by Deborah Nelson/Policy Director/Citizens for a Just Government
In response to systemic gridlock, Citizens for a Just Government is calling on U.S. Senators to replace the 60 vote filibuster cloture threshold with a simple majority vote.
By allowing politics to block legislative due process, obstructive filibustering fosters dysfunction at the highest levels of American governance.
The Senate’s self-imposed cloture supermajority rule lets members claim hollow support for measures they know won’t ever be passed.
Instead, Senators sidestep responsibility for failing to carry out the public will, or even bring the subject to debate, by pointing fingers at faceless partisan forces we’re told insist on filibustering.
Ultimately, representatives who are supposed to be working for We the People get a free pass to subvert citizen-ordained policy to special interest machinations…and paint themselves as the victims.
The resulting standstill benefits an influential few at the expense of the majority of Americans.
Supermajority defenders say the rule ensures bipartisan participation. That outlook underscores the very root of America’s current government dysfunction: a bipolar, two-party system that empowers political machinations over individual lawmaker responsibility.
In fact, democratic Constitutional authority to choose legislators, and by extension, their positions and relative vote margins, is supposed to be decided before Congress convenes: at the ballot box, by We the People.
Killing filibusters won’t prevent Senators from offering important input on proposed laws.
It will simply prevent them from using the right to speak as a weapon to destroy democratic process itself.
That’s what’s happening now. And the winners are the corrupt political bosses and rich donors who run our perpetual tug-of-war, two-party system.
Two-party governance has evolved into a mechanism for legislators to quash important issues by turning them into fringe political theater. A cloture supermajority ensures there’s always somebody else to blame.
Simple majority legislative approval will return policymaking responsibility to the individual Senators we ostensibly elect to shoulder it.
Through Rule 22, Senators misuse a technicality; their Constitutional authority over Senate administrative etiquette; to interfere with the legislative process itself.
Senators have already abolished supermajority cloture for Federal judicial nominees, executive office appointments and Supreme Court nominees.
CFJG urges Senators to finish the job by abolishing the legislation cloture supermajority. It’s time they assumed the same job accountability as the millions of Americans who pay their salaries.
We’re calling on sitting Senators and Senate candidates to sign our pledge to end the cloture supermajority rule. We’ll post a running tally of signatures as they come in, and invite citizens and lawmakers to get on board this pivotal national issue.
Citizens for a Just Government is a grassroots advocacy organization, formed in response to increasingly evident institutional corruption in local, state and national government. Their mission is to investigate, challenge and present solutions to public ethics problems that, if left unchecked, threaten to compromise a just democracy that serves all citizens equitably. As part of their overall advocacy commitment, CFJG promotes selected public and private initiatives designed to target a range of critical community needs.