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Out of thirty-six weeks in session this year, the US Senate has had four weeks of working sessions [View All]

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Are_grits_groceries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 06:25 AM
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Out of thirty-six weeks in session this year, the US Senate has had four weeks of working sessions
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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse:

Four weeks. What happened to the other thirty-two weeks? They were sucked up by Republican filibusters. That's right: Republican filibusters. Remember the people who hate the filibuster so much that they were willing to "Go nuclear"? Them.
There have been ninety filibusters this year and there's no end in sight. Ninety. I sat there wondering why the Democrats had not gotten this message out to American citizens (because you have to admit that "Republicans have obstructed the United States Senate's work for thirty-two weeks this year" is a pretty compelling message) when Whitehouse told us that the Democrats have realized that they need to take that message to the people. /

These have to be the 'silent filibusters'. They need to be done away with now. They have changed voting in the Senate from requiring a simple majority to requiring enough votes for cloture. In addition, citizens don't realize what is really going on. The silent filibuster is a lazy method, and a way for Senators to avoid bad publicity if they want to halt a proposal.

Silent filibusters:
The "traditional" filibuster custom was significantly changed only a few years ago to allow senators to "filibuster" without actually speaking and consuming their own time. The relatively new "silent" filibusters are anything but traditional. Classic filibusters took senators out of important committee meetings and kept them up nights for as long as they intended to block Senate action. Such was the price of minority rule.

The new silent filibuster is just way too convenient. Ten Senators sign a piece of paper and boom, the object of their wrath requires a 60% supermajority to pass. With this stupid rule, virtually all Senate action now requires a 60% supermajority, something not required by the US Constitution.

By eliminating the cost of filibustering, the new rules have effectively undermined majority rule, a cornerstone (along with enumerated powers) of our constitutional republic. Thus, the silent filibuster has led directly to the unpleasant situation in which the Senate now finds itself.

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