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Prospects brighten for filibuster reform

Here’s another reason to be cautiously optimistic about the way the political winds are blowing: With Dems seemingly on track to hang on to the Senate — and with Obama’s electoral edge perhaps holding — the prospects are brightening for an overhaul of the filibuster.


Senator Jeff Merkley, the co-author of a package of filibuster reforms, has secured commitments from nine leading Dem Senate candidates to throw themselves behind fixing the filibuster if they are elected.


Merkley is circulating an email raising money for the nine Senators, who include Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Martin Heinrich, Tim Kaine and Heidi Heitkamp. “These nine candidates running for the Senate right now have committed to helping me fix the broken Senate by reforming the filibuster,” the email says.

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A Broken Congress & Government
All articles pertaining to how our Congress and the rest of government is disfunctional
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Opinion: Filibustering the filibuster - Richard A. Arenberg

Opinion: Filibustering the filibuster - Richard A. Arenberg | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it
As the new year begins, two threats have been looming over the Senate’s filibuster rules: a lawsuit calling the filibuster unconstitutional and the so-called constitutional option in the Senate itself.
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Thank you Monica for finding this article.

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Is the U.S. Senate broken?

CBS New, 60 Minutes


Once a great deliberative body, the Senate is now known for deadlock, dysfunction and political games. Will Tuesday's election help? Steve Kroft reports.

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Prospects brighten for filibuster reform

Here’s another reason to be cautiously optimistic about the way the political winds are blowing: With Dems seemingly on track to hang on to the Senate — and with Obama’s electoral edge perhaps holding — the prospects are brightening for an overhaul of the filibuster.


Senator Jeff Merkley, the co-author of a package of filibuster reforms, has secured commitments from nine leading Dem Senate candidates to throw themselves behind fixing the filibuster if they are elected.


Merkley is circulating an email raising money for the nine Senators, who include Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Martin Heinrich, Tim Kaine and Heidi Heitkamp. “These nine candidates running for the Senate right now have committed to helping me fix the broken Senate by reforming the filibuster,” the email says.

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A post debate chuckle... or not!

A post debate chuckle... or not! | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it

Via J'nene Solidarity Kay
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Senate conservatives may block sequester solution

Senate conservatives may block sequester solution | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it

by JONATHAN ALLEN, Politico


Not everyone in Washington is so desperate to avoid sequestration.


A handful of Senate conservatives have been gaming out ways to block a deal, if they consider it a bad one — even if it means letting billions in across-the-board cuts go through, according to GOP sources on Capitol Hill.

The issue: Republican budget hard-liners fear that the White House, congressional Democrats and their own party leaders will try to replace or forestall the cuts with budget gimmickry or new taxes. They worry that “fake” cuts — savings that would have happened anyway or other accounting tricks — will become increasingly popular, even for moderate Republicans, as the zero hour approaches for the Defense Department.


In private sessions, these Republicans have begun laying plans to block a big, bipartisan agreement, either by pressuring GOP leaders not to give ground or using the congressional rulebook to slow-walk the process.


It is too early to tell what will come down the pike, and the discussions are preliminary, Republican sources cautioned.


But the conservative lawmakers are “concerned” that leaders could “use the sequester as leverage to get a bad deal” through Congress, one senior GOP aide told POLITICO.


They view the cuts as money in the bank, the silver lining of an August 2011 Budget Control Act, the debt-limit deal that gave Congress the choice of coming up with $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years or letting automatic cuts to defense and domestic programs take effect on Jan. 2, 2013.


“Whatever you say about the cuts, and we all opposed the BCA, it was a big victory for those wanting to cut spending,” said a Senate Republican source. “To then turn around and replace that with revenue” — or unrealistic future cuts — “is going to be a very hard thing to overcome on our side.” [MORE]



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Is the filibuster unconstitutional?

Is the filibuster unconstitutional? | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it
One of America’s top lawyers thinks so....
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The New York Times > Week in Review > Filibuster Under Fire: Henry Clay Hated It. So Does Bill Frist.

The New York Times > Week in Review > Filibuster Under Fire: Henry Clay Hated It. So Does Bill Frist. | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it
The filibuster, considered by many scholars to be a valuable check against the passage of ill-conceived legislation, faces its most serious challenge in years.
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Democrats Push for Filibuster Rule Change - US News and World Report

Democrats Push for Filibuster Rule Change - US News and World Report | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it
Some want to change the way filibusters work after what they see as too much obstruction.
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Some Democrats seek change in filibuster rules, but others are wary

Some Democrats seek change in filibuster rules, but others are wary | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) chuckled as he recently reflected on his effort, five years ago, to change nearly century-old filibuster rules.
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Retiring Rep. Steve LaTourette: You have to ‘hand over your wallet and your voting card’ to extremes

Retiring Rep. Steve LaTourette: You have to ‘hand over your wallet and your voting card’ to extremes | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it
Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) told reporters that to rise in party ranks, politicians must now hand over “your wallet and your voting card” to party extremes.
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Democrats Seek Changes to Senate Procedures

Democrats Seek Changes to Senate Procedures | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it
Frustrated by regular filibusters and other blockades, Senate Democrats are urging their leadership to change the chamber’s rules.
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Daily Show: Worst Responders

Senate Republicans filibuster the Zadroga bill but pass tax cuts for the wealthy, which is great news for firefighters who make over $200,000 a year.
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The Constitutional option to change Senate Rules and Procedures

The Constitutional option to change Senate Rules and Procedures:

A majoritarian means to over come the filibuster

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The Problem With Money in Politics by Lawrence Lessig

On November 17th, Cenk Uygur joined some of the leading minds in the country at the UCLA School of Law to discuss Constitutional and legislative solutions to get big money and corporations to release their chokehold on American democracy and policy.


Via Michael Charney, Margaret Reeve Panahi
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Robert Trotner's comment, November 26, 2012 7:39 AM
I missed this because of my Jewish Sabbath, and then when I tried to listen to a replay Saturday night, it wasn't available. Thanks so much!!! Shared.
Michael Charney's comment, November 26, 2012 9:32 AM
You're very welcome, Bob.
Robert Trotner's comment, November 26, 2012 9:51 AM
I hope this goes viral! This is a Republic Issue, a Cancer Issue, and an Inside vs. Outside Issue. I for one, would love to see the purchase of potato chips far outstrip the purchase of political favors lol. And i agree a statute is the way to go for the reason you mentioned and many others. :)
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Exclusive: Boehner Calls Raising Tax Rates 'Unacceptable'

Exclusive: Boehner Calls Raising Tax Rates 'Unacceptable' | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it

by JOHN PARKINSON. ABC News


Raising tax rates is "unacceptable" to House Speaker John Boehner as he prepares to open negotiations on the looming "fiscal cliff" with the president and congressional Democrats, he told "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer today in an exclusive interview.


"Raising tax rates is unacceptable," Boehner, R-Ohio, said in his first broadcast interview since the election Tuesday.


"Frankly, it couldn't even pass the House. I'm not sure it could pass the Senate."


That stance could set up a real showdown with the White House given that the president has said he would veto any deal that does not allow tax cuts for the rich to expire. But the speaker said that Republicans would put new tax revenue on the table as leaders work toward a deal.


"I would do that if the president was serious about solving our spending problem and trying to secure our entitlement programs," Boehner said. "If you're increasing taxes on small-business people, it's the wrong approach." [MORE]


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Must We Always Fill in the Missing Pieces?

Must We Always Fill in the Missing Pieces? | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it

by MICHAEL CHARNEY


..I understand that our media are overrun with polarized commentary and that the GOP has done plenty to embarrass itself. But that combination in no way justifies painting nearly half the country with this particular brush. And, yes, I know... the extremists with the microphones happily do it every day. But that, too, is no justification. What's happening seems to be this: prejudice towards the right, from the left, has somehow become okay...


Read the Entire Post HERE.


Via Michael Charney
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It’s the filibuster, stupid

It’s the filibuster, stupid | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it

by MATT MILLER, The Washington Post


Here’s my plea to Jim Lehrer: At the first presidential debate in Denver next Wednesday, ask the candidates if they are in favor of restoring majority rule in this country. In other words, ask them if they would urge the Senate to scrap the filibuster — and if not, how do they expect to get anything done?


It’s an ideal debate question for five reasons.


First, it’s not the kind of thing on which the candidates will have prepared snoozy, market-tested talking points. So it might give voters the chance to see Mitt Romney and Barack Obama actually think in public.


Second, unlike jobs, or the future of Medicare, the candidates won’t raise the matter themselves.


Third, it’s not a partisan issue. Since the Senate’s 60-vote requirement to end debate is prone to abuse by both parties, the candidates might even find common ground.


Fourth, a discussion of today’s filibuster mess — along with context that Mr. Lehrer can introduce as moderator — will help millions of voters understand what’s behind a big chunk of Washington’s maddening dysfunction.


Finally — and forgive me for raising my voice here — if we don’t scrap the filibuster, we simply can’t govern this country and meet the challenges of the 21st century. [MORE]

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Obama targets departing lawmakers - Byron Tau

Obama targets departing lawmakers - Byron Tau | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it

by BYRON TAU, Politico


Despite being in the midst of a heated presidential campaign, President Barack Obama isn’t letting Congress off the hook.


“Their work isn’t finished,” Obama said in his weekly address released Saturday. But, “last week, without much fanfare, members of the House of Representatives banged a gavel, turned out the lights and rushed home, declaring their work finished for now.


“If that frustrates you, it should,” Obama said. “When they skipped town, members of Congress left a whole bunch of proposals sitting on the table — actions that would create jobs, boost our economy and strengthen middle-class security. These ideas have been around for months. The American people want to see them passed. But apparently, some members of Congress are more worried about their jobs and their paychecks this campaign season than they are about yours.”


Obama specifically noted that the farm bill, the veterans job corps and a mortgage refinancing program were items left undone.
He also prodded Congress to take up his proposal to extend just the middle- and lower-income portions of the Bush tax cuts.


“If Congress had listened to you, they could have given 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small business owners a guarantee that your taxes won’t go up next year by a single dime,” Obama said. “This is something we all agree on. It should have gotten done a long time ago.


“But Republicans in Congress have refused to budge. They’re holding tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans hostage until we pass tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. And now, middle-class families and small business owners are left wondering what their tax bill will look like next year.” [MORE]



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GOP uses filibusters to obstruct Obama, Democrats - Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor's Information - The Maui News

By the end of these six years with a Democratic-controlled Senate, Republicans will have used the filibuster to block legislation more than 400...

Via Lynda Park
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Biden: McConnell decided to withhold all cooperation even before we took office

Biden: McConnell decided to withhold all cooperation even before we took office | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it
The Vice President makes a striking charge.
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CNN.com - Bush: Stop 'ugly politics' over judicial nominees - Nov. 14, 2003

CNN.com - Bush: Stop 'ugly politics' over judicial nominees - Nov. 14, 2003 | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it
As senators passed the halfway point Thursday in a 30-hour debate designed to bring attention to Democratic filibusters blocking three of the White House's judicial nominees, President Bush called for a stop to the ugly politics.
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Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) says she’ll retire, citing partisanship in Congress

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) says she’ll retire, citing partisanship in Congress | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it
The GOP moderate from Maine announced Tuesday that she won’t seek another term because partisanship has made the Senate unproductive.
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Reform and the Filibuster

Reform and the Filibuster | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it
The new Senate will face a momentous decision: a vote on whether to change its rules to prohibit the widespread abuse of the filibuster. It should seize the opportunity.
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Not Too Late to Curb the Filibuster

Not Too Late to Curb the Filibuster | A Broken Congress & Government | Scoop.it
Senator Harry Reid belatedly recognizes he should have changed the rules on filibusters, which have become a daily impediment to Senate operations.
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Daily Show: Helms - Filibuster Controversy

The Senate filibuster is showing that each side can be just as big a dick as the other.
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