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Sun Dec 30, 2012, 12:36 PM

My letter to Senator Schumer re. his proposed, watered-down, "compromise" filibuster reform bill...

(This is a letter I sent last night to Senator Chuck Schumer concerning his proposed filibuster reform "compromise" bill (or should I say, "'compromised' filibuster reform bill"). I would urge anyone who agrees with what I have said here to similarly contact their senators, even if their senators were not among the bill's sponsors, and let them know on no uncertain terms that you, along with other voters, are demanding real and substantive filibuster reform, not some piece of watered-down tripe that does virtually nothing to reign in the abuse of the filibuster.)


December 29, 2012

Senator Charles E. Schumer
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Schumer:

Having just read the details of the proposed filibuster "reform" bill introduced by you and Senator McCain (and some others), as a New Yorker and as a Democrat, I am absolutely outraged to see ANY Democrat's name (let alone my own Senator's) on such a watered-down, meaningless bill.

For the past four years, despite Democrats having won the White House and having retained a majority in the Senate, a minority party has been able to block bill after bill and nominee after nominee. Democracy has been turned on its ear as the will of the people, as expressed by the majority of their votes, has been subjugated to and overturned by a radical, extreme political party, merely by means of invoking a badly administered parliamentary maneuver. This is not what the nation's founders envisioned, nor is it what virtually every American has learned since he or she was a child about the way a representative democracy is supposed to work. This thwarting of democratic will is the primary problem that needs to be addressed at this juncture.

The bill you have proposed merely adds a few additional burdens to those wishing to filibuster legislation or executive and judicial branch nominees. But the actual ability to filibuster is the thing that needs to be seriously curtailed in the interest of enabling the electorate to express its will while at the same time having a reasonable expectation that such electoral will would be honored.

Any meaningful filibuster reform MUST include ALL of the following if it is to be considered to be at all serious:

(1) Eliminate the ability to filibuster the motion to proceed;

(2) Require that those wishing to block legislation or nominations take the floor and actually filibuster—i.e., mandating “talking filibusters”;

(3) Assert that 41 Senators must affirmatively vote to continue debate rather than forcing 60 Senators to vote to end debate; and,

(4) Streamline the confirmation process for all nominees by eliminating the currently required 30 hours of post cloture debate on a nominee to zero or at a minimum no more than 2 hours.

In short, Senator Schumer, if you want my continued support at the ballot box, and if the party as a whole expects me to remain a loyal Democrat, then you should withdraw this ill-considered, meaningless bill post haste, and get to work on a REAL filibuster reform bill that will actually address the problems with the filibuster as it currently stands, rather than merely trying to paper over certain parts of it and enabling senators to claim to their constituents that they actually _did_ something about filibuster reform. Neither you nor any other Democrat was elected to create legislation in response to a real problem that amounts to nothing more than some cosmetic changes intended to create the impression among voters that something meaningful was done.

Senator Schumer, I respectfully urge you to ditch this legislation and to promptly get back to doing what you were elected to do: that is, to come up with REAL solutions to the real problems we face. What NO voter in this country wants from its elected senators is a senator that signs onto half-measures that do nothing but provide senators with political cover while failing to address the root of the problem.

Sincerely,
Mark P. Kessinger
New York, New York



14 replies, 1303 views

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply My letter to Senator Schumer re. his proposed, watered-down, "compromise" filibuster reform bill... (Original post)
markpkessinger Dec 2012 OP
MannyGoldstein Dec 2012 #1
Mass Dec 2012 #2
MannyGoldstein Dec 2012 #7
Mass Dec 2012 #10
MannyGoldstein Dec 2012 #11
Mass Dec 2012 #12
Kaleva Dec 2012 #3
Mass Dec 2012 #4
markpkessinger Dec 2012 #6
markpkessinger Dec 2012 #5
MannyGoldstein Dec 2012 #8
markpkessinger Dec 2012 #9
Kaleva Dec 2012 #13
TuxedoKat Dec 2012 #14

Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:45 PM

1. Good letter!

Sadly, I doubt that Dems will do the right thing here. One of my Senators will (Warren), but Kerry is a player and no longer needs my vote.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:09 PM

2. Good think Kerry is leaving. May be some of you whiners will shut up.

Or do you have anything substantiating your attack on Kerry.

As for Warren, I am certain that she will disappoint me very soon.

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Response to Mass (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:27 PM

7. First off, that's an incredibly rude response

I know that personal attacks are fine on DU3, but participation is still optional.

Second, Kerry toes the Third Way line pretty closely. For example, last year he said that entitlements were the only long-term financial problem facing America.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 03:14 PM

10. Really? I doubt he said it was the only one.

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Response to Mass (Reply #10)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 03:25 PM

11. $5 bet? nt

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 03:39 PM

12. A quick search on google could help you

Not sure what quote your refer to, My guess is that it is this one and probably this specific quote. If so, you may note that the point is that we need job creation and growth to help the issue.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44050464/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts/t/meet-press-transcript-august/
And the real problem for our country is not the short-term debt. We can deal with that. It's the long-term debt. It's the structural debt of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid measured against the demographics of our nation. That, then juxtaposed to the lack of jobs and job creation and growth.

Something he actually repeated later

That changed when we went into credit card debt, two wars, two tax cuts. We couldn't afford them. And boom, you have six point some trillion dollars of the debt goes to George Bush, $2.4 trillion goes to Obama, three times to George Bush, and Obama's was largely in response to George Bush and Hank Paulson asking us to bail out the financial structure of America. So we have to get real about what the problem is. The second piece of this, Senator Boxer and Senator Inhofe have a terrific highway bill. If we were to do that and do it quickly, we will save 600,000 more jobs than what the House is setting out to do. Three, we need to pass the infrastructure bank, which is bipartisan. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and myself have introduced this, with Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and, and Mark Warner of Virginia. We have $2.2 trillion of infrastructure deficit in America. China's putting 9 percent of GDP into infrastructure.


More herefrom a town meeting in MA

http://www.aarp.org/politics-society/government-elections/info-07-2011/senator-kerry-talks-ma.html

Under no circumstances should benefits be cut to try to balance the budget,” said Kerry during the town meeting. He said that Social Security is not the driving force of our “near-term deficits” and is not currently in crisis. But, he said it could be reformed to strengthen it for the rest of the century. And, he has no problem with those discussions “paralleling” deficit negotiations.


Now, I am not in agreement with all he said. I think social security should not have been in the list, for example. But this is very far from what you claim.

So, no need for a bet. There are a lot of things to criticize when it comes to Kerry. No need to make things up. So, can you point me to where he says he supports Schumer. If he does, he is wrong, but I am so used to see people state their opinion as fact that I's like a basis before getting mad .

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:12 PM

3. May I cut and paste your letter (with some changes) to send to Senator Levin?

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:16 PM

4. Same here for my two senators.

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Response to Mass (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:25 PM

6. Yes, by all means ...

...See #5. Use any or all of it, and use it as your own if you wish!

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:23 PM

5. By all means . . .

. . . Feel free to use any or all of it as your own. I think it is far more important that the message get through to Senators than it is for me to worry about attribution. If any or all of the text of my letter can facilitate and expedite that process, then I am happy to issue a blanket approval to anybody who wishes to use it for that purpose! (Oh, and thank you -- i am flattered!)

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:48 PM

9. Blanket approval for use of any of the text of my letter by DU members...

With or without attribution -- I don't care either way (at least not in this case). If using the text of my letter, or any part of it, facilitate and/or expedite getting your message to your senators, then please, by all means, just go ahead and use it as your own!

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #9)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 02:21 PM

13. Sent.

Had to edit out some parts so I could fit the message in what the e-mail allowed me at Senator Levin's site but the all the main points were included. Again, thanks for allowing use of your letter!

What I sent:

"Dear Senator Levin,

Having just read the details of the proposed filibuster "reform" bill introduced by you and Senator McCain (and some others), I disagree with it. For the past four years, despite Democrats having won the White House and having retained a majority in the Senate, a minority party has been able to block bill after bill and nominee after nominee. The bill you have proposed merely adds a few additional burdens to those wishing to filibuster legislation or executive and judicial branch nominees. But the actual ability to filibuster is the thing that needs to be seriously curtailed in the interest of enabling the electorate to express its will while at the same time having a reasonable expectation that such electoral will would be honored.

Any meaningful filibuster reform MUST include ALL of the following if it is to be considered to be at all serious: (1) Eliminate the ability to filibuster the motion to proceed; (2) Require that those wishing to block legislation or nominations take the floor and actually filibuster—i.e., mandating “talking filibusters”; (3) Assert that 41 Senators must affirmatively vote to continue debate rather than forcing 60 Senators to vote to end debate; and, (4) Streamline the confirmation process for all nominees by eliminating the currently required 30 hours of post cloture debate on a nominee to zero or at a minimum no more than 2 hours.

Thank you.

XXX XXXX"

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 02:47 PM

14. Good letter

Mail it through the regular mail because I don't know if his staff has started to acknowledge emails yet. The few times I've emailed him I've never even received a form letter. One time I mentioned that when I called his office directly and the staffer was somewhat embarrassed about that. Maybe they've corrected the situation though.

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