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A screen capture of Jimmy Stewart's character holding a filibuster in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
The gang's all here trying to keep the Senate from functioning again. That means everybody in the Senate is saying vague stuff about where they might be in an agreement to keep the Senate completely dysfunctional.
“We’ve had some very productive conversations,” said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), the No. 2 Republican, who is retiring.

“We need to avoid breaking the rules to change the rules — that’s a pretty universal position among both Democrats and Republicans,” Kyl told TPM. “There are some ways that the body needs to change its way of doing business in order to be more productive. There are conversations going on about all of that. And I think they have the potential to provide some bipartisan solutions.”

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) also sounded hopeful — but had no details.

“We’re still talking about it. We don’t have an agreement yet,” Durbin told TPM. “There are some ideas out there and they’re held pretty strongly but no final package. We’d love to have an agreement with the Republicans to make this a more efficient and fair institution.”

On the other hand, support for a real, actual talking filibuster seems pretty high. At least among Democrats. Jon Tester is for it. Barbara Boxer took to the floor to defend the idea, and got Bob Casey, Sherrod Brown, and even Ben Nelson with her. Here's what he said:
“Yeah, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, that’s all we have to do,” he said. “If somebody thinks it’s important enough to delay the work of the Senate, then they ought to think it’s important enough for them to be on the floor of the Senate to explain why.”
Not that Ben Nelson has much to do with it, since he's retiring and the changes won't happen until next year. Of course, neither does Jon Kyl, who is sticking his nose into it. But if Ben Nelson is agreeing with the majority of Democrats, then how radical can this idea be?

Help make the filibuster a real, talking filibuster. Sign our petition.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 02:43 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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