Filibuster "reform"

King (202-224-5344 (Snowe’s old number) Collins (202-224-2523) Call ’em. They’re both in favor of motherhood, apple pie, and filibuster reform. But the devil’s in the details. Threatened unavailability of abortions and failure to change apples from the highest point on the pesticide scale are details for the first two. But the third? Wow! There are two basic proposals for filibuster reform at this point. The incitements I have received from a multitude of groups all tell me to call my Senators and tell them to opposed the McCain/Levin approach. But all these groups say is that it is bad, doesn’t solve the problem and could make it worse. I hate to call my Senators and act like an idiot or a recording. So I looked further. The proposals are described in wonderful detail at but I admit I was getting pretty overwhelmed and cross-eyed trying to wade through it all. I tried to put together an outline of SOME of the points (below), and when I called the Senators I bent the ear of the two phone answerers with as un-like-I’m-reading-it presentation of the pros-cons as I could muster from the outline. They both heard me out, seemingly patient, and commented on being impressed that I’d looked into the issue. Whether that helped or not, I dunno (but it made me feel good — isn’t that half the reason for calling? :-)). So, FWIW: Udall/Murphy (unsuccessful for several years) Permanent Requires talking Motion to proceed to debate cannot be filibustered Consolidates 3-step procedure to move passed bills to conference committee, doesn’t permit filibuster Cuts post-cloture debate on nominations 30->2 McCain/Levin Temporary (2 years) Permits silence Before a motion to proceed can get past a filibuster, each side must accept two amendments from the other (too risky to be invoked) The procedure to move a passed bill to conference committee is streamlined, but it is still subject to filibuster Shortening of post-cloture times (30 hours to 2) on nominations is good, but all main Presidential appointments are NOT shortened, and over 500 positions can be removed from the shortened-time list by committee chairs. _______________________________________________ HCCN mailing list

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