filed under Washington

Day One — Filibuster Reform

11:27AM ON 01/02/2013
BY Beth Comery

cliff hanger Everybody off! It’s time to get back on the “Debt Ceiling Topple Tower Death Drop Wipeout of Death.” Thank you Congressional Republicans for rocking the markets and terrifying the populace; maybe not the entire populace, just those Americans with pensions, or 401(k)s, people who buy groceries, the elderly, debt-strapped college grads looking for work, mayors, governors, farmers . . .

The Founding Farmers addressed the problem of faction in the Federalist Papers. James Madison argued in favor of a large republic,

. . . as each Representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in the small Republic, it will be more difficult for unworthy candidates to practise with success the vicious arts, by which elections are too often carried; and the suffrages of the People, being more free, will be more likely to centre in men who possess the most attractive merit, and the most diffusive and established characters. . .

The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States:

Apparently Madison could not foresee candidates so unworthy that they could consider self-immolation an option.

Perhaps filibuster reform would help make us feel better. Massachusetts Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren has vowed to pass this rule change on “Day One” and is presumably already working the phones towards that goal. It is hoped that Senators Whitehouse and Reed are helping her out with this effort.

[Update after the jump.]

Thank you Las Vegas Sun. Obviously Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is a key player in this whole filibuster thing. Ugh. So here’s why we haven’t had word yet.

Because neither the filibuster nor the procedural filibuster was created by the Constitution, lawmakers have to reapprove their use as part of the Senate rules at the start of every Congress. Though the 113th Congress was sworn in Thursday afternoon, Reid deferred that debate and vote until later in January, after the presidential inauguration Jan. 20.

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