I wish to respectfully request the Senate to change the rule(s) for the filibuster on January 26th, 2011, or this Senate rule may not be changed again until the first day of the next Senate (two years from now). The new rules must require a Senator that opposes legislation to stand before the Senate and plead his case to the American people. Eliminate reading the phone book or other unrelated material and require the arguments pertain only to the legislation being opposed. Retain the rights of the minority in the Senate, however, require 'a cost' to the Senator that wishes to filibuster. Additionally, ensure that a minimum of one half of the Senators on the opposing side remain on the Senate floor during all debates for a filibuster.
The U.S. Senate is broken. A single Senator can delay a bill from even being considered by simply making a phone call to a clerk and then going home. Senator Merkley (D-Ore.) stated, “We should require a number of Senators to remain on the floor in order to filibuster. Senators should make their case before the American people and explain why the majority is making such a colossal mistake that we should suspend normal democratic decision-making.”
Despite controlling only 42 seats in the Senate for the past two years, Republicans have been able to either delay or completely block several Democratic bills by filibustering them, and this preventing the majority from attaining the 60 votes needed to get the bills passed. One senator may stop 99 other Senators from doing essential work for the American people, remain anonymous and avoid the pain of explaining his objections to the Senate or the American people. The abuse of the filibuster MUST END!
(Political Cartoon by: John S. Pritchett)