The 113th Congress has begun and if we expect this Congress to be any different from the last, we need real change.
The US Senate's outdated rules provide multiple opportunities for obstructionists to block legislation without any debate and require a supermajority to pass nearly any legislation or confirm any nominee. Our own Family and Medical Leave bill was needlessly held up from coming to the Senate floor for a vote by one Senator who had unfounded concerns about the legislation. This Senator put an "anonymous" hold on our legislation for months.
Unnecessary obstructions like this stifle real discussion and debate and prevent the Senate from passing important legislation.
Whereas Senators once resorted to filibustering on rare occasions and in exceptional instances of intense opposition, rampant obstruction has now become standard operating procedure in today's Senate. AFA is part of "Fix the Senate" Now a large coalition urging the Senate to adopt new procedural rules enabling real debate, reducing the number of opportunities a Senator can filibuster the same bill, expediting the confirmation process for Presidential appointments and Judicial nominees and requiring public disclosure of a Senator's objection to a bill.
Our window of opportunity to change Senate rules is limited. The Senate can set its rules via majority vote at the start of a new session. Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Tom Udall (NM) and Tom Harkin (IA) are leading the charge and have introduced Senate Resolution 4 and Senate Resolution 6. If adopted, these Resolutions will reduce opportunities for obstruction while preserving the minority's ability to engage in a real "talking" filibuster. We need to help build cosponsors for these bills.
Reforming the filibuster would return the Senate to a body of discussion and debate. Requiring filibustering senators to speak publically would ensure that Senators who block actions do so only when truly appropriate and within public eye (Senators can currently secretly block bills form being considered).
Between now and January 22, 2013 we must solidify support for the strongest possible package of reforms, the reforms that are part of Senate Resolutions 4 and 6. We are urging you and your family to contact your two Senators to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 4 and Senate Resolution 6.
CALL YOUR SENATORS
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.
Sample script: When your call is answered, say:
"I am calling to ask that the Senator to stand up for real Senate rules and co-sponsor Senate Resolution 4 and 6."