Fighting to End Paralysis in the Senate

Senator Jeff Merkley
2013-02-03 14:11:27
Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley<merkley.senate.gov/imo/media/image/email_header.jpg> Dear Unity, Since coming to Congress, I have been fighting to end the paralysis in the Senate by reforming the filibuster. In the time I have been here, I have heard from tens of thousands of Oregonians who are frustrated that important legislation is blocked without debate and with no senator held accountable for the inaction. Because the current form of the filibuster allows any senator to object to ending debate on a bill silently, an objection that can only be overcome with a supermajority of 60 votes, the filibuster has become a partisan tool for blocking the majority's agenda rather than a principled stand by a senator defending core values. That is why I have been making the case across Oregon and the country for a "talking filibuster," which would simply require a senator who demands more debate to in fact be in the Senate chamber debating. In other words, if a senator chooses to block a bill that has the support of a majority of senators, I believe he or she should at least make the case before the American people, and if no senator is on the floor debating, then the debate should end and a vote held. As you may know, on January 24, 2013, the Senate made several reforms to its rules to help move legislation more efficiently through the chamber. Specifically, the new reforms create tools that can limit the ability of individual senators to block bills from coming to the floor, and they will make it less time-consuming to confirm the President's nominees. The new rules fell short of what I had proposed, and did not include a "talking filibuster" requirement. However, I am proud that the Senate took the steps that it did. These are the most substantive changes to Senate rules in decades. Moreover, senators from both parties sent a clear message that the current gridlock and dysfunction is unacceptable, and showed their determination to fix the Senate. If these modest steps do not sufficiently address the dysfunction in the Senate, many senators are determined to fight for stronger solutions, and I am ready to continue leading that fight. Please know that I will continue to work as hard as I can to make the Senate a deliberative body that can take on our nation's challenges and work towards real solutions. I hope you will continue to send your thoughts my way. All my best, Jeffrey A. Merkley United States Senator Click here if you do not want to receive these email updates. <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/EsurveyForm.aspx m_merkley-iq&__sid=100008&__crop=16000.11219537.6682875.7791867> <merkley.senate.gov/imo/media/image/email_footer.jpg> Facebook <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=16000.11219537.6682875.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww facebook.com%2fjeffmerkley> Facebook <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=16000.11219537.6682875.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww facebook.com%2fjeffmerkley> Please note that any reply to this email address will be sent to an unmonitored email address. To contact me, please visit the contact page on my website <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=16000.11219537.6682875.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2fcontact%2f> . Twitter <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=16000.11219537.6682875.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2ftwi tter.com%2fSenJeffMerkley> Twitter <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=16000.11219537.6682875.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2ftwi tter.com%2fSenJeffMerkley> YouTube <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=16000.11219537.6682875.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww youtube.com%2fuser%2fSenatorJeffMerkley> YouTube <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=16000.11219537.6682875.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww youtube.com%2fuser%2fSenatorJeffMerkley> E-newsletter <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=16000.11219537.6682875.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2fnewsletter%2f> E-newsletter <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=16000.11219537.6682875.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2fnewsletter%2f> <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/Customers/quorum_merkley-iq/ iqtrk.gif?crop=16000.11219537.6682875.7791867>
Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley

 

Dear Unity,

 

Since coming to Congress, I have been fighting to end the paralysis in the Senate by reforming the filibuster. In the time I have been here, I have heard from tens of thousands of Oregonians who are frustrated that important legislation is blocked without debate and with no senator held accountable for the inaction.  Because the current form of the filibuster allows any senator to object to ending debate on a bill silently, an objection that can only be overcome with a supermajority of 60 votes, the filibuster has become a partisan tool for blocking the majority's agenda rather than a principled stand by a senator defending core values.

 

That is why I have been making the case across Oregon and the country for a "talking filibuster," which would simply require a senator who demands more debate to in fact be in the Senate chamber debating. In other words, if a senator chooses to block a bill that has the support of a majority of senators, I believe he or she should at least make the case before the American people, and if no senator is on the floor debating, then the debate should end and a vote held.

 

As you may know, on January 24, 2013, the Senate made several reforms to its rules to help move legislation more efficiently through the chamber. Specifically, the new reforms create tools that can limit the ability of individual senators to block bills from coming to the floor, and they will make it less time-consuming to confirm the President's nominees. 

 

The new rules fell short of what I had proposed, and did not include a "talking filibuster" requirement. However, I am proud that the Senate took the steps that it did. These are the most substantive changes to Senate rules in decades. Moreover, senators from both parties sent a clear message that the current gridlock and dysfunction is unacceptable, and showed their determination to fix the Senate. If these modest steps do not sufficiently address the dysfunction in the Senate, many senators are determined to fight for stronger solutions, and I am ready to continue leading that fight. 

 

Please know that I will continue to work as hard as I can to make the Senate a deliberative body that can take on our nation's challenges and work towards real solutions. I hope you will continue to send your thoughts my way. 

 


All my best,

Jeffrey A. Merkley
United States Senator

Facebook Please note that any reply to this email address will be sent to an unmonitored email address. To contact me, please visit the contact page on my .
Twitter
YouTube
E-newsletter