Senate minority using filibuster to let down Americans

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  • Dale Eisman

Today’s announcement that Republicans will hold the Senate hostage, blocking all other legislation until they secure an extension of the Bush tax cuts and a package of appropriations bills, is a sad reminder of just how far the “world’s greatest deliberative body” has fallen.

“This may be the grossest misuse of the filibuster since the civil rights era,” said Bob Edgar, Common Cause’s president. “Americans understand that our nation faces a number of critical challenges and Congress has an obligation to act on them.

“At a time when our economy continues to falter and millions of people remain out of work, why are Senate Republicans singularly focused on helping the wealthy? It doesn’t make business sense, but it makes political sense. These are the people and entities who funded their campaigns,” Edgar said.

“The minority’s refusal to move forward means millions of Americans will not get a desperately needed extension of their unemployment benefits. It jeopardizes a nuclear arms agreement endorsed by secretaries of state from Henry Kissinger to Hillary Clinton; it denies young immigrants who’ve volunteered to sacrifice life and limb in our military a smooth path to citizenship,” Edgar said.

Common Cause was encouraged by the spirit of cooperation that seemed to emerge when President Obama met Tuesday at the White House with the bipartisan Congressional leadership. “It’s disheartening to learn that even as they talked of cooperation, some senators were preparing for more of the confrontational tactics that now dominate Congressional debates,” Edgar said.

“It’s particularly telling that they’ve chosen to make this stand on behalf of the wealthiest Americans, whose taxes would increase modestly under the compromise tax plan proposed by the administration. It won’t escape voters’ notice that wealthy individuals and corporations secretly put hundreds of millions of dollars into the most recent election are already seeing a return on their investment,” Edgar said.