A few months ago, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and I wrote a post about what we saw as one of the biggest threats to Senate progress: Secret holds that allow a single senator to torpedo any piece of legislation, without giving a reason or even identifying him or herself. At the time, a few holdouts kept us from getting the bill to stop secret holds passed. But now, the Senate is about to finalize our rules for doing business for the coming year.
And if we really want to break up the logjams keeping us from getting things done, we need to make sure stopping secret holds is one of the rules passed.
Secret holds block progress and hinder accountability -- it is time for them go.
Not only have we seen hundreds of nominations undermined, and bill after bill sidetracked, but just last month, a secret hold was used to block a bill that would have helped us reduce fraud and waste in the federal government.
The U.S. Senate's governing rules will set the stage for how every piece of legislation we consider is handled. If we really want new Senate rules that will help us improve accountability and improve efficiency, we can't let secret holds continue to hold the process hostage.
In this time of too much politics and too little progress, do we really want to let senators with an axe-to-grind unilaterally stop anything they disagree with, in secret, and with no accountability?
We simply can't allow these political games to stop us from getting our work done.
The vote could be in less than a week -- we simply can't afford to wait, because this may be our last chance in a long time. It's a new year, and a new Senate, with a new opportunity to work together.
Those who want to stay in the shadows and avoid accountability have managed to derail our efforts to stop secret holds many times before -- but this time, thanks to your support, I think we can finally get this important change passed.
Thank you for your attention on this crucial issue.
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