Harry Reid-Penned NYT Op-ed: The Filibuster Is Suffocating the Will of the American People

I’ve made it clear in my past diaries that the next Democratic President and Democratic Controlled U.S. Senate must do away with the 60 vote filibuster rule. Today, former U.S. Senate Majority and Minority Leader, Harry Reid (D. NV), continues to make that case in an op-ed he wrote for the New York Times:

The Senate is now a place where the most pressing issues facing our country are disregarded, along with the will of the American people overwhelmingly calling for action. The future of our country is sacrificed at the altar of the filibuster.

Something must change. That is why I am now calling on the Senate to abolish the filibuster in all its forms. And I am calling on candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president to do the same.

If a Democratic president wants to tackle the most important issues facing our country, then he or she must have the ability to do so — and that means curtailing Republicans’ ability to stifle the will of the American people. It’s time to allow a simple majority vote instead of the 60-vote threshold now required for legislation. When the American people demand change and elect a new Senate, a new majority leader must be able to respond to that call and pass legislation.

The list of issues stalled by the Senate filibuster is enormous — and still growing.

People ask how it is possible that America is failing to lead on climate change, even as we rapidly approach a catastrophic transformation of our planet that will wreak irreversible havoc on millions of Americans. The answer: the filibuster.

People ask how America — a country that used to set the example for the world on human rights — could tear families apart at the border and put children in cells so overcrowded they cannot lie down. They ask how our country can allow those children to be lost in a labyrinthine system, possibly never reunited with family again. The answer remains the same: the filibuster.

People ask why the federal government hasn’t lifted a finger to stop the growing epidemic of gun violence, despite Americans’ demands for action and overwhelming support for common-sense reforms like universal background checks and bans on high-capacity magazines. They ask how we can stand by as the country suffers tragedy after tragedy and averages more than one mass shooting every single day. The answer once again: the filibuster.

If not for abuse of the filibuster, we would have passed major legislation addressing some of our country’s most pressing issues under President Obama: Millions of undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children would have a pathway to citizenship through the Dream Act; millions of Americans would have a government-run public option as part of health care reform; and the American Jobs Act and the “Buffet Rule” requiring the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes would be law, further strengthening the economy and helping to address the issue of income inequality.

If the Senate cannot address the most important issues of our time, then it is time for the chamber itself to change, as it has done in the past.

Again, this is why I support Elizabeth Warren over Bernie Sanders in the primary. She has called for abolishing the filibuster because it is Moscow Mitch’s greatest weapon. Top Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer (D. NY) and Dick Durbin (D. IL) have been warming up to this idea. If you want to pass a bold, progressive agenda that helps the American people, it makes no sense to keep the 60 vote rule anymore. It also makes the case for why we have to win the U.S. Senate. Donate and get involved with these Democrats U.S. Senate campaigns:

Jaime Harrison (South Carolina)

Sara Gideon (Maine)


 

Mark Kelly (Arizona)

MJ Hegar (Texas)

Wilmot Collins (Montana)

Theresa Greenfield (Iowa)


 

Al Gross (Alaska)

James Mackler (Tennessee)

Georgia:

Teresa Tomlinson

Ted Terry

Colorado:

Dan Baer

Lorena Garcia

Mike Johnston

Alice Madden

Andrew Romanoff

John F. Walsh

North Carolina:

Cal Cunningham for U.S. Senate

Erica Smith for U.S. Senate

Kansas:

Barry Grissom

Nancy Boyda

Kentucky:

Amy McGrath

Michael Broihier

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