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Fix the Filibuster

by Tim Isbell

Like many Americans, I am frustrated with the gridlock in the the U. S. Congress. Today's filibuster rules in the Senate facilitate gridlock, instead of facilitating debate. So when my smartphone downloaded a 20 minute NPR Planet Money podcast on the topic of filibustering I decided to have a listen. Glad I did. It's very informative, balanced, AND quite entertaining. And, yes, it does include Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

The name of the audio podcast is Schoolhouse Rock Is A Lie (Or, How The Filibuster Ate Washington). To listen, just click on the link.

The good news is that there are little "green shoots" of cooperation beginning to sprout in Washington, at least partly due to the work of No Labels (full disclosure: Robin and I are members since 2010). It seems to me that now is the time for our senators to find the courage to change the filibuster rules. This may be as easy as going back to the rules of just a few years ago when a filibustering senator had to at least stand up and take the risk of making a fool of himself/herself in public to stop a bill from coming to the floor for debate. Today all a senator needs to do is have a staffer call the floor manager and register a filibuster. 

So I wrote an email to our 2 California senators urging them to take some initiative to change the filibuster rules to something that facilitates collaboration and strong debate. 

Hope you can find time to listen to the podcast, and maybe send a letter or an email to your two senators. If you're not sure how to contact them, this Common Cause url will help you.


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