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January 2, 2013

Will Dem Senator Levin Kill Fillibuster Reform?

By Rob Kall

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.

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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.


Carl Levin (wikipedia image)
(Image by Wikipedia)
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Carl Levin (wikipedia image) by Wikipedia



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.


Submitters Bio:

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. 

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Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

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