Thursday, January 13, 2011

A pipe dream

It probably is a pipe dream of the highest order to even hope that current talk of greater inter-party cooperation in Congress might lead to reform of that body's most noxious cancer - filibusters.

Before the new Congress convened this year, all of the returning Democratic senators urged Majority Leader Harry Reid to do something about filibusters (and about "holds," by which an anonymous legislator can block a nomination without giving a reason). Few paid any attention. But now ... after Tucson?

Let's dream on for a moment. After all, it was filibusters and holds that kept the healthcare law from including a public alternative to private insurance, kept financial reform from being able to prevent another meltdown, and kept nearly 200 executive and judicial nominees in limbo. While totally abolishing filibusters is beyond even dreams, what if there were new rules that required filibusters to actually be conducted, not just threatened? What if a rule would limit them to final passage of a bill, not every little stage a bill goes through? Such things would go a long way toward meaningful reform ... and cooperation.

Hey, I can dream. Would you pass the opium?

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