I’m very heartened to see a coalition of progressive groups send a letter (PDF) outlining some Merkley/Udallish ideas about Senate procedure:
We ask Senators to move forward with reforms consistent with these eight principles:
1. On the first legislative day of a new Congress, the Senate may, by majority vote, end a filibuster on a rules change and adopt new rules.
2. There should only be one opportunity to filibuster any given measure or nomination, so
motions to proceed and motions to refer to conference should not be subject to filibuster.
3. Secret “holds” should be eliminated.
4. The amount of delay time after cloture is invoked on a bill should be reduced.
5. There should be no post-cloture debate on nominations.
6. Instead of requiring that those seeking to break a filibuster muster a specified number of
votes, the burden should be shifted to require those filibustering to produce a specified number of votes to continue the filibuster.
7. Those waging a filibuster should be required to continuously hold the floor and debate.
8. Once all Senators have had a reasonable opportunity to express their views, every measure or nomination should be brought to a yes or no vote in a timely manner.
All good points. I think it’s a little bit silly that we live in a country where simply stating that the United States Senate should vote by the same majority rules process as is used by the House, the Maine State Senate, the German Bundesrat, the House of Lords, the Top Chef judges, the Electoral College, the Supreme Court, and just about every other institution is considered too radical. Still, these would be important steps in the right direction.