How to Force Senate Rules Reform

This whole kerfuffle over Shelby’s blanket ban on Obama’s nominees has got me thinking: What would happen if some reform-minded, suicidally courageous (or at least not running for reelection) Senator vowed to block and filibuster every single piece of legislation and nominee* passing through the Senate until the chamber finally seriously addressed reforming the rules that would allow him to do that?

Now, that could be seen as playing games with the agenda, but the situation in the Senate is so dire I think it could warrant this kind of drastic action. And not only could it force reform, but it would also perfectly demonstrate why it’s so desperately needed; because one lone Senator could potentially kneecap the federal government’s ability to pass any legislation at all.

As for what those reforms would look like: I don’t know enough about holds to say definitively whether or not there’s any reason to keep them around. But I do have a thought on a compromise measure for the filibuster: We’re all familiar with the common misconception over how a filibuster works. Why don’t we just change the rules to reflect what everyone already thinks the rules are? Get a little preference intensity in there.

*Exempting, say, whatever HCR deal gets hammered out, and maybe the next jobs bill.

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One Response

  1. It could happen but I’m doubtful since most senators, even when things look bleak, think they can be reelected.

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