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October 25, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Compromise has been compromised

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Both parties talk about the need to work across the aisle in the interests of the American people and not for special interests. This bipartisan rhetoric expresses the belief that our representatives in Washington need to compromise in order to govern effectively.

If this is a serious goal, then both Nevada senators need to start the ball rolling by ending the 60-vote rule to get just about anything passed by the Senate.

Why would a politician compromise with the opposition if the legislative agenda can be controlled through his/her mere verbal threat to filibuster? The answer is that no politician would. Not long ago, 60 votes were required to end only real filibusters, when senators actually spoke for long hours on the merits of their views from the Senate floor and sometimes won partial or complete victories because their arguments were persuasive. That was called compromise.

So to those Democrats and Independents who oppose fixing the Senate rules because they’re afraid that someday they might be in the minority and wouldn’t have any influence in the Senate, I say if you believe in reasonable compromise, and more fundamentally in democracy itself, you must vote to fix the 60-vote rule.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid needs to get his troops in line and correct this situation now, the time when Senate rules allow such a change. If he doesn’t, we need to ask why.

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  1. The super mmajority rule [60] is as old as the Senate and exists for a good cause. It protects the minority party from the tyranny of the simple majority [51]. It's bad enough that the Senate under Reid's tutelage has used Senate Rules and procedures to lock out all and any Republican input on bills, but changing the super majority rule would put all control in the Senate in the hands of the democrats. That's a threat to the Republic and the founding principles of the nation.

    CarmineD

  2. Elections have consequences. Democrats won the Presidency twice, won control of the Senate and Republicans won control of the House. If the Republicans in the Senate want to use the filibuster, they should have to stay on the floor speaking for as long as they are willing to do so to block legislation.

    Rules should also be changed to prevent the majority leader in the Senate from using rules and procedures to block minority input on legislation.

    For the zillionth time, we just have a bunch of partisan jockeying for advantage. Let's make elections REALLY count! Give the victorious the advantage they 'earned' in the election while not totally allowing the majority to ride roughshod over any input by the minority.

    Perhaps then Americans would pay more attention to how they vote because the consequences would be as they should be... not diluted by stupid rules and procedures.

    Michael

  3. Jeff:

    Protection of the minority rights and freedoms is a well grounded tenet of the Founding Fathers in the governance of the nation. In fact it is the reason they came here in the first place and revolted against the tyranny of the King.

    If Archie Bunker, as much as you like him, is the best defense you can muster against the Founders, I suggest you broaden your TV viewing.

    CarmineD

  4. @ Carmine "Protection of minority rights and freedoms..." You might want to buddy-up with your Black, Hispanic, Native American, GLBT and female neighbors, have a beer, and discuss that particular notion.

  5. It wasn't that long ago that Reid the Red was whining and wailing about a Republicrat threat to use the "nuclear option." He was dead set against it and with reason. Now, the shoe is on a different foot and as the schmuck can't get his Commie-lite program through, he's changed his pitiful little mind. He's dumber than dirt and simply can't help repeating the stupid moves Dumbocrats are so apt to make when in the majority. That he's from Searchlight is telling. He couldn't find his way around a lit room even with a Searchlight!

  6. On January 20 of 2009 during President Obama's inauguration, Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.), Newt Gingrich and Frank Luntz held a dinner meeting to obstruct and stop the newly elected president from implementing policy. "I hope he fails" and "we want him to be a one term president" was heard almost everyday. Fours years later and over 300 filibusters later Republicans continue to claim President Obama won't reach out to them.

    Fox News and right wing radio pundits were still harping the same old crap on Monday with the second inauguration of President Obama. How much more BS can one shovel or throw into the fan? I often feel you on the fringe right are truly delusional and live in a some sort of surreal Bizarro world.

  7. It was noted, even by some on the left that President Obama's speech did not mention much about unemployment, the deficits, the debt or the economy.

    The Republicans were stupid to publicly make the comments they made about President Obama in 2009, but the fact remain that the aim of the opposition party is always to see that the President only serves one term. The key is to keep that desire private. Anyone who believes otherwise needs to take another look.

    Bottom line is that unless our leaders and representatives are willing to make changes in Medicare, they need to start looking at other places to reduce spending or much higher taxes.

    I read that the Democrats and the President are starting to mention more tax increases. If they are brave enough to follow through with tax increases in a large enough increase and involve raising taxes on enough people to make a difference, I will give them credit.

    I suspect however, that in the end, they will find doing do to be just too unpopular to actually do, just like the Republicans did.

    And that is the real problem, isn't it? Our representatives talk the talk, but don't walk the walk.

    Michael

  8. "You might want to buddy-up with your Black, Hispanic, Native American, GLBT and female neighbors, have a beer, and discuss that particular notion." @ Pat Hayes

    Ironic you should say. I did yesterday, minus the beer. Wonderful discussions. Diversity is the key to our nation's greatness and depth.

    CarmineD

  9. Hello, Jamie. What two parties? There are 3 or 4 parties that must be considered. And there are those of us who are NOT affiliated with any party. Let's talk issues and solutions without pretending things are so complex that nothing can be done.

  10. Hooray Sparks and Democracy ! Don't dirty deal us Harry- like you and Baucus did to us with that dead cat ACA bill !!!!!!!

  11. I'd go with Tom Harkin's plan. He voted against the rich snob tax cut.

  12. I have some personal wishes for reforms. They will probably remain a wish list, rather than reality. Nevertheless, I voice a few of my wishes.

    Filibuster reform:

    All Senators need to be present for the filibuster, with bottoms in their chairs so they are all required to listen to the filibuster.

    Filibuster must be a continual presentation by the Senator that initiates the filibuster, not a team effort.

    Bill Amendments reform:

    Any amendment offered for consideration must directly pertain to the legislation proposed.

    The bills must be about one area of need, with no unrelated items tacked on.

    Voting on bills and amendments reform:

    All members must be in their seats for votes.

    No Yeas or Nays with the winner declared by the Chair. This has clearly been abused. All votes must be recorded and published.

    The presiding "Leader" must be present for all votes. No stand in, except in cases of illness or injury. If illness leave is excessive, a new leader must be selected.

    Senate and House reform:

    Require all members to be physically present in their chairs for 8 hours, with a 30/60 minute meal break, and accounted for restroom breaks. Extended restroom breaks will require justification.

    They are salaried and thus expected to work longer than an 8 hour, 5 day a week job. Therefore, their state, lobbying or partisan meetings are additional time, not to be taken from the required floor time.

    Presence doesn't mean doing deals in the cloakroom or the floor.

    Lobbying reform:

    Legally require a disclosure statement of the sources of all participants influencing or formulating the legislation, whether they wrote any sections or all of the legislation, and that the disclosure must be attached to the legislation so the public can see what special interests are involved and to what degree.

    We also need some junket reforms.
    ~~~~~~~~

    Why shouldn't our elected representatives be expected to work by the standards that most citizens are?

    Time for a reality check for Congress as a whole, regardless of party.

  13. RefNV,

    Thanks for that link to Daily Kos. Lots of interesting information there on many topics.

  14. anything short of an eventual simple majority is not really democracy. It really perverts the consent of the governed.

  15. "54,720 as of the time of this post have signed this petition." @ Jeff

    Save your time and energy. It will never pass. Not under Reid and not under any other Dem or Rep Senate Leader. Not in my lifetime and/or yours.

    CarmineD

  16. "YES, we need filibuster reform.

    Our great HARRY REID will get the job done." @ Teamster

    And steal Obama's pen to do it. When are you going to get it in your head that Reid is through. He's out. Gone. Schumer is the heir apparent.

    CarmineD

  17. Carmine was right!

  18. Both parties are guilty of changing rules when they are in the majority, and those effect the minority. This is nothing new.

    Political advantageous strategies reign! The interest in working for the people is on hold.

    We need at least 2 or 3 more political parties, with divergent views, to force compromise, and we need significant numbers of people who will support those parties.