The Broken Senate: Restoring Democracy and Fixing the Filibuster

A Case for Senate Rules Reform

Six months into President Obama’s second term, and critical cabinet and other positions remain vacant as a minority of US senators threaten to filibuster the president’s nominees. Common Cause will host a panel discussion on the Senate’s misuse of the filibuster, the unprecedented backlog of nominations to critical agencies and federal courts, how the ensuing gridlock is affecting the nation and what can be done about it. This panel comes as the Senate is expected to consider rules changes this summer to its 60-vote filibuster rule, particularly as to nominations.


Panel Discussion, The Broken Senate: Restoring Democracy and Fixing the Filibuster


Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice Action Campaign

Larry Cohen, president, Communications Workers of America

Norman J. Ornstein – resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

Stephen Spaulding, staff counsel, Common Cause


Wednesday, July 10 at 10 a.m. This will also be live-streamed at


First Amendment Lounge

National Press Club

529 14th St., Washington DC

Nominees to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Labor, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and National Labor Relations Board, to name just a few, are hung up on the threat of a filibuster that repeatedly grinds that chamber to a halt. Since 2005 an obstructionist minority of U.S. senators has fundamentally altered the legislative playing field, distorting any tradition of deliberation and consensus beyond recognition. The filibuster is now used to block an unprecedented number of legislative measures and nominations, blocking progress on issues that Americans care about. The filibuster no longer extends due deliberation – rather, it is a favorite tool of a minority of the Senate to obstruct and stifle open debate. This panel of filibuster experts will discuss how the abuse of this rule is hurting democracy and what the possible solutions are.