Sen. Paul makes the case against the filibuster
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul isn’t exactly a friend of Common Cause, but the Republican with a strong Libertarian streak is sure helping us out today.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nv., Paul has announced that he’ll filibuster — and thus block — every bill coming to the Senate floor until he gets a vote on his proposal to end American aid to Pakistan.
Think of that. The most venerated legislative body in the world’s most admired democracy can do nothing – nothing – because a single senator has raised his hand to object. And under the Senate’s filibuster rule, Paul needn’t speak a single word on the Senate floor to explain or justify his action.
Not so long ago, a senator wanting to conduct a filibuster would have to go to the floor and talk, without breaks or interruptions, until he won over a majority of his colleagues or exhausted himself. Now, with a simple two word notice – “I object” – Paul or any other senator is able to block any vote, or even debate, for as long as he desires.
As Common Cause President Bob Edgar observed, Paul’s move makes a powerful case on behalf of our effort to overturn the filibuster rule. We think the rule is unconstitutional and we’ve filed suit against the Senate in federal court to challenge it.