It is time to do away with Senate Rule 22. Nothing is getting passed because of this absurdity. I think this is the single biggest issue facing our federal government.
Sign the online petition here.
There is also a House Resolution 712: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Senate should immediately change its rules and end the modern filibuster. You can find your legislator here.
Among other things, Rule XXII describes the means that the Senate may invoke to bring debate to a close (“cloture“). Sixteen Senators may propose, and the President of the Senate shall offer, this motion: “Is it the sense of the Senate that the debate shall be brought to a close?”
A vote of three-fifths of the Senate will cause the debate to conclude after thirty hours with discussion only on the motion or bill, unless the Senate votes by a three-fifths majority to extend debate.
Debate may also be interrupted by a question of order (under Rule XX). When the Senate Majority Leader raises a question of order that only a simple majority is needed to close debate, this is the first step to instituting the constitutional option (the so-called “nuclear option“).
Senator Ted Cruz (one of my Senators) has said:
I think the Senate rules wisely protect the minority and they have served as the framers put it ‘to allow the Senate to be the — cooler — the saucer that cools the hot temperatures of the moment.
The answer, I believe, is not to change the Senate rules, the answer is for Senate Democrats not to be obstructionists.
With all due respect, Senator Cruz is wrong on this. Senate Democrats, and Republicans when they need to be, are going to be obstructionist. A rule change is important to allow for accountability for supporting or not legislation. Senators are currently hiding by not having to vote.