|Sen. Amy Klobuchar (press kit photo).|
We Minnesotans value civility and as a result, we’ve produced a few remarkable politicians. Listening first to Sen. Amy Klobuchar this morning on WCCO speak out against the misuse of the filibuster in the US Senate and then reading former Vice President Walter Mondale’s op-ed in today’s NY Times on the same topic would hearten anyone who prefers problem solving to obstruction in our government.
WE all have hopes for the New Year. Here’s one of mine: filibuster reform. It was around this time 36 years ago — during a different recession — that I was part of a bipartisan effort to reform Senate Rule 22, the cloture rule. At the time, 67 votes were needed to cut off debate and thus end a filibuster, and nothing was getting done. After long negotiations, a compromise lowered to 60 the cloture vote requirement on legislation and nominations. We hoped this moderate change would preserve debate and deliberation while avoiding paralysis, and for a while it did.
Mondale at United Theological Seminary in the Twin Cities in '06.
But it’s now clear that our reform was insufficient for today’s more partisan, increasingly gridlocked Senate. In 2011, senators should pull back the curtain on Senate obstruction and once again amend the filibuster rules.