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Fri Dec 21, 2012, 06:32 PM

Want to join Filibuster Reform? Sign in below with the 7 sponsoring senators - incl. Eliz. Warren.

http://www.reformthefilibuster.com/merkley/takeaction/

Please kick up the message when necessary so that many more will join in. Thanks.

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Response to Cal33 (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 08:58 PM

1. Senator Feinstein's response on 12/21


 
Dear Mr. ....... :
 
Thank you for contacting me to express your support for reforming the use of the filibuster in the Senate.  I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
 
The filibuster is a long-standing Senate practice that allows a Senator unlimited time to speak on the floor of the Senate.  By providing the minority in the Senate an instrument for extending debate on nominations and bills, the filibuster can serve a vital role in protecting the rights of the minority and encouraging the majority to seek compromise. 
 
However, I share your concerns over the recent, unprecedented increase in the use of the procedural filibuster.  In the first four years of the Obama Administration, there have been 164 cloture votes, more than the total number of cloture votes during both of President Reagan's terms.  Debate is at the heart of a deliberative body like the Senate, but virtually everything has been held up by an objection, even routine and historically non-controversial matters. 
 
Senators are sent to Congress to debate legislation and to vote, and I believe legislation that follows regular rules should not be filibustered before it even gets to the Senate floor.  If a bill comes out of committee, it should have a chance to be discussed and not have to go through a cloture vote just to begin debate.  Please know that I have noted your support for filibuster reform, and I will keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate further considers the use of the filibuster.
 
 
Once again, thank you for writing to me.  If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841.  Best regards.


Sincerely yours,


  Dianne Feinstein
         United States Senator

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Response to xxxsdesdexxx (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 09:09 PM

2. Many thanks for sharing Sen. Feinstein's response. I hope this movement will be successful.

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Response to xxxsdesdexxx (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 04:18 AM

5. We need her to say yes

Especially with the lose of Senator Inouye. There's no guarantee the appointment will be made before the filibuster reform vote.

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Response to Cal33 (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 09:24 PM

3. Her message changed some what from the message she sent me a month ago. Looks better now.

Senator Feinstein's response on filibuster reform after the election mid-November:

Dear Mr. _____:
Thank you for contacting me concerning the use of filibusters in the United States Senate.  I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

The filibuster is a long-standing Senate practice that allows a Senator unlimited time to speak on the floor of the Senate.  Current Senate rules allow for three-fifths of the Senate to vote to invoke cloture to limit consideration of a bill or nomination and break a "procedural filibuster."  By providing the minority in the Senate an instrument for extending debate on nominations and bills, the filibuster can serve a vital role in protecting the rights of the minority and encouraging the majority to seek compromise.

In the long history of the Senate, the filibuster has been an important tool for both parties when in the minority.  For example, in December 21, 2005, Democrats in the Senate, using a procedural filibuster, blocked an amendment to a defense reauthorization bill which would have allowed oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), some of our nation's most precious wilderness.

I share your concerns over the recent, unprecedented increase in the use of the filibuster.  Debate is at the heart of a deliberate body like the Senate; however, in the 111th Congress, legislative action was subjected to extraordinary levels of obstruction by the minority party.  According to the Congressional Research Service, the Senate voted on cloture on a motion to proceed 64 times during the last two Congresses. To be clear, this means that the minority party was obstructing even debating legislation.

You may be interested to know that the Senate has considered a number of bills in the 112th Congress to reform the filibuster process and cut down on the use of delay tactics. S.Res. 29, which was introduced by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), will waive the reading of an amendment if the amendment has been submitted at least 72 hours before the motion and is available in print or electronic form.  The Senate also passed S.Res. 28, introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), to address the practice of secret holds.  Secret holds are an informal device which permit a single Senator or any number of Senators to stop floor consideration of measures that are available to be scheduled by the Senate.  This new rule will require any Senator objecting to proceeding to a bill or nomination to publicly disclose the objection within two days of the senate being in session.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) also entered into an informal agreement in which Senator McConnell agreed to reduce the use of the filibuster by the minority and in return, Senator Reid agreed to allow more amendments from the minority to be considered on the Senate floor.

Be assured that I share your concerns on the unprecedented use of the filibuster, but I believe that Congress must be cautious about any dramatic changes to the rules.  The filibuster serves an integral role in protecting the rights of the minority, which can change from one Congress to the next.  Please know that I appreciate your thoughts on this matter and will keep your comments in mind should the Senate further consider the use of the filibuster.

Once again, thank you for writing to me.  If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

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Response to xxxsdesdexxx (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:06 PM

4. Today is Dec. 21. Congress reconvenes again on January 2nd or 3rd, correct? Seven senators are

eager to start work on this filibuster 11 days from today as the first order of business of the day.. I'm sure
there are others who are eager about it too. I sure hope that the main weapon used by the right-wingers
in stalling the work of congress will soon be taken away from them.

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Response to Cal33 (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 04:20 AM

6. We need to push US Senators Feinstein and Kerry

to support the filibuster reform vote.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 11:01 AM

7. Yes. I hope DU members here will do so. Your help is needed. Thanks.

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Response to Cal33 (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 09:37 PM

9. I've been posting this for weeks

I'm just hopeful a replacement for Hawaii can be made quickly. We need all the votes we had before his passing (I'm assuming the replacement will vote for it, but who knows). I think Kerry has nothing to lose as he's leaving. Feinstein's lack of commitment worries me. There are 4 Ds Senators who definitely won't vote for this (can't remember which ones). If it comes down to 50-50 Biden can step in as the tie-breaking vote.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:13 AM

10. Oh, Wow! Blue dog Dem. senators?

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Response to Cal33 (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 07:21 PM

8. In my opinion, Senator Feinstein is more open to filibuster reform than she previously was

Looks to me like she removed the text which argued in favor of making no changes to the filibuster. What do you think?

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Response to xxxsdesdexxx (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 07:03 PM

11. I wonder why she would be lukewarm to the idea of filibuster reform to begin with. This would

suggest that she doesn't mind having the senate's hands tied behind its back, so that little or
no work can be done. Wouldn't it?

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