Senator Merkley starts petition to change filibusters

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley Press Release,

Just last week, a majority of Senators voted to provide tax cuts for every American family on their first $250,000 of income, and to reject another round of bonus tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. But Americans aren’t getting their tax cuts because Republicans filibustered, just as they have filibustered virtually every bill and nomination over the last two years. The abuse of the Senate rules has tied the Senate in knots, but it’s not only hurting the Senate. Republicans are holding up record numbers of judges and executive branch nominees as well, wreaking havoc on every branch of government. If you are as angry and frustrated as I am, I hope you will sign my petition urging the Senate to fix the filibuster, and share this email with others.

The Senate has historically been known as the “world’s greatest deliberative body.” The filibuster was a rarely used but powerful way to let Senators stand up for their principles and slow things down when they thought the majority was making a grave mistake.

But today, the filibuster has become an act of craven political calculation — a 5-second, administrative act, often taken anonymously, that overturns majority rule and adds a week of floor time for even the most routine, non-controversial, and technical actions by the Senate.

Join me in urging the Senate to adopt new rules that make three key changes:

1. Make the filibuster real. Require Senators who filibuster to stay on the floor and explain to the American people why they think they are right and a majority of Senators are wrong.
2. Don’t give Senators multiple chances to filibuster the same bill. In recent years, Republicans have regularly filibustered routine parliamentary steps, even on measures that ultimately pass unanimously, because each filibuster delays the work of the Senate about a week.
3. Bring fair deliberation back to the floor of the Senate. Ensure that Senators of both parties have the chance to offer amendments and have those amendments voted on without giving any one Senator veto power.

If you believe that Senators were elected to help solve America’s problems, not create them… if you believe in transparency and accountability from your elected representatives…. then I invite you to join the fight. Please sign my petition and forward it on to others who are fed up and ready for change.

Our country has big challenges, and deserves a Senate up to the task of taking them on. People already think it the filibuster is an act of political courage in defense of deeply-held principles. Let’s make it so.

Jeff Merkley