Today, U.S. Senator Angus S. King, Jr. (I-Maine) joined Senators Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) in supporting a proposal to reform the Senate's filibuster rule. The measure, Senate Resolution 4 (S. Res 4), is comprised of the following four components:
1. Eliminating the Filibuster on Motions to Proceed
2. Instituting a "Talking Filibuster"
3. Reducing Post-Cloture Time to Expedite Nominations
4. Eliminating the Filibuster on Motions to Establish a Conference Committee
"There is little doubt that the Senate of today is broken and dysfunctional in substantial part because of the misuse of the filibuster rule," said Senator King. "In fact, its recent overuse has stalled progress on virtually every important issue confronting our nation. The people of Maine elected me to the Senate in part to try to break through the gridlock that paralyzes our political process. I believe S. Res 4 represents a meaningful, common-sense step in that direction.
"Each tenet of the measure -- from eliminating filibusters on simply getting a bill to the floor for consideration ("motions to proceed") to instituting a rule that those who choose to use the filibuster will actually have to speak on the floor rather than simply call in a filibuster threat ("talking filibuster") -- represents a reasonable and prudent step forward that not only accelerates the consideration of legislation and nominations, but that also protects the vitally important voice and rights of the minority. In this latter regard, I would also support expanded protections for the minority's right to offer a reasonable number of relevant amendments as part of a balanced reform package.
"I urge my colleagues to support and immediately consider this proposal so that we may get on with doing the work the American people sent us here to do."