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Anti-filibuster weekend

For those who missed it because they were, I don't know, spending achingly rare moments with their family and celebrating the birth of their personal savior and discreetly tripping other human beings to snatch the last half-price Blue-Ray DVD players, I had an Outlook article this weekend on the need to reform the Senate. The article focused on the filibuster, but there's obviously more to the story.

To get at some of that, I also posted the transcripts of some of the interviews behind the article, including my chat with political scientist Barbara Sinclair, who explained the rise in the filibuster and the theory behind its use; SEIU President Andy Stern, who argued that there's no way to highlight Republican obstruction if Democrats can't stop the most conservative members of their party from breaking ranks in order to extort concessions; Sen. Jeff Merkley, who is hoping to produce a bipartisan fix for the filibuster by phasing it out six or eight years into the future when it's not clear which party will benefit; and Sen. Tom Harkin, who revealed he's planning to reintroduce legislation to end the filibuster in January.

I was also glad to see Sen. Arlen Specter join the chorus. On Fox News Sunday, he said, "The lead story today in The Washington Post is that after you reform health care, you ought to reform the Senate. And I would start with the process." So would I, Senator. So would I.

By Ezra Klein  |  December 28, 2009; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Given that the Dem's had no objections to minority party power in the Senate back when they were in the minority, it's Micky Mouse to whine about it now. Personally, I feel safer when either party has the power to stop legislation. Guess that'll be the case again after Republicans pick up a few seats in the 2010 elections.

Posted by: jefatkinson | December 28, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I guess you enjoy gridlock, jefatkinson.

Posted by: cnic | December 28, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Ezra for taking this topic via your Op-Ed (and WaPo for publishing).

I do not want to stop only at 'filibuster'. That is one step. Next there is no business in the world where a state of Half Million people to have 2 Senate votes and another of 30 Million also to have 2 Senate votes. There must be proportionality (if not exact, as near as possible) in the representation.

One naive way could be let there be 2 Senators elected from each State but one will have a full vote whereas the other one could get only 'decimal' vote in proportion to population or some variation of that.

Senate can directly go to proportional system; but I guess they like 'evolution' so much that it is unlikely that they would go there in one step.

But that is for future. Today, we start the fight against 'filibuster'. So many thanks and hope you and WaPo keep this topic alive until resolved.

Posted by: umesh409 | December 28, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

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