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Bill Moyers Essay: Take Action on Filibuster Reform

Bill Moyer
Bill Moyers / Video Report
Published: Friday 18 January 2013
Unless the Senate reforms the filibuster at the beginning of the new 113th Congress—that’s as soon as next Tuesday, January 22—the minority wrecking crew remains in charge for the next two years.

When a political party’s in the majority, it wants to change the filibuster… until it falls from power and winds up the minority. Then it suddenly becomes the filibuster’s biggest supporter. Bill says such hypocrisy “has cost the Congress its standing in public respect and cost our democracy the capacity to address the problems that threaten to overwhelm us.”

But hope of resurrecting the Senate’s noble purpose by reforming the filibuster is being championed by a diverse group of organizations and activists, including The Democratic Initiative and Fix the Senate Now. They want to take the filibuster, which can now be easily and quietly activated, and restore its original, public use (Think Mr. Smith or Mr. Sanders). Time is not on their side, however. Unless the Senate reforms the filibuster at the beginning of the new 113th Congress — that’s as soon as next Tuesday, January 22 — the minority wrecking crew remains in charge for the next two years.

See four suggestions below to make your opinion loud and clear. Learn even more by watching Bill’s conversation with union leader Larry Cohen this weekend.

As Bill says, “End the silence. Speak up now. But do it quickly — the clock’s ticking.”

A Filibuster Reform To-Do List:

1. Contact your senator to tell him or her that you support filibuster reform and the end of the silent filibuster. Calling 1-888-717-0911 will connect you automatically based on where you call from. You can also find Senate contact information here. Or call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (202-224-3542) or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ( 202-224-2541) directly, and tell them where you stand.

2. Share graphics on your Facebook timeline letting your friends know that you support filibuster reform. Download graphics made by Fix the Senate Now at their website.

3. Follow #FixtheSenate tweets and send your own tweet with your position on the issue. Also, tweet any interactions or contact efforts you had with senators.

4. Link to or embed Fix the Senate Now’s YouTube video.

ABOUT Bill Moyer


Bill Moyer is the executive director and co-founder of the Backbone Campaign, a movement building organization that provides strategic and creative tactical support and training to progressive activists, organizers, community based organizations around the country.  Its local laboratory projects provide replicable strategies for building community power, and its bold national initiatives help frame the on issues ranging from corporate personhood and Citizens United to student debt and eviction protection.

Save this editorial and you

Save this editorial and you can reprint it again, with its inaccruacies, in January 2015. The unconstitutional filibuster and holds can be attacked at any time, given the right parties, the States. See my work, Filibuster Solution available on Amazon in paperback and on Kendel. Common Cause started to do this, but I have lost touch with what happened as it did not include some necessary State Attorney Generals as parties representing their states as plaintiffs. But perhaps it is better to waist the public's attention with the biannual lament than do anything serious about the problem. Let the Media permit the Senate to amend the constitution by its rules (a process curiously omitted in the constitution). This saves writing new news and editorial articles. Good for lazy journalists. Just go back to the old files and update them every two years. Who can seriously believe the foxes will change the rules in the hen house that are worth so much to the individual foxes and their financial supporters?

It's pretty bad when Nation

It's pretty bad when Nation of Change can't spell Moyers' last name correctly. The problem is obviously that the majority party in the senate will at some point NOT be the majority party. Democrats are losing control of the states, where voting districts are determined, and those states are creating districts that have to be won by a Republican or a Neeorepublican - in the primary, not the final election. We may get transparency in terms of who in the senate is opposing a vote by a filibuster and maybe requiring some statement by that senator on the record giving his reason(s) for the filibuster. I doubt we will get much more than that.

what cost senate respect is

what cost senate respect is passing laws without reading them

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