Ending Congressional Gridlock Requires
Curbing Abuse of the Filibuster
Jefferson Smith, the fictional filibustering senator in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, has captivated the imaginations of many Americans. But when was the last time a senator took a principled stand in the form of an around-the-clock speech, then collapsed with exhaustion, having convinced the crooked political establishment to mend its misguided ways?
Now is the time to stop looking to a 73-year-old Hollywood movie for inspiration and start fixing the way the Senate does business so that a latter-day Mr. Smith can actually take a stand for genuine matters of principle. There's growing momentum to end legislative obstruction by changing the rules when the new Senate reconvenes later this month. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) have introduced Senate Resolutions 4 and 6, which mirror the filibuster reforms supported by Fix the Senate Now, a coalition of 50 progressive organizations. And Democrats have the votes to revamp the rules.