May 11, 2012
Washington, DC – Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) spoke out in favor of U.S. Senate rules reform, in light of unceasing politically-motivated obstruction and continued Republican abuse of the filibuster.
As POLITICO recaps, Senator Reid “demanded changes to the Senate’s hallowed filibuster rules, siding with junior Democrats who have sought to substantially weaken the powerful delaying tactic.” Said Senator Reid after obstructionism threatened the reauthorization of the Export-Import bank, “If there were ever a time when Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley were prophetic, it’s tonight. These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate, and we didn’t. They were right. The rest of us were wrong — or most of us, anyway. What a shame...If there were anything that ever needed changing in this body, it’s the filibuster rules, because it’s been abused, abused, abused.”
The following is a statement from Shane Larson, Legislative Director of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), on Senator Reid’s remarks and the larger issue of Senate rules reform:
Abuse and manipulation of the Senate rules in the 111th Congress reached an unprecedented level, moving CWA to take action and support the efforts of reform minded Senators such as Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Udall (D-NM), Tom Harkin (D-IA) and others concerned with the unyielding obstruction on display. While the entire package of meaningful reforms failed to achieve a majority, with one falling just two votes short of passage, we hoped that the modest steps away from obstruction outlined in the so-called “ gentleman’s agreement” would be honored.
Unfortunately, it is evident that the Republicans have failed to honor the agreement and that gridlock in the U.S. Senate remains at historic levels. It is impossible for legislation that will help working families to get an open and honest debate if Republicans are taking their cues from corporate America – and relying on unaccountable Senate rules to do so.
This latest example of Republican obstructionism at the behest of extreme ideological special interests is particularly egregious because it will hit working men and women in the manufacturing sector hard. Without action by Congress, the Export-Import Bank will reach its $100 billion lending cap by month’s end. The House of Representatives took action to raise the lending cap to $140 billion by 2014-- H.R. 2072, passed the House by 330-93 vote. Yet corporations like Delta Airlines, in conjunction with extreme ideological groups outside of the political mainstream, are seeking to delay the reauthorization on behalf of their narrow interests and through their Senate Republican allies’ use of obstructionist tactics.
This is just the latest example of why we will continue to fight for real Senate rules reform. We commend Senate Majority Leader Reid for his remarks and for recognizing that the reform minded Senators were right, after all – that rules reforms are needed to ensure that the U.S. Senate lives up to its great traditions and is capable of meeting the challenges of our time.
Contact: Michael Earls, 202-261-2388