Monday, July 15, 2013

Filibusted... No More?

Every so often, we're reminded of the epic dysfunction of the 113th Congress. If it's not another outburst of insani-TEA in the House, it's the struggle to accomplish anything in the Senate. That's largely thanks to the unprecedented abuse of the filibuster by the G-O-TEA clan there.

Until very recently, US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) was very hesitant to radically alter Senate rules. But now that he's having to admit the Senate is broken, he may finally be ready to push for new rules.

“This is a moment in history where circumstances dictate the need for change,” Mr. Reid, the majority leader, said in a speech at the liberal Center for American Progress. He suggested that there was only one way for Republicans to avoid the rules change: give Democrats a straight up-or-down vote on all seven of President Obama’s nominations that are in question and stop filibustering executive nominations going forward.“

I love the Senate, but right now the Senate is broken and needs to be fixed,” he said.

Senator Reid is giving the entire body one last chance to hammer out an agreement on President Obama's executive appointments tonight. If this is not successful, then Senator Reid will push for a rule change on executive appointments tomorrow. He has already said he has 51 votes for this rule change.

Even this is not a major change. Filibusters on legislation and judicial nominations will continue. Clearly, change does not come easily to the US Senate.

Still, something must be done. As of now, there is no permanent Labor Secretary or EPA Administrator. And on top of this, many more executive branch positions are vacant. And another high profile vacancy is happening is Janet Napolitano is stepping down as Homeland Security Director.

This is just no way for the country to function. Something must change. And now, finally, Senator Reid feels ready to pursue that change. This won't instantly solve all Congress' woes, but someone must start somewhere.

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