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FTSN Memo: Senate Gridlock & Senate Reform

FTSN Memo: Senate Gridlock & Senate Reform

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Despite positive steps steering the Senate back in the direction of functional democracy, close observers of the chamber recognize that more work needs to be done.

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Harry Reid is Right: The U.S. Senate Should Adopt “Use it or Lose it” Reforms

Harry Reid is Right: The U.S. Senate Should Adopt “Use it or Lose it” Reforms

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blasted Senate Republicans’ continued “obstruction for obstruction’s sake,” noting that Senate Republicans "put up roadblock after roadblock" and seek to waste the maximum amount of Senate time in the confirmation of even non-controversial nominees.

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ICYMI: Top Energy & Environmental Nominees “Languish in Confirmation Limbo” Due to Senate Gridlock

ICYMI: Top Energy & Environmental Nominees “Languish in Confirmation Limbo” Due to Senate Gridlock

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

An important new read in the energy and environmental publication Greenwire, titled “Top jobs vacant as nominees languish in confirmation limbo,” highlights how Senate Republicans’ obstruction has blocked a series of key energy and environmental nominees from receiving a vote in the Senate, causing these important executive branch jobs to remain unfilled.

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New Reminders Why Senate Rules Reform Remains Essential

New Reminders Why Senate Rules Reform Remains Essential

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared this week that “the Senate has reached a new level of dysfunction.” As Steve Benen of MSNBC noted in response, “hearing Mitch McConnell complain about Capitol Hill dysfunction is a bit like hearing Uruguay’s Luis Suarez complaining about biting in soccer. It requires a failure of self-awareness that’s almost too staggering to contemplate.”

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Use it or Lose It: A Sensible Change for the U.S. Senate to Reduce Time Wasting on Nominees

Use it or Lose It: A Sensible Change for the U.S. Senate to Reduce Time Wasting on Nominees

Friday, May 30th, 2014

The U.S. Senate has made significant advances in recent weeks toward reducing the judicial backlog and confirming judges to fill key vacancies.

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Why President Obama Just Called for Additional Filibuster Reform

Why President Obama Just Called for Additional Filibuster Reform

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Senate filibuster abuse is back in the news this week, spurred by new comments from President Obama and several documentations of the record Senate gridlock he has faced during his administration.

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ICYMI: New Common Cause Report Documents Nominee Backlog in U.S. Senate

ICYMI: New Common Cause Report Documents Nominee Backlog in U.S. Senate

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

A major new report released today by Common Cause, “The ‘New Nullification’ At Work,” shows that despite important Senate reforms adopted last November and progress reducing the judicial backlog in recent weeks, the U.S. Senate remains mired in gridlock and faces a severe backlog of nominees.

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Two Reminders of Why U.S. Senate Obstruction Remains a Concern

Two Reminders of Why U.S. Senate Obstruction Remains a Concern

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Last week has delivered two reminders of why obstruction in the U.S. Senate remains a pressing concern:

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ICYMI: The Senate GOP’s Selective Memory on Senate Gridlock

ICYMI: The Senate GOP’s Selective Memory on Senate Gridlock

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Senate Republicans continue to show notable hypocrisy and selective memory regarding the Senate’s recent policies and procedures, as well as their own efforts to foster gridlock in the chamber.

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ICYMI: Common Cause Highlights “Two Shameful Milestones” in U.S. Senate

ICYMI: Common Cause Highlights “Two Shameful Milestones” in U.S. Senate

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

New analysis from Common Cause highlights two recent “shameful milestones” that the current U.S. Senate should not be celebrating.

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The Consequences of Senate Republicans’ “Obstruct ‘Em All” Approach to Nominations

The Consequences of Senate Republicans’ “Obstruct ‘Em All” Approach to Nominations

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Last November’s modest reforms in the U.S. Senate helped to nudge the upper chamber back toward its traditional norm of providing an up-or-down vote for every qualified nominee.

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Fix the Senate Now Coalition Outlines Reforms to Add Accountability & Transparency

Fix the Senate Now Coalition Outlines Reforms to Add Accountability & Transparency

Monday, March 24th, 2014

A new story today in Politico highlights growing support for reforming senators’ “blue slip” veto power over judicial nominees: “Republican senators, White House aides argue, have developed what amounts to a silent filibuster, using the ‘blue slip’ tradition that gives home state senators signoff power for in-state nominees.

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Why & How the U.S. Senate Should Reform Senators’ “Blue Slip” Veto Power over Judicial Nominees

Why & How the U.S. Senate Should Reform Senators’ “Blue Slip” Veto Power over Judicial Nominees

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

In order to fully realize the potential of last November’s changes to the nominations process, the Fix the Senate Now coalition has been calling for the U.S. Senate to explore additional reforms.

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ICYMI: New Study Documents Burden of Continued Judicial Vacancies; Makes Case for Further Reforms

ICYMI: New Study Documents Burden of Continued Judicial Vacancies; Makes Case for Further Reforms

Monday, February 24th, 2014

A new study from the Brennan Center for Justice makes clear that federal trial courts remain overburdened and understaffed. While abuse of Senate rules such as the filibuster played a major role in creating this judicial backlog, last November’s reforms to the filibuster for nominations have not fully alleviated the crisis.

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ICYMI: Support Building for Additional Senate Reforms

ICYMI: Support Building for Additional Senate Reforms

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

After several years of unprecedented gridlock and obstruction, the U.S. Senate adopted reforms last November to allow majority votes for most presidential nominees. This important step forward for the chamber permitted the confirmation of over a dozen qualified judicial and executive branch nominees.

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Lack of Senate Action on Judicial Vacancies Shows Need for Further Senate Reforms

Lack of Senate Action on Judicial Vacancies Shows Need for Further Senate Reforms

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Last November’s reforms to Senate rules were a step forward that led to an initial round of confirmations for qualified nominees. Unfortunately, 2014 has proven to be a year of inaction, with Senate Republicans successfully halting or delaying the confirmations of most of President Obama’s nominees.

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Minority of Senators Filibuster Unemployment Insurance for Millions

Minority of Senators Filibuster Unemployment Insurance for Millions

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Despite a strong majority supporting a three-month extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed, a minority of Senators succeeded in filibustering the legislation this afternoon, blocking the measure from clearing the needed 60-vote threshold.

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Senate Rules Reform – The State of Play

Senate Rules Reform – The State of Play

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Without Senate reform, we likely would still be waiting to confirm three judges to vacancies on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) would still be without a Director, and the confirmations of the Chair of the Federal Reserve and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would have been uncertain.

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Senate Rules Reform: A Notable 2013 Success, but More Work to Do in 2014

Senate Rules Reform: A Notable 2013 Success, but More Work to Do in 2014

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

After years of growing gridlock and an increasing inability to keep the Senate operating on even basic and bipartisan issues, the Senate reforms shepherded through by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November were a step back toward functional democracy.

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Despite Confirmations, Persistent Delay Tactics Show That Further Senate Reforms Needed

Despite Confirmations, Persistent Delay Tactics Show That Further Senate Reforms Needed

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Three weeks have passed since the U.S. Senate instituted sensible, democratic reforms intended to reduce gridlock and put the Senate on a path back to its traditional functionality.

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