Senator Jeff Merkley ( (D-OR) has been working on a proposal that will not eliminate filibusters, but which will at least force those who start them to work-- to actually show up and speak, as the filibuster was immortalized in Mr. Smith Comes to Washington.
Carl Levin (D-MI) is working with John McCain and a few other senators to try to kill even that effort. This could happen as early as tomorrow, January 3.
If he succeeds, the Democratic lead in the senate will be almost for naught and the senate could become as worthless as the house.
A HuffPost vote count
suggests that Merkley has the votes to make his much tougher plan go through. It boggles the mind why Levin would sabotage the effort. I have a hard time buying the rationale that this rule would play both ways if Republicans take the lead in the senate.
Huffpo writer Ryan Grim reports
" The Levin-McCain approach could also have a surprising consequence: Instead of tipping the balance of power toward the majority, it will leave in place the silent filibuster, which requires 60 votes to override, but would allow amendments to be adopted by a simple majority vote.
The proposal guarantees the minority party the possibility of at least two amendments on every bill. If the amendments are germane to the bill, they would be subject to a simple majority vote after debate is closed. Because the vote to close debate has to occur before members of the majority know whether a controversial amendment will be added, they cannot use their cloture power to block the amendments.
For instance, consider a hypothetical situation in which Democrats bring a bill to the floor related to funding health care, and Republicans bring up an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood that a handful of conservative Democrats might vote to support. The majority Democrats would have to decide whether to kill the overall bill before the vote actually occurs on the amendment.
Shortly after the Levin-McCain proposal was released last week, a large coalition of progressive and labor organizations announced its opposition to the bill. Groups that spend more time on defense than on offense would have the most to lose from the Levin-McCain plan, opponents said."
Levin's been a Republican enabler on other occasions. Too bad the Democrat party protects incumbents, regardless of how badly they screw the middle class.
Here's a thought. Now there are two independent senators who cooperate with the democrats (Sanders and King.) Let's try to get a lot more of them in office.
Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of Storycon.org, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com
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