Sunday, February 28, 2010

Filibuster reform ideas?

I'm going to be writing about various filibuster reform ideas over at the other place...I'm aware of a few proposals that have been made, but if anyone is aware of anything more obscure please leave a comment or email me, and I'll take a look.  Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. I am sure you are aware of it, but don't forget Tom Udall's proposal:

    It is nuclear optionish, but using a majority vote to modify the rules at the start of a new term is easier to defend. Why should rules from previous Congresses apply to a new Congress? That is not nuclear, etc.

    To prepare the public needs to be educated this term so they are ready for the inevitable political ****storm. This will cost the Dems floor time, so they have to decide it is worth fighting. Here is the sequence:

    1. Democrats wait for the Republicans to filibuster a Bill that is both popular and unimportant. Popular means it is a bill some Republicans will filibuster before they vote for it. Unimportant makes the filibuster politically costly to sustain.

    2. The Democrats announce they will fight the filibuster for three weeks only, and that yes, the Republicans will have to physically hold the floor. The open plan is to force the Republicans to reveal to the public at large just how ridiculously obstructive they have become. The Democrats regret that the Senate will be effectively shut down for three weeks, but after all the Republicans can withdraw this ridiculous filibuster at any time...

    3. The Senate turns into a circus for three weeks. The Democrats mock and taunt the Republicans who prefer to shut down the Senate over this innocuous and popular bill, rather than just letting it go to the floor for an up or down vote. (Democrats mouth the phrase "up or down vote" many many times).

    The time limit avoids a game of chicken where the Republicans might filibuster forever. Never get in a game of chicken with someone even crazier than you are. The Democrats do not cave in, they execute an announced plan.

    4. The public, newly educated as to the use of the modern filibuster, accepts the Udall style Constitutional Option at the start of the next term. The filibuster is reduced but not eliminated following the Harkin/Lieberman template to preserve "minority rights". It is only a reform to stop abuse, not a revolution.

    There is a chance that the Republicans will try to cut their losses by dropping their filibuster. In that case the Democrats tell the Republicans to behave and cut the crap. The Democrats because the Democrats are now on a hair trigger. In this case the Udall maneuver may or may not be invoked next session. The Democrats will have succeeded in putting a cost on the filibuster and reducing its use. It might be wisest to simply declare victory.

    The Udall next term endgame is not announced in advance. It should catch the Republicans by surprise.


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