Ben Nelson Opposes Filibuster Reform

Despite the fact that most reasonable minds agree the Senate, under the current tyranny of the filibuster, is a broken body, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) has said that he will not support filibuster rule changes.  Under the current filibuster rule the Senate needs 60 votes to end debate on most items, but only a simple majority to actually pass those items once debate has closed.  As a result Republicans effectively killed or substantially delayed most legislation last session, including bills that had majority, but not supermajority support.

The proposed reforms to the filibuster are not that outrageous.  Current proposed changes include narrowing the opportunities to wage a filibuster or forcing senators to actually speak during their filibuster attempts.

Nelson’s statements clash with reports that Democrats were united in support of the change.  Though given Nelson’s voting record the change of heart (and de facto support for Republican tactics) should come as little surprise.  And they may be simply self-serving as Nelson faces re-election and is seen by many as a vulnerable seat, even in conservative Nebraska.

That the Democrats are serious about filibuster reform has at least some Republicans worried.  In fact the conservative Heritage Foundation will host an event in defense of the filibuster.  Invited to the event are lobbyists who have built an entire career on manipulating the filibuster rules to hold up legislation, going so far as advertising their ability to “delay or obstruct” legislation.

For Nelson and the corporatist intent on keeping the current filibuster rules, a change would mean instilling transparency into efforts to kill bills unpopular with corporate interests.  And that alone is reason to support reform.

photo courtesy of Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff via Flickr

74 comments

Michael Cunningham

donald left a comment

"They'll do what they want to do, in the name of "the people", reguardless of what the people want. {I.E, John Boehner, Speaker of the house, " the people want" this or that, when polls say something different."

Why were you not saying this when Reid, Pelosi, & Obama were doing precisely this?

OFFLINE NoML Thompson
Ramona Thompson5 years ago

No "call in" or "drive through" filibusters. They need to be all done "in person", or upgrade the filibuster.

Doug D.
Doug D.5 years ago

Another Bluedog to be removed???

Eden Kennan

Ben Nelson is an idiot. Too bad his constitutents are too dumb to notice!

Helen Douglas
Helen D.5 years ago

I'd love for filibuster reform to become a reality! What good does it do anyone in this country if our Congress is devolved into total bipartisan gridlock?

Jheezus C.
Jheezus C.5 years ago

Ben Nelson. The reason progressives need to go to local Democratic meetings. To take the party back from the corporate lapdog losers like Ben "Backstabber" Nelson. Don't let your local Democratic Party become as useless and stupid as Ben Nelson.

michael c.
corbin m.5 years ago

Filibuster is the DUMBEST idea in politics. It's dumb now, and it was dumb when the freakin' Romans used it.

Dolores C.
Dolores Campbell5 years ago

The filibuster has lost its luster, like the Supreme Court ruling that corps. are people. What a joke that is!

Steve P.
Steve P.5 years ago

Another " Democrat" in an overpriced Republican suit.

Terry Mckinney
Terry Mckinney5 years ago

The Democrats are lost in a sea of Obama compromise at any cost(thus the Bush tax cuts).He has just brought two more wall street wizards to show him how to fuck up the economy as long as you're making money.This Lincoln worship has changed him from a man of the people to one bought and paid for President.The only recovery has been in the Banks.They took all that money,no strings and are now laughing and shouting from the rooftops:"we won,we won boys we won."Multi million dollar bonuses.If that doesn't tell you who the loser were,just take a look into the mirror.That fool looking back at you is you.