Be it resolved that....
New Years and new Congresses have a lot in common: they're all about the resolutions.
The 112th Congress begins today and the House and Senate are wasting no time tackling some significant resolutions.
On the Senate side, in the wake of the gridlock that at times seemed to paralyze the chamber in the last few years, Senators are considering a rules change that would affect the filibuster. Don't panic: no one is suggesting doing away with the filibuster altogether. But in fact, that time honored tradition of senators holding forth for marathon lengths of time in defense of a principle that MUST NOT BE VIOLATED, doesn't happen anymore. Instead, one senator out of 100 merely threatens to filibuster, and the chamber grinds to a halt. Filibusters today are often less about principle and more about gumming up the works.
As Politico writes, In general, Democrats hope to narrow the scope of the filibuster, potentially doing away with the ability of one senator to simply object to even debating legislation. Democrats also hope to eliminate so-called secret holds, which allow senators to block legislation or a nomination anonymously.
Here's the fun part: changing Senate rules is done most simply on the first day of legislative business. But because the filibuster reformers haven't yet been able to agree on a path forward, Majority Leader Reid is considering extending this legislative day for... a couple of weeks. Stay tuned to see how the Senate bends the time-space continuum.
Meanwhile, over on the House side, the incoming Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has scheduled a vote for next Wednesday on a resolution to overturn last year's landmark health care reform law. Rather than object to specific pieces of the law, the vote will be on its wholesale repeal.
If the bill being voted on next week were to actually become law, parents could no longer keep their children on their health coverage till age 26, insurance companies could return to denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and health care premiums will continue to skyrocket.
So, as members of Congress consider these and other resolutions, make one of your own: resolve to begin this New Year and new Congress by making your voice heard. Whether you speak up about health care reform, the filibuster , comprehensive immigration reform, workplace discrimination law, or any of the myriad other issues that Congress will tackle in the coming session - make sure your representatives know where you stand.