Letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Date: January 11, 2013
Type: MEC President Letter

The Honorable Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader
S-221 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Subject: S. RES. 4 & S. RES. 6

Dear Majority Leader Reid:

On behalf of the 15,000 Flight Attendants represented by the United Master Executive Council of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA at United Airlines, I’m writing to urge you to take action on S. RES. 4 and S. RES. 6. With our nation facing unparalleled challenges, the U.S. Senate can no longer afford to be gridlocked over routine legislation and nominations. Our country is still struggling and it’s crucial that our democracy work for all Americans. These rules changes introduced by Senators Merkley, Udall and Harkin will help restore the U.S. Senate to a body of constructive discussion and debate.

In recent decades, the Senate has devolved from constructive bipartisanship to extreme partisan gridlock. The filibuster was used once during Lyndon B. Johnson's six years as Majority Leader. Today, you have had to endure over 380 filibusters in the same amount of time.

Common sense reforms will end routine obstruction and ensure that the Senate is able to address the critical issues facing our nation.

S. RES. 4 limits the use of the filibuster in the Senate to improve legislative process. It prevents the ability to filibuster a motion to proceed; requires Senators wishing to filibuster to keep the floor and to talk; limits the number of motions needed to go to Conference with the House and makes that motion non-debatable; and caps post-cloture debate time on nominations to 2 hours. These changes will remove the time delays on the legislative process and allow the important work of democracy to flourish. 

S. RES. 6 would institute a “talking filibuster” by requiring Senators that object to legislation and wish to stop or delay it to stand on the floor and speak their case to the American people.

These reforms are in the best interest of our democracy. Reforming the filibuster would return the Senate to a body of discussion and debate, both of which are needed to address the vital issues facing our country. Requiring filibustering Senators to speak publicly would raise the cost of obstruction and ensure blocking actions are only used for intense opposition.   Now more than ever, Americans want our lawmakers to work together on important issues like tax cuts, jobs, veterans’ aid, and nominations. And that means eliminating the tool by which extremists dictate the majority.

I urge you to stand strong and reform the Senate rules by taking action on S. RES. 4 and S. RES. 6. Our democracy depends on it.

Sincerely,

Greg Davidowitch, President
United Master Executive Council

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