Trivium Pursuit

Protect the Filibuster — Important Message from Ron Paul and Campaign for Liberty

January 25, 2011

Dear Patriot,

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a vote for today to rip apart Senate rules so they can ram through more Big Government power grabs.

And, most worrisome, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans may be negotiating to give Reid some or all of what he wants.

This is an emergency, and I am asking for your help.

Click here to get your senators’ contact information. Contact them immediately and demand they oppose any underhanded attempts to change the filibuster.

It’s true that Senate rules are complicated and seem sometimes silly.

But behind them is a critical intention straight from the Founding Fathers – to make the Senate a bulwark against tyranny by a narrow majority and a defense against a rush of “popular” opinion generated by some sudden event.

With pressure from C4L and other groups having thwarted many of their plans last Congress, Harry Reid and his cohorts are working behind closed doors to weaken the filibuster significantly, in addition to making other rule changes.

If a majority can’t cut a deal, they will try to shove their ideas down our throats.

Urge your senators to oppose the leadership’s rule changes.

Without getting “lost in the weeds” detailing each proposal, allow me to explain why I need you to take action.

What the Democrats are considering a “filibuster” is the initial “motion to proceed” cloture vote. This requires 60 votes for a bill to make it to the floor. Depending on the makeup of the Senate, this generally ensures there is at least some degree of support from the minority party.

Despite the statists’ best efforts, cloture was where we held the line against several of their plans in the last Congress.

Let me be clear.

Without the protection offered by cloture, DISCLOSE, Police/Firefighter Forced Unionism, Cap and Tax, an even worse national health care bill, and many, many more schemes would now be the law of the land.

Even though the American people have made it clear they’re tired of out of control government, Senator Tom Udall’s proposed filibuster changes will allow more of the establishment’s rejected agenda to slip through the Senate.

Under current Senate rules adopted in 1959, the Senate is a “continuing body,” meaning the rules stay the same from one Congress to the next unless two thirds of the senators vote to change them.

Getting 13 Republicans to cross party lines and vote for these rule changes is highly unlikely.

So, Reid may try to dodge the two-thirds majority rule by appealing to the Vice President to authorize a rule change with a simple 51 vote majority.

Since every returning member of the Democrat caucus signed a letter in support of modifying the rules (which puts them at 53 votes), the “nuclear option” mentioned above represents a serious threat, not just for the current Republican minority, but for all future minorities under the proposed rules.

This is a direct attack on our country’s long tradition of defending the minority against the tyranny of majority “factions,” as Madison would have called them.

Guaranteeing the minority an opportunity to delay, modify, or completely reject the majority’s legislative agenda is a cherished part of our Republic that we must defend.

Please, contact your senators right away and tell them to take a stand against allowing any majority party to ram its ideas through the Senate.

Also, please contact Mitch McConnell by phone at (202) 224-2541 and by email here. Urge him to reject making any deals with Harry Reid when the Senate returns.

In Liberty,
John Tate
President, Campaign for Liberty

One Response to “Protect the Filibuster — Important Message from Ron Paul and Campaign for Liberty”

  1. Kelly Davis Says:

    This article sheds a lot of much needed light on the filibuster vs cloture debate: http://my.firedoglake.com/powwow/2011/01/25/debating-filibuster-vs-optional-cloture-the-self-inflicted-catch-22-in-senate-rule-xxii/

    The problem with having a procedural filibuster instead of a real filibuster is that it obscures from the public the debate of issues. If a senator is forced to actually filibuster, they and the bill that they are opposing will be more visible to the public. In my opinion, this is clearly more democratic. There is nothing particularly “constitutional” about the current rule which was only changed in the 70s. It’s just a procedural rule.

    The other problem with the current state of affairs is that senators from states with small populations wield relatively greater power than those from more populous states like California and New York (and It also makes them bigger targets for lobbyists and special interests). This is particularly undemocratic, and helps demonstrate the un-democratic character of the senate as compared to the house of representatives.

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