Right now we are facing one of the biggest threats to Senate progress, and, frankly, to democratic senate elections we've ever faced: Secrecy.
As early as next week, the McCaskill/Wyden/Grassley bill to stop secret holds is going to the floor for a vote. And, as you can imagine, there are many who want to see it fail -- especially all of those who have benefited from the clandestine sabotage we're trying to stop.
The use of "anonymous holds," the arcane procedure that allows a single senator to secretly torpedo any piece of legislation, has skyrocketed in the last few years. And with its rise, our ability to pass strong legislation -- and hold senators accountable for their actions -- has nosedived.
The bill would end this practice by taking the "secret" out of secret holds by requiring every senator who puts a hold on legislation to come out in the open and identify themselves.
Senators who want to hide something are using secret holds at an unprecedented rate. And it is costing us all in very concrete and specific ways.
Not only do these anonymous holds endanger our ability to get urgently needed legislation through the Senate, but, even more importantly, the practice endangers the very basis of our representative democracy.
In politics, your record is the report card voters use to choose their representatives. If senators are allowed to continue to avoid public scrutiny, we can't hold them accountable. And without accountability, democracy fails.
Sixty-nine senators have signed the McCaskill letter pledging not to use secret holds themselves and supporting the end of the practice. But pledges can be broken -- laws can't. We need this bill passed.
Our colleagues, Senators Wyden and Grassley, have been working to stop secret holds for almost a decade -- and next week is our best chance yet. It also might be our last chance for a long time. We need to make sure this vote goes through.
Thank you for your help. Together we can make our democracy stronger, break through the logjams blocking progress, and start insisting on accountability.
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