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Re: It is time to abolish the filibuster in the Senate

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For the U.S. Senate to function as intended, Mitch McConnell and anyone wanting to use partisanship and /or filibustering to block bills being taken to a vote need to be voted out of office

 

Should filibuster rules be amended? Certainly.  Should filibustering be completely eliminated? IMHO, not if the rules of filibustering can be changed so that it is effective under the right circumstances, yet keeps any political party from completely stopping a bill from being voted on.

 

Is our present Congress capable of changing filibuster rules? Questionable, they are so polarized, and with Mitch McConnell blocking every bill presented to him by a Democratic House, it seems impossible.

 

Completely eliminating the filibuster would not bother me one bit.


"The only thing man learns from history is man learns nothing from history"
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Re: It is time to abolish the filibuster in the Senate

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Olderscout,  the one thing that I would like to see once this era is over. is the fact that there is  a  need to see many of the laws that exist now, that do not provide the mechanisms to prevent more anomalies in government as we have seen in so many areas.

I don't know even then how much of an appetite from the Senate and the House to engage themselves in changing a lot of the bad things that we have seen in the era of Trump and how much many of those laws have been  inefficient to do the necessary job.

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Re: It is time to abolish the filibuster in the Senate

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Great idea Gruffstuff - If Moscow Mitch and his fellow Nazis had to keep talking without any artificial support on the floor of the Senate to delay legislation, we'd have DELIBERATION not Dilettantism.

 

The totally UnAmerican practice of the "secret filibuster" where a GOPer can block legislation simply by saying he intends to filibuster cannot remain if Democracy is to survive, which is why GOPers revere its survival above the good of the People.

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Re: It is time to abolish the filibuster in the Senate

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It is time to abolish the filibuster in the Senate

 

Don't abolish the filibuster.

 

Make the filibuster old school

 

Make it like Mr Smith goes to Washington.

 

If you want to filibuster you have to stand at a podium, on your feet, and speak the entire time.

 

Say you piece, make your statement, address your issues, bring attention to your cause, let the people see you, make it live on CSPAN and Youtube.

 

When you, your party, your cause, can't do that anymore the issue you are trying to block goes up for a vote. 

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Re: It is time to abolish the filibuster in the Senate

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Thanks for sharing this. I don't often read the New York Times, but evidently you do.
Sir Granny Tracy
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Re: It is time to abolish the filibuster in the Senate

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A persistent myth among people about our government is that the Senate filibuster was something designed by our Founding Fathers and put in to preserve decorum in the Senate and prevent it from acting rashly. That is dead wrong. Here is an interesting piece about the creation and history of the filibuster. I recommend reading this for backgorund information.

 

https://www.brookings.edu/testimonies/the-history-of-the-filibuster

 

We like to think of the Senate filibuster ideally like it was used by Jimmy Stewart in the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington from the 1940s where an idealistic man played by Jimmy Stewart gets elected to the Senate and he leads a filibuster against a bill supported by a corrupt Senator from his home state. He keeps talking until he is hoarse and could barely stand.

 

But the people back home hear about this and rally to his support. In the end large sacks of letters are dropped in on the Senate showing popular support against this pork barrel bill and Jimmy Stewart's character becomes victorious. But the reality is much different. 

 

In fact the Senate record for a one man filibuster was set in 1957 when South Carolina's Strom Thurmond, then a Democrat and a candidate for President in 1948 on a segregationist ticket, filibustered continually for more than a whole day to prevent a vote on a Civil Rights Bill in the Senate. In the end, the Senate eventually passed that Civil Rights Bill. Thurmond's filibuster did not change a single vote.

 

Another use of the filibuster came seven years later when a group of southern segregationist Senators tried to filibuster the Civil Rights Bill in the Senate. Then President Lyndon Johnson, who was the former Democratic Senate leader and was President at the time, intervened and forced a cloture vote which passed. Then the Senate passed the landlark Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

 

That said the filibuster was rarely used until recently when Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell abused the filibuster to prevent President Obama from implementing his agenda and programs. Prior to the Obama presidency the filibuster was rarely used and early rules required that the Senators leading the filibuster must remain on the floor continually while the filibuster was running. But the rules were changed so that as long as someone was present, the filibuster could continue. In essence, a filibuster could go on indefinitely until at least 60 members of the Senate voted to close debate, or a cloture vote. 

 

But I don't know exactly what power Mitch McConnell has over Senate Republicans. But he has had them all marching in lockstep to his directions and it became almost impossible to force a cloture vote requiring 60 Senators to vote on any bill or nomination being filibustered. When the Democratic party controlled the Senate, Mitch McConnell became a dictator of the minority and important legislation just couldn't get passed. Then when Republicans took control of the Senate, he relaxed the filibuster rules so minority Democrats couldn't turn the tables on him. 

 

Mitch McConnell has demonstrated how one Senator could abuse the power of the party leader to either obstruct the agenda of the majority party when he was minority leader and then to change the rules when he became the majority leader so minority Democrats couldn't use the filibuster like he did when Republicans were in the minority. 

 

The United States Senate is a legislative body of 100 people, elected by the voters of their respective states to represent the voters and people of the state. No one man in the Senate should have so much power that he could literally grind the legislative process to a halt. Witness now how the Senate has become the "graveyard" of several bills that passed the House with bipartisan majorities and have widespread support among the people. Yet, Mitch McConnell has not allowed any of those bills to come up for a discussion, let alone a vote. 

 

The President has the power to veto any bill that passes congress, including the Senate. Then it takes a 2/3 majority in both houses of congress to over ride the veto of a President. But McConnell won't even allow a vote in the Senate. But the President is elected by the entire country while Mitch McConnell is elected only by the voters of Kentucky. Not even Lyndon Johnson who knew how to wield the reins of power abused his power in such a manner.

 

LBJ was the master of political persuasion and he also knew "where the bodies were buried" and he used that very effectively to persuade reluctant Senators to back what he favored and defeat anything he opposed. But Mitch McConnell must have some kind of "enforcer" like Vito Corleone had Luca Brasi in the Godfather to keep Senate Republicans in line. 

 

Needless to say, I believe that Harry Reid is correct. The Senate filibuster is archaic and should be abolished. There should be free and open discussion and deliberation on any bills presented. Then there should be a straight up and down vote on the bill. If it passes, then send it on to the President. If it fails, then go back to the drawing board. 

 

To that end, in order to have a functioning government; it is imperitive that Mitch McConnell be defeated in November 2020 when he is up for election again. Then perhaps with the worst person in the history of the Senate gone, the Senate could become what our founding fathers designed it to be; a deliberative body that can enact legislation and actually govern according to the constitution. Even if a Democratic candidate for President wins in a landslide; as long as Mitch McConnell is in the Senate, nothing will happen despite what the majority of American voters want. 

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It is time to abolish the filibuster in the Senate

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Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has written an excellent op-ed in the New York Times today calling for the abolition of the filibuster in the United States Senate. He is one who should know the rules of the Senate and where the filibuster fits in to the Senate. But he also provides some interesting facts. 

 

The first fact is that there is nothing in the constitution or the founding fathers mentioning the filibuster in the Senate. In fact the filibuster is a fairly recent thing, first used in 1917 as a means to stall or prolong discussion on a particular issue. The Senate could easily abolish the archaic filibuster rule that has been abused in the past decade beyond any imagination of its creators and has destroyed the reputation of the Senate as a deliberative body. Read on:

 

I am not an expert on all of government, but I do know something about the United States Senate. As the former majority leader, I know how tough it is to get anything through the chamber, which was designed to serve as the slower, more deliberative body of the United States Congress.

 

But what is happening today is a far cry from what the framers intended. They created the Senate as a majority-rule body, where both sides could have their say at length — but at the end of the day, bills would pass or fail on a simple majority vote. In their vision, debate was supposed to inform and enrich the process, not be exploited as a mechanism to grind it to a halt.

 

The Senate today, after years of abusing an arcane procedural rule known as the filibuster, has become an unworkable legislative graveyard. Not part of the framers’ original vision, the modern filibuster was created in 1917. The recent use of the filibuster — an attempt by a minority of lawmakers to delay or block a vote on a bill or confirmation — has exploited this rule, forcing virtually all Senate business to require 60 of the 100 senators’ votes to proceed. This means a simple majority is not enough to advance even the most bipartisan legislation.

 

Republicans over the past decade — knowing their policies are unpopular and that obstruction benefits them politically — perfected and increased the gratuitous use of the filibuster. Even routine Senate business is now subject to the filibuster and Republicans’ seeming obsession with gridlock and obstruction.

 

The Senate is now a place where the most pressing issues facing our country are disregarded, along with the will of the American people overwhelmingly calling for action. The future of our country is sacrificed at the altar of the filibuster.

Something must change. That is why I am now calling on the Senate to abolish the filibuster in all its forms. And I am calling on candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president to do the same.

 

If a Democratic president wants to tackle the most important issues facing our country, then he or she must have the ability to do so — and that means curtailing Republicans’ ability to stifle the will of the American people. It’s time to allow a simple majority vote instead of the 60-vote threshold now required for legislation. When the American people demand change and elect a new Senate, a new majority leader must be able to respond to that call and pass legislation.

The list of issues stalled by the Senate filibuster is enormous — and still growing.

 

I didn’t come to this decision lightly. In bygone eras, the filibuster was a symbol of the Senate’s famed role as the cooling saucer for legislation and ideas from the more hot-tempered House of Representatives. The Senate was known as “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” a place where collegiality and compromise held sway and issues could be discussed rationally and agreements could be reached. The 60-vote threshold reflected those sentiments.

 

Sadly, we are not living in the same legislative world anymore

 

As I said in 2013, the Senate is a living thing, and to survive, it must change — just as it has throughout the history of our country. The American people elect leaders to address the issues facing our country, not to cower behind arcane parliamentary procedure.

 

This era of obstruction and inaction must come to an end, and I urge our nation’s leaders to join me in calling for the abolition of the filibuster. It’s time for the Senate to start working again.

 

Read the entire column at this link:

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/opinion/harry-reid-filibuster.html?em_pos=small&ref=headline&nl_a...

 
 
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