Bennet (CO), Barbara Boxer (CA), Benjamin L. Cardin (MD), Bob Casey (PA), Christopher Coons (DE), Al Franken (MN), Kay Hagan (NC), Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Joe Manchin (WV), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Jay Rockefeller (WV), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Jon Tester (MT), Mark Udall (CO), Mark Warner (VA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI).
Is your Senator on this list? Have you called to ask why not?