As noted earlier by Hillbilly it appears as if the Senator for Communist China Mitch McConnell has reached a new milestone. After years of obstructing any progress in this country with the filibuster he has actually filibustered himself. While the rights of the minority in this country always need to be protected this little episode by McConnell, on top of his constant obstruction using the filibuster should show us one thing. Filibuster rules need to be reformed desperately in the Senate. If the majority of Americans want their votes to matter and want their voices heard we need to tell McConnell and the Senate one thing on the filibuster, Enough Already!!
While the minority in the Senate and the country as a whole should be respected one thing they should not be allowed to constantly do. Take away the right of the elected majority to do the will of the American people and lead this country forward with legislation that is needed.
Senator Bernie Sanders explains why filibuster rules need to be reformed:
And Democrats are not asking for anything radical in reforming filibuster rules. In fact all they are asking is the filibustering Republicans actually have the guts to tell the American people why they think their majority voice should be silenced:
Senate Democrats who support reforming the filibuster when the new Congress convenes next month insist their ideas are fairly modest. Their farthest-reaching proposal, they say, would be to end the era of silent obstruction, and force filibustering senators to hold the floor and register their objections publicly, and at indeterminate length. The 60-vote supermajority typically required to end the filibuster, they insist, would still stand.
Currently the minority party can mount "silent" filibusters, so long as the majority can't muster 60 supportive votes. That means they can block a bill from moving to debate or to a final vote without necessarily occupying the floor and speaking, just like the iconic scene in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. If even a single member of the minority objects quietly to a simple-majority vote on a piece of legislation or a nominee, the majority must muster 60 votes to end debate.
The Democrats want to alter these incentives by implementing a "talking" filibuster that shifts some of the burden to the filibustering minority. The reforms under consideration would take away obstructing senators' shortcuts in scuttling a bill, forcing them to occupy the floor and speak ceaselessly until one party or the other loses its will and gives up.
Specifically, here's what the plan will do: if the minority summons enough votes to block a cloture motion, the Senate would proceed to a period of extended debate. Then, in order to sustain the blockade, at least one of the 41 filibustering senators would be required to hold the floor and speak without any ability to suspend debate.
In other words the filibuster would be transformed back into what it was meant to be. A chance for the minority to spell out to the American people exactly why it feels the way it does about an issue. It would end the days of allowing self-serving ideologues like Mitch McConnell to keep legislation our country needs and our people have voted for from moving forward simply because a few selfish people do not get their way.
While the minority needs to be respected in our democracy it was never meant to be able to keep the majority from governing. There is a reason folks like Senator McConnell are in the minority now. America has widely shunned their failed, self-serving ideas.
It is definately time to move forward without them.