We could be just hours away from filibuster reform...

In the Senate. Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he’s giving Republicans 24 to 36 hours to come to the table, and agree on some sort of filibuster reform. But, he said, if Republicans don’t do it – then he’ll proceed on his own. Democrats will fight to change the rules of the Senate, and curb some of the obstructionism we’ve seen over the last four years in the upper chamber.

Reid must choose between two options for filibuster reform. There’s an ambitious reform plan, promoted by Senators Jeff Merkley and Tom Udall, which would put in place a “talking filibuster” - requiring the minority to stand on the floor of the Senate, and actually talk the entire time they wish to filibuster legislation. And there’s a more moderate reform plan, which preserves the minority’s silent filibuster, but cuts down on how many times they can filibuster a particular piece of legislation.

While most progressive organizations have endorsed the Merkley-Udall “talking filibuster” reform, it’s unlikely Senator Reid has the votes among Democrats to pass such plan – and he will likely settle on a more moderate approach. But, if Democrats want to sweep the midterm elections in two years, and re-take the House of Representatives, then they have to pass legislation out of the Senate, and show the American people their agenda, and how it differs from the agenda of House Republicans. Strong filibuster may be the only way to accomplish this.

Call your Senator today – and tell them to support the Merkley-Udall “talking filibuster” reform.


stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 11 years 21 weeks ago

Why not an outright ban on filibustering? Our "leaders" need to stop playing around and do the work we put them there to do. If I "filibustered" on my job, I'd get fired!

MaxI 11 years 21 weeks ago

No Billionaires Campaign

Hi Thom,

this post has not directly to do with the filibuster reform, but I just wanted to let you know that I was able to place a small www.nobillionaires.com add in our local weekly here in Spokane, WA called the Inlander.

The add is on page 59 in this week's issue. Here the link:


It will run in the Inlander every 2 weeks for the next 20 weeks.

The Inlander as far as I know is one of the best read weeklys out there. I think it reaches about 190.000 regular readers a week. I hope it brings some more traffic to the website :-)

Thanks so much Thom for all you do for us and America!

mstaggerlee's picture
mstaggerlee 11 years 21 weeks ago

Another reform proposal I've heard, and could get behind, would be to flip the burden to the minority, i.e., rather than requiring the majority to come up with 60 votes to break the filibuster, require the minority to produce 41 votes to maintain it.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 11 years 21 weeks ago

Finally, a fellow Dead Head stands up! Kudos mstaggerlee! Kudos! I hope you stick around. Maybe we can make a reunion out of this blog. Don't forget, "No, Our Love Won't Fade Away!"

As far as your idea is concerned, I love it. The filibuster was originally designed as a tool for the minority. Your idea would insure that it is used that way; instead of as a hammer for the Super Minority. Brilliant!

PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 11 years 21 weeks ago

Republicans in the Senate will gleefully eliminate the filibuster rule if they ever become the majority in the Senate; they have already proven they do not want to play politics fair. They would eliminate the filibuster rule on the first day and overturn all the legislation they could. These are devils we are dealing with not fair men and women. If Senator Harry Reid does not install a serious filibuster change he will see the Republicans filibuster everything that comes down the pike. These are not reasonable legislators who have the best interests of the public in their hearts. The reasonable Republicans have all been run out of town by the crazies on the Far Right.

Old Blue 11 years 21 weeks ago

I agree with stecoop01. Proposed legislation should stand on its own merits. There's a reason why a minority is a minority; the people have sided with the views of the majority. The Senate is supposed to add some gravitas to legislative process. That's why Senate terms run six years while Representatives get two. I never could understand why an individual in the Senate should be given the power to impede the process. Even a "talking fillibuster" is counter productive. Down with the whole idea of the fillibuster, says I !

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 21 weeks ago

Think about it Old Blue, at least with the talking filibuster the Republican is forced to stand there on the floor of the Senate and explain for example why tax breaks for companies outsourcing jobs is a good thing for America. Try selling that to the vast majority of voters in this current economy. The Republicans would be forced to back down or commit political suicide.

Thom is absolutely correct, filibuster reform will force issues like this out into public view where they belong. If a Democratic proposal makes it through the Senate we all know what will happen in the House, the Teabaggers are in fact willing to commit political suicide and come 2014 informed citizens can vote for the party wanting to end tax breaks for companies outsourcing American jobs.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 21 weeks ago

DAnneMarc: I saw The Grateful Dead perform once way back in the spring of 77, long time ago I know, but as I recall it was great evening. I'm more of a NRBQ head.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 11 years 21 weeks ago

Thom, you are a Saint. I just heard you talk down a person who wanted to take down the government a la David Koresh! I can't express my gratitude to how you saved us unnecessary loss of life and grief.

You are spot on that the only redress available to common citizens that is effective and stands the test of time is non violent protest. Please continue what you are doing and may God bless you!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 11 years 21 weeks ago

I'm sorry 2950-10K. NRBQ head? Please share. Pardon my well established ignorace; but, what is that? If I may respectfully ask? LOL

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 21 weeks ago

The New Rhythm and Blues Quartet was known as the worlds best bar band for about three decades, check em out on utube. It's music with an infectious beat...they had the best rhythm section in the history of rock n roll. I never could sit still, nor my friends, when seeing these guys perform, and I got to see them countless times.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 11 years 21 weeks ago

New Rhythm and Blues Quartet? I LOVE RHYTHM AND BLUES~And feel like an Idiot. I'm going to check out NRABQ immediately. Thanks buddy!

Kend's picture
Kend 11 years 21 weeks ago

for once I am speechless I have no idea what you are talking about. i don't get all the American news. I miss bugging you guys.

Does anyone miss me? Anyone?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 11 years 21 weeks ago

I miss you Kend! I was just telling my wife how empty my evening has been without your input. Thanks for asking!~

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 11 years 21 weeks ago

btw I don't mean to be a party POOPER; but I need to visit LA LA land. I bid you all a wonderful evening! Be safe, be happy, and sweet dreams.... GOOD NIGHT!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 11 years 21 weeks ago

WOW! I've just checked out NRABQ. It is apparant that they don't have the prophetic inspiration or divine mandate that Jerry and the guys had--BUT THEN WHO DID? However, concerning talent, dedication, and sheer potential these fellas are off the chart. This is exactly the kind of band I've always wanted to hook up with myself!

I cant thank you enough 2950-10K! Being a Musician myself--along with a laundry list of other past times--I can assure you I will be a loyal fan in short order. Thanks for the education! Rock on!!!

Kend's picture
Kend 11 years 21 weeks ago

Thanks buddy

Old Blue 11 years 21 weeks ago

But 2950 - My impression of a talking fillibuster is that the senator doing the talking is rambling on about anything but the issue at hand. (I've never sat through one and I doubt that anyone else has either). Often a fillibuster is used to actually prevent a proposal from ever reaching the level of debate. It's a stalling tactic, pure and simple, and I doubt that our "informed electorate" will ever pay much attention to the fine detail of a fillibuster as American Idol is far more interesting. As long as the Democrats are willing to address it as a problem they should go all the way and kill the concept entirely. It must be remembered that the Democrats will not always hold a majority in the Senate, so there is no net long term political advantage to either party in doing away with this anachronism. In the short term the gridlock in Washington that is so frustrating to Americans could be significantly reduced. And as to holding the tea baggers and their outrageous positions up for public scrutiny prior to 2014, that's easy. All it would take is for Obama to grow some gonies and use the power of his "bully pulpit" at every available opportunity to explain in words of one and two syllables to the Great Unwashed what it is that people like Paul Ryan are trying to get away with in the House. Personally, the image of Barack Obama holding his lighted Bic under Mitch McConnell's wagging scrotum of a chin delights me, but we all know he's far too "nice" a guy. After 2008 Barry had the hammer and blew it. He was just handed a second chance and I'm anxious to see if he will now "walk the walk" or roll over for another Republican mugging in the name of "bipartisanship".

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 21 weeks ago

Old Blue, So what if a Republican Senator wants to stand there and talk about the car elevator he wants to install in his vacation home, it doesn't matter, we still know he's the ass- wipe trying to block things like elimination of tax breaks for companies outsourcing jobs. More importantly the voters in his state will know too.

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 11 years 21 weeks ago

Filling and busting sounds so antithetical to the Constitution. “We the People” could change the definition to “I don’t like this legislation and here are the reasons “. LOL, you know I am smiling about this ideal because it introduces a huge new element to democracy. We the have a chance to jump right past the lobbyist. To be sure those with money will not like this ideal.

Next, make the list of anti-reasons for a bill readable; put it on the television screen, and after the House Speakers hammer, We the People get some time to vote plus very likely give closure to a controversial issue. In other words it is the people who “Show the will for the Bill or against the bill”. And perhaps even show the will to rewrite the bill in an open transparent way. What hoot?

From my view this suggestion is near to happening because of the political subterfuge is too wild, the deception has gone far enough it is time for technology to benefit to put away that rhetoric especially by certain politicians that say what the American people want but are way off in what the American people really want, or need. Money speaks is a huge wide open decision from the Supreme Court that is wrong as an example. Further, Impeachment for those in the Supreme Court could be expedited.

Considering it would take say a hundred million email hits that might take a while longer than fifteen minutes. At least the American people have been given a chance to be heard. Or, as we are in the Gaussian bubble anyway just a sample in the fifteen minute period as a pilot try out. But here is the kicker; only tax paying citizens vote in the filibuster run off, codes issued by the internal revenue Service, and home land security. Watch all these big shots hustle to pay taxes. LOL.

And since we have the Internet, now the general population has the chance to participate. A new law, yep, the one where emails are tabulated. Yes, we will have to get the spam masters to help out to prevent the creeps from entering into and corrupting the system. That’s why America needs to remodel the post office to high tech “fiber optics”. With several layers of identification protection, the IRS, Home land security, and the post office give a combination pin codes used for government participation. Actually even personal DNA, which, if found as violated can result in criminal action leading to convictions to life in prison for any violators.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 21 weeks ago

DAnneMarc....I knew you would like NRBQ, check out Dr Feelgood! I played drums in a couple of blues rock garage bands back in the 70's...we played at Frat parties and such, I recall playing one New Years Eve at a really beat Roadhouse, it was a riot! Rumor had it that the owner burnt it to the ground a couple years later.

Tim Sherlock's picture
Tim Sherlock 11 years 21 weeks ago

I have posted on Facebook several times on the urgency to affect filibuster reform now, since the window that would allow change by a simple majority in the Senate is closing. These posts have gotten no "likes" or comments, no response whatsoever. It seems most people do not realize this window will soon be shut for, at least, another four years.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 11 years 21 weeks ago

Is it 4 years or 2?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 11 years 21 weeks ago

My neighbor is a data base expert (or at least he does it professionally). There are much faster ways than emails.

My problem with this approach is the power of advertising. For example, we had a propostion in CA to label GMO foods. When it first came out the polls indicated that 72% of the people wanted it. After the most money being spent on any propostion to defeat it, the propostion failed.

Another propositon CA had on the same ballot dealt with human trafficking. At least, that is what the title said. What it acutally did was reclassify other sex crimes (e.g. prostitution) as human trafficking with larger prison sentences. It won by a 83% to 17% margin. The only people that supported it publicly were the labor unions for prison guards. The ACLU, council of churches, and friends committee on legislaton came out against it. Your "pure" democracy approach could be fooled by a catchy title even without advertising.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 21 weeks ago

chuckle8: Yeah, the anti food labeling interests sent cards in the mail with a picture of President Obama on the front and a Green sounding name...and bid us vote for the propositions all of which agreed with the green party...except the food labeling one which it was against. They are very tricky!

Intermittent Instigator's picture
Intermittent In... 11 years 21 weeks ago

I can't tell if good old "Give 'em Hell" Harry won us a victory here. "....cuts down on how many times they can filibuster a particular piece of legislation" ??? Sounds like just the opposite, somehow. It would be good to know who supported what.

nai.to234's picture
nai.to234 10 years 39 weeks ago

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