As you may or may not know, Senators John McCain (R. AZ) and Carl Levin (D. MI) have proposed a bipartisan plan to water down filibuster reform:
Senator Merkley told Greg Sargent at the Washington Post that he plans on voting against the McCain/Levin plan if it comes up in the Senate and will urge his colleagues to do the same:There is more than one plan on the table. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), for example, have put forward the most ambitious reforms, which include the much-discussed "talking filibuster" provision.
Late last week, another option emerged when Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) unveiled a severely watered-down plan, which would make very few substantive changes. - The Maddow Blog, 1/3/13
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. NV) is planning on delaying the vote for filibuster reform to later this month to buy more time for the newest Senate class to be sworn but is also looking to negotiate more with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. KY). Reid is considering changing the rule that only require 51 votes to help change Senate rules instead of the usual 67 votes. Supporters of the 51 votes, known as the “constitutional option” believe this is necessary because for how unworkable the Senate has become. But some Democrats are afraid that the “constitutional option” would only protect would forever alter the Senate as a body designed to protect minority party’s rights:“If Levin-McCain comes to the floor in its current form, I’ll vote against it,” Merkley told me today. “I’ll certainly encourage others to oppose it.” Indeed, Merkley adds that the current package of reforms would further enable minority obstructionism — and constitutes a gift to Republicans.
That Merkley is sounding the alarm in this fashion suggests the prospects for real filibuster reform may be very bleak. If Merkley can round up some liberal votes against the final package, that might not stop it from passing, but it could cast real doubt on the seriousness of the proposal. - Washington Post, 1/2/13
Levin & McCain along with 6 other Senators have formed a bipartisan group that has drafted a compromise to avoid the nuclear option:Reid, an institutionalist at heart, appears to be treading carefully. While he has threatened repeatedly to change the filibuster, including via the 51-vote option, he also knows whatever steps he takes could haunt Democrats in the future should they return to the minority. - Politico, 1/2/13
Reid is hearing proposals from all sides but this quote from Senator Tom Udall (D. NM) is something to take in mind:So they quietly drafted a compromise that would block filibusters on proceeding to legislation and guarantee the minority party at least two amendments on the floor. It also would make it easier to go to conference with the House and confirm certain presidential nominations. The agreement would last only two years. - Politico, 1/2/13
In some sense, I can understand why Reid would want to delay the vote because many of the new Democratic Senators being sworn in campaigned and strongly support filibuster reform but the delay could cause any filibuster reform to be even more watered down. Call your Senator today and tell them to vote against the McCain/Levin plan:“He’s working with all sides, but he’s not happy with either one,” Udall told POLITICO. - Politico, 1/2/13
And put the extra pressure of Majority Leader Reid to deliver his promise on real filibuster reform:
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