Elizabeth Warren, Democratic Senator-elect from Massachusetts, The Huffington Post:
I'm honored to serve the people of Massachusetts in the United States
Senate, and I'm grateful for everything you've done to help send me to
When I'm sworn in just a couple of months from now, I want to fight
for jobs for people who want to work. I want millionaires and
billionaires and Big Oil companies to pay their fair share. And I want
to hold Wall Street accountable.
But here's the honest truth: we'll never do any of that if we can't get up-or-down votes in the Senate.
Remember Jimmy Stewart's classic film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? I
love that movie. That's what most of us think of when we hear the word
"filibuster" -- a single passionate senator speaking for hours about
legislation they fiercely oppose until they literally collapse with
But that's not what today's filibuster looks like. In reality, any
senator can make a phone call, say they object to a bill, then head out
for the night. In the meantime, business comes to a screeching halt.
Senate Republicans have used this type of filibuster 380 times since
the Democrats took over the majority in 2006. We've seen filibusters to
block judicial nominations, jobs bills, political transparency, ending
Big Oil subsidies -- you name it, there's been a filibuster.
We've seen filibusters of bills and nominations that ultimately
passed with 90 or more votes. Why filibuster something that has that
kind of support? Just to slow down the process and keep the Senate from
I saw the impact of these filibusters at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Forty-five senators pledged to filibuster any
nominee to head that new consumer agency, regardless of that person's
qualifications. After I left the agency, they tried to hold Richard
Cordray's nomination vote hostage until the Senate agreed to weaken the
agency to the point where it could no longer hold the big banks and
credit card companies accountable.
That's not open debate -- that's paralyzing progress.
I learned something important in my race against Senator Brown:
voters want political leaders who are willing to break the partisan
gridlock. They want fewer closed-door roadblocks and more public votes
on legislation that could improve their lives.
On the first day of the new session in January, the senators will
have a unique opportunity to change the filibuster rule with a majority
vote, rather than the normal two-thirds vote. The change can be modest:
If someone objects to a bill or a nomination in the United States
Senate, they should have to stand on the floor of the chamber and defend
I'm joining Senator Jeff Merkley and six other newly elected senators
to pledge to lead this reform on Day One, and I hope you'll be right
there with us. Our campaign didn't end on Election Day -- and I'm
counting on you to keep on working each and every day to bring real
change for working families.
This is the first step.