LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time for a change in Senate filibuster rules

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 | 4:16 p.m. CST

Mr. Smith vs. today's silent filibuster. I am referring to the filibuster in our Senate where one individual can deny a vote on an issue by all of our senators.

Infrequently used, a filibuster might have merit in extremely rare circumstances for the minority in our Senate, however this tool has become just about as common place as bathroom breaks.

The results of a vote in our Senate shows just where each senator stands on the issues, which helps to inform voters on how they are being represented at the national level. However, the rules this body has come up with provides a convenient streamlined process that provides cover and limited accountability to its members.

If a senator believes preventing a vote on an issue by the entire Senate would be in the best interest of our country, then she or he should be required to stand before their colleagues and the American public and make their case by talking about it.

The opportunity to change filibuster rules will be upon our Senate in January. If you believe that your Senators should be voting on issues instead of ducking them then I encourage you to let them know that you would like them to support Sen. Jeff Merkley’s “talking filibuster” proposal.

Kevin Allemann is a Harrisburg resident.

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