Let me begin by stating how delightful it is to address you as “Senator.” I was too shy to knock on doors, but I did donate money to your campaign regularly, and I’m glad to see that campaign come to fruition. [A couple of lines directed to each Senator individually went here.]
I am writing to express my concern about something that may block all the potential progress that we hope to make—the filibuster. The filibuster has evolved over time but the purpose is still the same—allowing the minority party to stop a bill or nomination from progressing to a vote. Its best known use is perhaps its most shameful—an attempt to stop the Civil Rights Act of 1957 from passing. (Republicans will squawk that it was a Democrat—Strom Thurmond—who did this, and I will squawk back that Senator Thurmond was part of the subset of the Democratic Party that was later absorbed into the Republican Party under the infamous Southern Strategy.)
Now that the Democrats have a very narrow majority in the Senate, the possibility of the Republicans wielding the filibuster to stop any bill that they believe threatens their interests—the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act, for example—looms large. The rule that establishes the filibuster in Senate procedure can be eliminated with a simple majority vote. It must be eliminated if we hope to get anything done in this administration. At the absolute least, the requirement that the Senator who invokes the filibuster must be present on the floor for the length of that filibuster should be restored. Someone who drags debate to a halt should not be able to do so without some kind of consequence.
It is my understanding that there are a few Democratic Senators who wish to retain the filibuster. I beg you to speak with those colleagues of yours and try to convince them of the imperativeness of eliminating it, or at least modifying it so it is used as a last resort and not a first one.
I thank you for your time, and wish you all the best as you strive to make the United States government one that serves all people.
Sheila S. O’Shea This entry was originally posted at https://wonderbink.dreamwidth.org/235885.html. Please comment there using OpenID.