Harry Reid has extended the opportunity for the Senate to pass filibuster reform. Word is the debate is tentatively scheduled for January 22.
A bipartisan “reform” effort is being led by Senators Levin & McCain. The watered down plan merely removes the option to filibuster at certain steps in the procedure. This is as close to the status quo as you can get and would have no impact on end results.
The main reform of the Merkley-Udall proposal is the talking filibuster requirement. This won’t end obstructionism; it just makes it harder. I was going to say it makes obstructionism more embarassing, but then I rememebered a lot of these folks have no shame. It makes filibustering less secret, but I predict it will have little impact on legislation. Its ineffectiveness and increased visibility will help the chances of the stronger reform at the beginning of the next Congress in 2015.
The next two weeks will be used to build up support for one of the proposals. It looks like it will take 51 votes, or 50 with a willing Biden tiebreak. So look for pressure on the handful of Democratic senators likely to fold. The rumored list of Democratic opponents to real filibuster reform includes:
- Carl Levin (MI) (Use @SenCarlLevin
to yell at himto persuade him on the Twitter.)
- Mark Pryor (AR) (@SenMarkPryor)
- Ben Cardin (MD) (@SenatorCardin) — What the hell, Ben?! Don’t make me send @SenatorBarb over to beat your ass into line! I’m sure she could take you.
- Charles Schumer (NY) (@ChuckSchumer)
- Patrick Leahy (VT) (@SenatorLeahy)
- Max Baucus (MT) (the “Contact Max” page)
- Jack Reed (RI) (@SenJackReed)
- Barbara Boxer (CA) (@SenatorBoxer)
- Dianne Feinstein (CA) (@SenFeinstein)
- One also could include uncommitted/uninformed newbees Mazie Hirono (HI) (@maziehirono) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) (@Heidi4ND).
If any of these are your congresscritter, please contact them and demand they work to reform the Senate by supporting real filibuster reform.