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Thu Dec 27, 2012, 03:10 PM

Sen. Jeff Merkley battles to limit rampant 'abuse of the filibuster'--7 Dems on fence.

I saw Merkeley interviewed on MSNBC and he has 48 Dem. Senators on-board to pass this with 51 needed to pass it.
The 7 Democrats on the fence are :
Baucus, Boxer, Feinstein, Leahy, Levin, Pryor, and Jack Reed.

They say they are for the "social contract" or "gentlemen's agreement" to eliminate the huge # of filibusters which was agreed to 2 years ago.... but Merkeley says the number of filibusters has only increased since then!

============================
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley battles to limit rampant 'abuse of the filibuster'
By Charles Pope, The Oregonian
on December 25, 2012 at 12:00 PM, updated December 25, 2012 at 9:59 PM


Sen. Jeff Merkley, with Sen. Ron Wyden on the right.

WASHINGTON Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and what critics call "a cohort of short-sighted Senate sophomores," are in an intensifying battle to change the Senate's hidebound ways and its most powerful tool the filibuster.
Senators' use of filibusters has exploded in recent years, bringing the chamber to a screeching halt with regularity.
"The abuse of the filibuster has become rampant over the last few years," Merkley says. "When Lyndon Johnson was majority leader, he only had to deal with one filibuster. But in the last six years, Harry Reid has faced 386 filibusters as majority leader. Frankly, it's amazing that any legislation actually passes the Senate."

Not much does.

"The current Senate passed a record-low 2.8 percent of bills introduced in that chamber, a 66 percent decrease from 2005-2006, and a 90 percent decrease from the high in 1955-1956," reported a study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.
That's because of filibusters, the procedural move in the Senate that stops a bill from being considered. In the past, it was sometimes called talking a bill to death because a senator would claim the floor and keep talking to stop a bill from being considered.

These days, filibusters are easy. Talking is not required.
Stopping the filibuster requires a cloture vote -- a 60-vote majority before business can proceed.
It's time to change, Merkley says.
Merkley, a Democrat elected in 2008, says his answer is simple and preserves the right of every senator to block legislation.
The solution he offers will surprise anyone whose understanding of a filibuster is based on the old James Stewart movie, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." It's a requirement that a senator actually stand on the Senate floor and speak.
The minority still has the power to stop a bill, Merkley said in an interview. "But if there's a talking filibuster they'd have to do it in public."
............, filibusters today are used routinely to block legislation from even reaching the Senate floor.

Here's a quick parliamentary lesson: Before a bill can come to the full Senate for consideration, the Senate must agree to consider it. Approving the "motion to proceed" does that. It's a minor step that historically was waved through by voice vote.
No longer. From 2007 through 2012, silent objections to the motion to proceed have been raised 130 times. Each one requires 60 votes to erase. By comparison, the number between 1971 and 1982 was 18.

.................................more

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/12/us_sen_jeff_merkley_battles_to.html

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Reply Sen. Jeff Merkley battles to limit rampant 'abuse of the filibuster'--7 Dems on fence. (Original post)
ErikJ Dec 2012 OP
hogwyld Dec 2012 #1
FightingIrish Dec 2012 #2
SouthernDonkey Dec 2012 #10
montanacowboy Dec 2012 #3
LiberalFighter Dec 2012 #4
FightingIrish Dec 2012 #5
Filibuster Harry Dec 2012 #6
SouthernDonkey Dec 2012 #11
LibGranny Dec 2012 #7
rhett o rick Dec 2012 #8
xxxsdesdexxx Dec 2012 #9
davidpdx Dec 2012 #12

Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 03:13 PM

1. That would be my Senator

One of the good guys that we've sent to congress. Keep up the fight Jeff! He's also against any changes to the Social Security COLA changes and wants Medicare for all.

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 03:23 PM

2. He's my senator too

I heard him speak about his anti-filibuster initiative in November. I was very impressed. It's ironic that he defeated another Mr. Smith to reach the Senate. He was an intern to Mark Hatfield so his congressional pedigree is pretty impressive.

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Response to FightingIrish (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:56 PM

10. I wish he was my Senator as well!

I've gotten nothing but ReTHUGS here in Mississippi! I hope we can change that.

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 03:26 PM

3. Just sent Baucus a very pointed email

I am so sick of this guy, he needs to be replaced

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 03:26 PM

4. There is no reason for those D's against the changes to be against it.

They are minor changes. And if by chance the Republicans ever get control of the Senate the Democrats will do okay with those rules.

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 03:35 PM

5. Baucus, Boxer, Feinstein, Leahy, Levin, Pryor, and Jack Reed

If we had term limits in the senate, most of these people wouldn't be there.

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:07 PM

6. What is wrong with them? We need filibuster change and we need it now. Hey, if any senator is

that opposed to a bill, then talk, talk, talk. Show the country how determined you are to fight against a bill or
how much of a jackass you are for wasting time.
enough said.

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Response to Filibuster Harry (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:57 PM

11. Exactly! +1,000

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:08 PM

7. I wish I was in their district, I would contact them to tell them how I

feel about this! If any of them are your senator, contact info at Congress.gov. My congresspeople are all REthugs and I'm sure would not pass along my feelings on this subject!

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:25 PM

8. Wish you had reworded the caption, "Sen. Ron Wyden on the right" nm

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:46 PM

9. K&R. Message I received from Senator Feinstein on 12/21/12.

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 ErikJ (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:14 PM

12. I fully support Merkley's plan

I'm from Oregon as well and glad he's out there in front of this.

The new headcount worries me. Kerry had also said he was on the fence awhile back, but I wonder if he has now decided to vote for it considering there isn't much risk as he will be SOS.

Baucus and Pryor are Blue Dogs who will never vote for it in a million years. Levin has decided to switch teams and partner with John "get off my lawn" McCain.

That leaves Barbara Boxer (CA), Diane Feinstein (CA), Patrick Leahy (VT), and Jack Reed (RI).

If it is a tie, Biden can break the tie on a procedural vote. It would probably be better if he didn't have to.

That means getting 3 of the 4 to say yes.

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