Letter: Change filibuster rules to ease gridlock

From: Greg Harter


Abuse of the current filibuster rule is a big reason why nothing much is getting through the U.S. Congress. This rule is public knowledge (but obviously not well-known), which denies the majority in the Senate the capability to debate and vote on any important legislation.

Currently the Senate is Republican, 54 to 46; even if all 54 Republicans want to introduce a bill, at least six Democrats must also vote to bring the bill up for consideration. Democrats, all 46, would need 14 Republicans to do the same thing. Without this action, only budget reconciliation bills can reach the floor of the Senate.

This stalemate only contributes to gridlock and polarization. Both parties in the past have abused (or temporarily changed) the current rules. Currently the Democrats are holding up almost all legislation in the Senate.

The current Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has the power to force a change in the Senate rules to permit a simple majority of senators to introduce any legislation for discussion, debate and vote. When Harry Reid was in this position, he used his authority to change the filibuster rules for judicial confirmations to a simple majority.

Unless the filibuster is changed, the American people will understandably lose faith in Congress, and the future of America becomes more in doubt as a nation where every country and every person sees us as a beacon of hope and promise. The filibuster must be permanently changed to a simple majority rule so that Americans will be able to hold their congresspeople accountable for their actions. Speak up to your senators and representatives.