Wednesday, January 16, 2013

CC/WI Urges U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to Support and Co-Sponsor Filibuster Reform Measure

Press Release
January 16, 2012

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686

January 15, 2013

The Honorable Tammy Baldwin
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Baldwin:

On behalf of the nearly 3,000 members of Common Cause in Wisconsin, I’m writing to ask that you please join S. Res. 4 as a co-sponsor. This resolution, sponsored by U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tom Udall of New Mexico, is a comprehensive filibuster reform package that will restore accountability and transparency to Senate procedures.

Unfortunately, for too many years, a policy of obstruction for obstruction’s sake has rendered the “world’s greatest deliberative body” nearly unrecognizable. The mere threat of a filibuster is enough to thwart meaningful legislative action – even the motion to proceed to debate has been filibustered in unprecedented numbers. Worst of all, these filibusters are taking place silently – with no one holding the floor. It has become little more than an abused minority veto, without any requirement of actually “filibustering.”

S. Res. 4 would make it harder to filibuster, but still preserve the ability of the minority to hold up legislation and nominees with extended debate. Senators seeking to prevent the majority from acting would need to hold the floor continuously, in the style of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Specifically, it accomplishes four reforms:
  1. Eliminate the filibuster on the motion to proceed;
  2. Requirement of a “talking filibuster,” with 41 senators voting to continue debate;
  3. Most-cloture debate on nominations limited to 2 hours (with a carve-out for Supreme Court Justices);
  4. Eliminate filibusters on motions to establish conference committees.
Your support of S. Res. 4 would be most welcome. Thank you for your consideration, and congratulations on your new position in the United States Senate. We know and trust that you will represent Wisconsin ably.


Jay Heck – Executive Director

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