Friday, January 25, 2013

(updated 1/27)

Senate Democratic Leaders Sell Out On Filibuster Reform
Reformer Tom Udalls's Response: 'Oh well.'

The three-year long filibuster reform efforts of New Mexico Democratic Senator Tom Udall were flushed down the drain yesterday by Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, when Reid reached a private compromise on filibuster reform with minority leader Republican Mitch McConell that amounts to no reform at all. It is being said old timers in the senate including Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Carl Levin and others were influential in blocking the reforms.
Senator Tom Udall (D) NM

Udall and Jeff Merkley of Oregon had patiently built support for their bill, which would have reformed filibuster rules that now make it easy for the minority Republican party to block virtually everything that comes up in the senate they don't like, from judicial nominations to government appointments to legislation of all kinds, and lets them prevent many things from coming up for a vote at all. Udall recently told radio talk show host Bill Press that they had received Reid's endorsement of their efforts last summer. But according to American Prospect, the fillibuster and other arcane senate rules make individual senators much more powerful than our democratic form of government would otherwise make them, and once someone gets used to power they don't want to give it up.

Reid's back room sellout chucks virtually all of Udall's efforts and allows a vote on only a couple of tepid reforms that many on the Left are criticizing for amounting to no reform at all and that Rolling Stone magazine calls "a joke."

Speaking of tepid, Udall released a statement on his senate web site that amounts to no statement at all. Harry Reid is not mentioned or alluded to. We the people, who are, after all, only obliquely relevant to what the senate does, are mentioned only obliquely.

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