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Sun Dec 23, 2012, 07:29 AM

How a House filibuster killed nuclear plants - By James Weaver, former Democratic U.S. congressman


How a House filibuster killed nuclear plants

By James Weaver

Published: December 23, 2012 12:00AM, Today

With all the talk about rule changes in the U.S. Senate to dampen filibusters, nobody mentions the House of Representatives. With its five-minute rule for speaking on any amendment, we all know the House, with its 435 members, runs a tight ship and does not allow filibusters.

But hold on: There was a filibuster in the House in 1980, and I conducted it.

The filibuster stopped dead the Northwest Power Bill, a bill designed to allow the federal government to underwrite the bonds to finance the construction of five nuclear power plants by a municipal authority, the Washington Public Power Supply System.


Will members of the now intransigent House follow my course and filibuster legislation to block bills dealing with the fiscal cliff? Not likely. In the session after my filibuster, the House rules were changed. The Weaver rule was put in effect. No more could the reading of amendments be required. No more could open rules be allowed to permit unlimited amendments.

And no more could I visit Richland, Wash., where some of the plants were being built, under threat that I would be lynched.

James Weaver of Eugene represented Oregonís 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1987.


James Howard "Jim" Weaver (b. August 8, 1927, in Brookings, South Dakota) is a former Democratic U.S. congressman from Oregon.


Weaver enlisted in the United States Navy at the age of seventeen and served in World War II on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific.[1] Weaver moved to Oregon from Des Moines, Iowa, in 1947 to attend the University of Oregon.


In 1974, Weaver defeated incumbent Republican congressman John R. Dellenback to become the United States Representative from Oregon's 4th congressional district. Weaver's victory over the moderate Dellenback is attributed at least in part to the anti-Republican sentiment among voters in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Weaver served six terms in the House, where he was known for his opposition to the Vietnam War, pro-environmental views, and opposition to the proliferation of nuclear power plants. In 1980, Weaver was also the first recipient of campaign contributions from the newly established Human Rights Campaign.[citation needed]

He was also well known for conducting the only filibuster in the modern history of the House of Representatives by adding 112 amendments to a Northwest power bill in 1980. After the filibuster, the House passed "The Weaver Rule" to "limit" the use of such tactics.[2]

In 1986, Weaver was selected as the Democratic nominee for United States Senate and was to face incumbent Republican Bob Packwood. However, after receiving the nomination, Weaver was the subject of a House Ethics Committee probe into his campaign finances, and withdrew his candidacy. Oregon State Representative Rick Bauman was selected to replace Weaver on the ballot, and lost handily to Packwood. The House Ethics Committee ruled that Weaver had used campaign money for personal investments, in violation of House rules.[3] Eventually it was discovered that the report had included errors. The House Ethics Committee later stated that Weaver had not violated the law.[4] Weaver served out his term and was succeeded by his aide, Peter DeFazio.



1. ^ Taylor, Ted. Voice of Conscience: Jim Weaver speaks out on war, elections, the environment, and 'two kinds of people.' October 24, 2002, accessed November 15, 2006.


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Reply How a House filibuster killed nuclear plants - By James Weaver, former Democratic U.S. congressman (Original post)
bananas Dec 2012 OP
Kolesar Dec 2012 #1

Response to bananas (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 07:47 AM

1. The nukes were cancelled and the utilities launched a huge efficiency campaign

They found that efficiency could eliminate the need for a huge amount of generating capacity, permanently.

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