The U.S. Senate rules are
broken--that’s why Union Members across the country are calling their Senators
to urge them to reform Senate rules.
In the past, our nation was able to adopt landmark legislation that put in place
workers’ rights, civil rights, retirement security for seniors and much more.
But today, obscure tactics like the “silent” filibuster allow individual
Senators to hold the nation’s work hostage while cutting backroom deals. The
House of Representatives passed 435 pieces of legislation that were never even
discussed in the Senate because current Senate rules allow a single Senator to
block discussion of critical issues. This gridlock has also prevented the
appointment of judges, creating a crisis in the nation’s judiciary system, and
has held up the confirmation of key presidential appointments. For example, the
confirmation of Harry Hoglander’s reappointment to the National Mediation Board
continues to be stalled in the Senate.
The current rules
that govern the United States Senate are hurting our democracy. “Secret holds” and “filibuster abuse” enable
obstruction, and block progress on a range of issues key to America’s
filibuster rule gives a minority of 41 Senators the power to prevent the Senate
from debating or voting on a bill, a resolution or presidential
appointment. Under the current system, a
party leader just has to refuse to allow a bill to be brought up by unanimous
consent, forcing supporters to find 60 votes in favor of a motion to end
debate. The Senator wishing to
filibuster the bill no longer has to defend their position or even show up to
gives each chamber of Congress the power to choose the rules governing its
procedures at the beginning of each two-year Congressional session. So when the
Congress convenes on January 3, 2013, the Senate has the ability to adopt new
rules, during its first “legislative day.” In the Senate, the first day of
legislative business is not the same as a calendar day. A “legislative day” starts when the Senate
meets after an adjournment and ends when the Senate next adjourns.
This week, AFA
Members will join members of CWA and the Fix the Senate Now coalition for a
full-scale lobby to urge Senators to adopt real reform of the Senate
rules. We are urging all AFA Members to
call both their Senators to tell them that it is time to change the outdated
Senate rules on the first legislative day of the 113th
Call your Senators today to urge them to support Senate rules reform. (See
sample script below.) Call 1-888-966-9836 or text RULESREFORM or FIXTHESENATE
to 69866 and then ask your friends to join you. Senate offices are open 8:30 AM
- 5:00 PM EST.
When your call is answered, say: "I am calling to ask that the Senator
vote for meaningful rules reform including requiring a talking filibuster.
Please support Senate rules reform on the first legislative day of the new