Thursday, January 24, 2013
ReutersTV: Video: Congress: Sarah Binder: The Return of Mr. Smith: Senate May Revive Real Filibuster: How To Reform The US Senate
I might watch Mr. Smith Goes to Washington again tonight for like the fifth or sixth time. But thats what a real filibuster is, right now what we have in the US Senate. Is a Senator objecting or refusing to move to final passage even if they ever get to that point. Actually lately bills haven't even reached debate because it takes sixty votes in the Senate. To move to debate, legislation and I don't know if you follow Congress fairly closely. I sorta have to as a current affairs blogger but if you turn on C-Span 2 which cover the US Senate gavel to gavel. A lot of times you'll seen an empty Senate floor with one loan sole generally a freshmen having. To sit there presiding over the Senate even though in a lot of cases there's nothing to preside over. Because there's nothing going on because the Senate Leader doesn't have sixty votes to move to debate any legislation. So unless a Senator has something to say and to get off of their chest and give a speech about whatever they want to talk about. A lot of times the Senate is stuck in what's called a quorum call where Senator are alerted that no one's on the. Floor or not enough Senators to conduct any business.
Me personally as an American I would like to see the Senate abolish the filibuster, not eliminate minority rights. I believe those should remain in place and if anything I would empower the Minority Leader as well as Leader with more power. But the Senate needs regular order, committees need to be more powerful and not just hold oversight hearings. But markup legislation and the committees should be the first place where legislation is marked up. And written so everyone in the Senate knows what they are voting on and has adequate time to try. To amend whatever they don't like or would like to add, so bills come to floor and then they get amended or at least the majority. And minority would have the opportunity to amend up or down, with a prevision to try to defeat poison pill amendments. The majority floor manager meaning the committee chairman that has jurisdiction over the bill on the floor. Would manage the time and amendment process for the majority, the minority floor manager meaning the. Ranking of the committee of jurisdiction of the bill on the floor would manage the time and amendment process for the minority. With time limits for both sides so Senators couldn't attempt to amend bills indefinitely.
Like I said I would like to end the filibuster but not only restore minority rights but empower the Leader and Minority Leader more. Filibuster gone, and replaced with a motion to table that only the Minority Leader could offer. That would block the bill until the Leader can come up with sixty votes to overturn the motion to table. But the motion to table could only be used to prevent a vote on final passage and this is what the Leader and Minority Leader. Would also be able to do, no more motion to proceed, once a committee passes a bill out of committee. It would automatically go on the Senate calender to be voted on in that Congress. And then it would be up to the Leader and only the Leader to decide when it comes to the floor. And at the beginning of any debate, all the Leader would have to do is move to call up whatever the bill. Is and that bill would then come to the floor with whatever relevant amendments that are attached to the bill to be voted on. That the Rules Committee approved to be voted on and then the Minority Leader would have the opportunity to call up a substitute to the bill that would. Be voted on as the last amendment to the bill that the Leader brought up.
So thats how I would reform the US Senate but what looks like is going to happen instead. Is that real filibusters aren't going to return but the fake filibuster which is really a block. Or hold on any legislation or any nominee that any Senator can make instead. With sixty votes need to overturn will stay in place instead but the filibuster will be reformed this way. No more motion to proceed or sixty votes need to debate bills and no more post cloture on. Legislation and nominees, meaning once sixty votes are reached to end a filibuster. The next vote would be on final passage which would only require fifty one votes. And what the minority will get in return is the ability to offer amendments and get those amendments voted on. And we'll see how these changes work in the 113th Congress.