Organic Consumers Association

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Tell the Senate: Fix the Filibuster

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page.

The filibuster is one of the biggest barriers to progress in our country.

This antiquated provision in Senate procedure has given a minority of right-wing senators the ability to paralyze the Senate.

It's the reason there was no public option in health care reform, financial reform didn't end "too big to fail," and the DREAM Act never made it to the Senate floor.

Every two years there's an opportunity to reform the filibuster by a majority vote at the beginning of a new Congress.

The next chance to do so will come up in a few weeks, but if we miss this opportunity we will not have a chance to fix the filibuster until 2015.

Speak out and tell the Senate: Fix the filibuster.

The filibuster of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" no longer exists.

Today's filibuster doesn't require opponents of a bill to make their case on the Senate floor. Instead filibusters now require very little time or effort, which has led to widespread abuse by the conservative minority.

While filibusters used to be extremely rare, right-wing senators are now routinely stopping bills and nominees that a majority favors.

Two years ago, there was movement to fix the filibuster until Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid cut a bad deal with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that killed the reform effort.

We can't allow the Senate to once again take a pass on meaningful reform of the filibuster. We simply cannot afford another two years of Senate paralysis and dysfunction.

So this time around, we're working to create momentum behind a strong package of reforms championed by Sen. Jeff Merkley, including the "talking filibuster" which requires senators to speak on the Senate floor in order to continue debate and prevent a vote.

Unfortunately a bipartisan group of more conservative senators have announced a much weaker proposal (called the McCain/Levin proposal) that would not fix the Senate's dysfunction but could have the effect of scuttling the meaningful filibuster reform. And in some ways the McCain/Levin proposal could be worse than the status quo. 
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