Time to re­store the real fil­i­buster

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

The Jan. 23 news story “Se­nate lead­ers seek to rein in Democrats’ fil­i­buster re­bel­lion” said that a group of Demo­cratic sen­a­tors wants to “shake up the foun­da­tion of the world’s most de­lib­er­a­tive body, right down to chal­leng­ing the fil­i­buster.” The group, led by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), is not try­ing to chal­lenge the fil­i­buster; it is try­ing to re­store it.

In the past two years, there have been no true fil­i­busters— no sen­a­tors tak­ing the floor and talk­ing end­lessly. This is be­cause the mere threat of a fil­i­buster has pre­vented leg­is­la­tion and nom­i­na­tions from even reach­ing the floor. The con­stant prac­tice by sen­a­tors of threat­en­ing to fil­i­buster has turned a tra­di­tion up­side down; clo­ture is in­voked be­fore de­bate be­gins. The Se­nate needs to adopt the Udall-Merkley pro­pos­als and re­store the tra­di­tional “ talk­ing” fil­i­buster.

David RePass, Char­lottesville

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