Last week's filibuster reform deal fell far short of Sen. Jeff Merkley's expectations, but the Oregon Democrat's efforts to end the silent filibuster have not been left without reward.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) on Monday said it has raised over $30,000 for Merkley's 2014 reelection campaign. The fundraising was based on an email touting the senator's refusal to back down from demands for more far-reaching reforms to the Senate rules, even when faced with opposition within his own caucus.
Adam Green, a co-founder of the PCCC, told The Huffington Post that donations poured in from over 3,000 small-dollar donors over the weekend.
Merkley, one of the leading advocates of filibuster reform, was pushing a proposal with Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) that would include the talking filibuster. His proposal was even backed by a coalition of over 50 progressive and labor organizations called Fix the Senate Now. But the deal cut by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) more closely resembled a scaled-back, bipartisan proposal introduced by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), leaving in place the silent filibuster and making far more modest rules changes.
Shortly after the deal was reached, Merkley issued in a statement noting that the agreement missed the core problem of the silent filibuster, but he added that it included some important elements. He ultimately voted for the compromise package.
The PCCC's fundraising email calls out Reid for not going far enough, even though he claimed to have the 51 votes necessary to proceed with the constitutional option.
"Harry Reid had the power to pass bold new Senate rules, but he was afraid to use this power," the email says.
It also criticizes Reid for reportedly upbraiding Merkley in a closed-door caucus meeting for naming specific Democratic senators in conference calls with progressive donors and activists.
Read the full PCCC email below:
This week, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid cut a deal with Republicans that kept the Senate filibuster in place.
Republicans have used this outdated procedure (which requires a super-majority to pass anything) to prevent a public option, strong Wall Street reform, and climate legislation.
Making matters worse, Reid is trying to punish Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley for telling grassroots activists which Democratic senators needed to hear most from their constituents on this issue.
Can you chip in $3 to Jeff Merkley's 2014 re-election in Oregon -- to show him that he is not alone? And to reward his bold leadership? Click here.
Harry Reid had the power to pass bold new Senate rules, but he was afraid to use this power. And Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is now boasting to his supporters, "We beat the liberals."
Reid should be mad at himself. But the Huffington Post reports, "At Tuesday's closed-door caucus meeting, Merkley was upbraided by Reid for breaking unspoken Senate rules and naming specific senators in a conference call with Democratic activists last week."
We cannot let our friends be punished for helping grassroots organizations be effective in policy fights.
Please chip in $3 to Senator Merkley to say thanks for his leadership, boldness, and independence. Click here.
PCCC members were proud to make thousands of calls in support of Merkley's filibuster reform proposal. We'll continue working with him in the days ahead.
Thanks for being a bold progressive.