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Critically Important, An Absolute Must: FILIBUSTER REFORM!

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The filibuster, that weapon of political obstruction, must be removed from the hands of Republicans. It's critically important for the Democratic Party and its Majority Leader, Harry Reid, to seize the opportunity to end the gridlock in Congress by finally bringing long needed reform to this destructive, totally outdated, and obsolete process.

If Harry Reid and the members of the Democratic Party fail to change the Senate filibuster rule then they and the American people will pay a terrible price. The ongoing gridlock in this Congress, the failure to enact important legislation, must be broken. The urgent business of this nation must be addressed and its most critical problems solved. The Republicans have invoked this filibuster 400 times during this last Congress and that is the reason why it has been the least productive in the last 60 years.

These Republican misfits, whose only talent is to block, obstruct and defeat any and all attempts to enact legislation that is needed to govern this country, must be stopped in their tracks, once and for all. If Majority Leader Reid and his Democratic cohorts don't have the courage to take the steps leading to filibuster reform, then this Congress may be far worse than the last and, once again, accomplish nothing of substance.

Where is President Obama on this issue of great significance? As is so often the case, when he should be speaking to the American people to get them behind an important issue, we hear nothing but silence. He, as the leader of this nation, should strongly support filibuster reform because, if he doesn't, his second term in office will be completely irrelevant and meaningless. It is almost incomprehensible, but not altogether surprising, that he isn't using the power of his office to pressure those Democrats who are deathly afraid of future Republican retribution.

The Founding Fathers created the Senate to develop and enact legislation necessary to carry on the business of the nation and to provide for the needs of the people, as well as to carry out other important functions. They did not originate and initiate the filibuster rule, nor is it a part of the U.S. Constitution. The filibuster was created and made a part of the Senate rules by that body itself and, for decades, it didn't greatly interfere with the legislative process. But in more recent years, as frustrated Republicans became the minority party, they determined that they would use it as a weapon against the Democratic majority. And they have been very, very successful.

The most troubling aspect involving this important issue is the fact that it is barely being discussed by the mainstream America media and I see virtually nothing about it in progressive news outlets where you would think it should be highly publicized. The failure of the journalistic community to bring this important issue before the American people means that they remain totally uninformed about something that could affect their lives in a very detrimental way. They are not even being given the opportunity to voice their strong opinions on the matter; and I find that to be journalistically irresponsible.

A good picture of what is going on can be found by this link to the Huffington Post; here are some excerpts: The Senate postponed debate on reforming the filibuster Thursday, as advocates cited the support of 48 senators for eliminating the silent filibuster using the so-called constitutional option, a measure that requires 50 votes plus that of the vice president.

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The main component of the Merkley-Udall approach is the talking filibuster, which still enables the minority to filibuster legislation but would require them to do so by actually standing and speaking on the floor.

Not surprisingly, the combination of Republican Sen. John McCain, Democratic Sen. Carl Levin and a few other senators are trying to throw a monkey wrench into the gears of progress by offering a largely watered down alternate proposal. The Democratic majority needs to throw this proposal that basically preserves this deadly filibuster, into the Senate incinerator.

Another article on this subject, written by Rob Kall of Opednews, can be found at this link. It explains in greater detail the alternate proposal by McCain and Levin and I especially like the part which says, "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." To that I might add that there are a few other Democrats that also need to be targeted and replaced, beginning with Harry Reid if he, once again, caves in to the GOP and fails to do everything in his power to bring about filibuster reform.

I can't possibly stress the importance of this issue to any greater degree. This U.S. Senate, terribly ineffective and unproductive, sits at a critical crossroads. It can either climb out of the deep hole into which it has dug itself, and finally do the business of the nation and its people, or it can continue its downward slide.

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Right now, considering the many needs of the American people and problems in this society, there is nothing more important than filibuster reform.

Michael Payne


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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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