Bud's Beat

By: Bud Pisarek, Loomis News Correspondent
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The first time I became aware of the filibuster was in the late 1950’s when I published a weekly newspaper in Oregon. Wayne Morse was our Senator and you might say he was the “King of the filibuster.” When Morse, a real maverick, wore a red carnation in his lapel, the Senate knew they were in for a long session. Today, the filibuster has surfaced big time and is seen as a detriment to our legislative process. Webster defines filibuster as “the use of obstructionist tactics such as the making of prolonged speeches or the introduction of irrelevant material, for the purpose of delaying legislative action.” Today, both laymen and politicos are concerned that the business of the people is not getting done, mainly necause of the filibister’s delay tactics. Aside from Sen. Morse using the filibuster, it lay dormant as a legislative tool. In the past, filibusters were mainly the weapon of last resort. Not so today. In 2009, Republicans used the tactic to delay 80 percent of major legislation. Some of the problem stems from Senate Rule 22. Prior to the adoption of “22” ( the cloture rule), the vote to end the filibuster, required a two-thirds vote, or 66. Rule “22” reduced that number to three-fifths, or 60. There have been attempts to change the rules back, but that hasn’t happened as yet. The minority leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has stated that there will be no legislation entertained by the senate until that body passes the tax cuts for the nation’s millionaires. He has rule “22” in his corner. Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin has proposed reforming Rule “22,” but there has been little support in that direction.