It’s time to critically look at the U.S. Senate’s parliamentary procedures especially its controversial 60 percent majority and filibuster rules. Both are antiquated and only impede the effective running of our government.

It’s time to critically look at the U.S. Senate’s parliamentary procedures especially its controversial 60 percent majority and filibuster rules. Both are antiquated and only impede the effective running of our government.

We all know the House of Representatives can pass a bill in one day but when they send it over to the Upper Chamber it is sent through the maze of slow deliberation and debate. In most cases if a Senate bill isn’t filibustered then it still needs  60 votes to pass.

A 51 Senate majority was last advanced in 1975 but was rejected. Its time to rethink 51 along with voting out that antediluvian filibuster.

Filibuster means that once a senator has the Senate floor during a bill debate he or she can hold the floor and talk as long as they are physically able. Remember Jimmy Stewart in the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington?” Better yet the actual 24 hours and 18 minutes filibuster by South Carolina Strom Thurmond against the 1957 Civil Rights Bill on August 28, 1957. That will never happen again because of Rule 22 – Cloture which allows the Senate to end a debate without rejecting the bill, amendment, etc. If the Senate fails to invoke cloture then the debate continues. Still, 60 votes are needed to break the filibuster. Incidentally, neither party has ever held 60 percent of all seats in the Senate.

I applaud Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill in her current fight to ban secret holds which allow lawmakers to anonymously block legislation, or a nominee indefinitely without explanation. However, I disagree with the good Senator on her stand regarding filibusters.

Her spokesperson writes me, “Senator McCaskill recognizes that the legislative process can be frustrating and is working to enact reforms that make the Senate rules more open and transparent. That said, she supports maintaining the filibuster because she believes it helps ensure that the Senate remains a deliberative body that fosters debate and compromise. She does recognize however that some compromise may be necessary to ensure that the Senate can move to debate legislation within a reasonable timeframe.”

I’m sorry Senator but in 2010 “debate and compromise” are as rare as bipartisanship.

It may be a sweeping generality to say partisanship controls Congress but the evidence is overwhelming and the citizens of the United States are its losers.

I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.