Reforming a Broken Senate

Secret Holds, Reforming a Broken Senate

More than 200 years ago when visiting America, Alexis de Toqueville observed "a minority of the nation dominating the Senate could completely paralyze the will of the majority represented in the other house, and that is contrary to the spirit of constitutional government." The current state of today's Senate illustrates all too well the truth of de Toqueville's words. Arcane and outdated rules have transformed the Senate into a tyranny of the minority, where action has ground to a halt to the detriment of the country. In 2011, the Senate will have an opportunity to propose new governing rules to reverse this course. By eliminating two key practices - secret holds and the filibuster - the Senate could restore public confidence in its ability to act and become more accountable to voters.

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