Fix the Senate Now

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

On  Monday, a coalition of like-minded largely progressive organizations announced that they would be launching a long-term-focused effort called Fix the Senate Now to build support for Senate rules reform. Filibuster Reform Coalition Launches To Put Pressure On Senate:

The announcement, obtained in advance by The Huffington Post, includes eight distinct principles for altering Senate procedures — some of which are already being championed by lawmakers, some of which have found their way into pieces of legislation.

1. On the first legislative day of a new Congress, the Senate may, by majority vote, end a filibuster on a rules change and adopt new rules.

2. There should only be one opportunity to filibuster any given measure or nomination, so motions to proceed and motions to refer to conference should not be subject to filibuster.

3. Secret "holds" should be eliminated.

4. The amount of delay time after cloture is invoked on a bill should be reduced.

5. There should be no post-cloture debate on nominations.

6. Instead of requiring that those seeking to break a filibuster muster a specified number of votes, the burden should be shifted to require those filibustering to produce a specified number of votes to continue the filibuster.

7. Those waging a filibuster should be required to continuously hold the floor and debate.

8. Once all Senators have had a reasonable opportunity to express their views, every measure or nomination should be brought to a yes or no vote in a timely manner.

Surprisingly, most of the coalition's member groups have thus far remained anonymous. Of the dozen-plus organizations that reportedly comprise the larger group, only the government-transparency group Common Cause, the Communications Workers of America and the environmental-advocacy group The Sierra Club have disclosed their participation.

UPDATE: Ezra Klein has more details today. "Senate reform is now a priority of what we might call "the institutional left." Consider this letter (pdf), which is signed by the Communication Workers of America, the United Steelworkers, the Sierra Club, SEIU, Common Cause, DailyKos, the AFL-CIO and eight other left-leaning heavy-hitters and asks "Senators to move forward with reforms consistent with these eight principles" (above).

In other words, it is a combination of Sen. Tom Udall's "Constitutional Option" and Sen. Jeff Merkley's filibuster reform proposal.

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