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CONTACT: Common Cause
Senate Vampires Working Overtime This Halloween
WASHINGTON - October 31 - The legislative vampires who’ve turned the U.S. Senate into a chamber of horrors in recent years were up to their old tricks this Halloween, using the filibuster rule to drain a bit more of the lifeblood from constitutional government, Common Cause said today.
"Two weeks after the government shutdown and a trip to the brink of financial disaster, the Senate has reverted to form," said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause’s senior vice president for policy and programs. "Today’s votes stifling debate and blocking action on the confirmations of Rep. Mel Watt and Judge Patricia Millett illustrate again how a relative handful of obstructionists can use the filibuster to achieve a shutdown by other means.
"By now, we should be long past the 'gentlemen’s agreements' that treat the symptoms of the Senate’s dysfunction but ignore the disease. These nominees, both found qualified in committee, are at least entitled to a full and fair debate and an up-or-down vote; the Constitution, and the principle of majority rule that underlies it, demand no less."
A Common Cause lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the filibuster rule and the 60-vote supermajority requirement it imposes for Senate action is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.