For Immediate Release
Mary Boyle, (202) 736-5770
Day 4: Another DREAM Shattered by Filibuster Abuse
WASHINGTON - Today's Senate inaction on the DREAM Act is another
death-by-filibuster, permitting senators to keep their heads in the sand
on one of our thorniest national challenges: what to do about millions
of young men and women, foreign-born but living in the U.S. without
Fifty-nine Senators obviously favor a full floor debate, where the
bill's perceived merits and flaws could be fully discussed and senators
could make the tough decisions Americans on all sides of the immigration
But because 60 votes - 10 more than a majority -- are needed to force
action and DREAM's opponents have promised to talk endlessly rather than
let it come to a final vote, the bill's supporters had little choice
but to move to other issues.
More than 125 bills, on subjects ranging from arms control to
unemployment benefits, have been stifled or needlessly delayed by
similar minority tactics in the Senate during this Congress. Intended as
a tool to protect the minority's right to fully air its views, the
filibuster rule has become a bludgeon that today's Senate minority uses
to thwart majority rule.
"The DREAM Act offers a path to citizenship for young immigrants, living
here not because they broke laws to sneak across our borders but
because they were brought in by parents or relatives," said Bob Edgar,
Common Cause's president. "It would give them permanent legal status in
exchange for their successful completion of two years in college or the
armed services. It is a constructive answer to part of the challenge
posed by undocumented immigration.
"Senate opponents of the bill ought to be willing to air their arguments
in the open," Edgar said. "Perhaps they can persuade a majority of
their colleagues to make changes that will improve the legislation or to
vote it down entirely. But the filibuster sustained by today's vote
keeps the bill off the Senate floor, stifling rather than promoting
This month, Common Cause is spotlighting how filibuster abuse is
hijacking the Congress and blocking action on vital national problems.
Common Cause is hosting a forum on filibuster reform on Wednesday, Dec. 15 at the National Press Club.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.