Institutional interests start talking filibuster reform
Tomorrow, the Senate Rules Committee is holding another in its series of hearings on the development and current use of the filibuster. Those have been going on all year, however, so there's nothing surprising about that. What was surprising was the press release I got for a media call with leadership from the American Constitution Society, the Sierra Club, Common Cause and the Communications Workers of America. The purpose of the call was "to highlight the runaway usage of Senate filibusters and their role in derailing our democratic process and prioritizing corporate special interests over progress."
One of the questions I've posed occasionally on this blog is whether various organized constituencies will eventually recognize that their agenda isn't being stalled because specific senators aren't convinced of the merits of their bills, but because the filibuster makes it extremely difficult to pass anything. If immigration groups, environmental advocates, labor unions, business lobbies, pro-nuclear power coalitions and so on began pooling some of their resources and relationships to work on Senate rules reform, that would be a big deal. And yesterday brought evidence that it's beginning to happen.
Now, maybe it's just a call. But the fact that these groups are talking to one another about the need for filibuster reform is fairly important, and a sign of just how serious this conversation has gotten.
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