Rachel Maddow reported last night Democrats in the Senate are considering holding colleagues accountable for halting Republican filibusters by stripping seniority and chairmanships from those who do not vote for cloture.
Let us demand it.
The Democratic Senate Campaign in 2008 was largely focused on getting enough Senators to bring legislation to a vote. Having produced a 60 seat majority, that may shrink in 2011, demanding accountability for cloture votes is the least that can be expected.
Seniority is one of the few tools available to enforce accountability. Moreover, seniority is one of the key appeals Senators running for re-election make to their constituencies in their campaigns -- that their position enables them to get things done for their State. Thus, losing seniority is not only a major bummer with respect to a Senator's day-to-day activities, it can also negatively impact his re-election prospects.
The risk, of course, is that a Senator whose seniority was stripped by the Democratic caucus would join the Republicans. Although the risk is not zero, that Democrat would a) face running in a Republican primary if they have not adhered to their orthodoxy in the past, which they probably have not; b) sit with the minority on Committees for a good time to come; and c) not be such a loss anyhow if they cannot even bring themselves to vote with their colleagues to shut off debate.
Most importantly, if we cannot reform health care now, if we cannot get meaningful energy/climate legislation now, when we have 60 votes, at least on paper, it is not going to happen in the near future.
This is the time. Now is our chance. Taking that 'risk' is small compared to getting those measures passed.
Will you join me in demanding accountability by stripping seniority and committee and subcommittee chair positions from any Senator who votes "no" on cloture should be stripped of his or her seniority?
Click and comment your support, and I will forward to Harry Reid, Dick Durbin and Patty Murray, as well as the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.
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