Time to Fire Senator Casey

The following is a response from Senator Casey. In fact,  I am hard pressed to tell what this is a response too.  I think this is a response to my email stating that I disapprove of the use of Homeland Security funds being used for copyright police. Granted, I may have sent an email to him on the BATF/sporting nature issue. Heck, for all I know this could be his response to my recent email about fraudulent sales tactics of Comcast.

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a response from his office that is even remotely on topic to my concerns.

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Dear Mr. XXXXXX:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding the recent tragedy in Arizona, Senate rules reform and the Constitution. I appreciate hearing from you about these issues.

On January 8, 2011, a man named Jared Loughner allegedly opened fire outside a local supermarket during a “Congress on Your Corner” event hosted by Gabrielle Giffords. The horrific shootings, which injured fourteen and killed six, including a federal judge and a young girl recently elected to student government, have sparked a sense of sadness and loss across the country. This tragedy has deeply affected many Americans, including myself. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

The motivations of someone capable of this sort of attack cannot be fully comprehended. There is, however, ample evidence in recent years of increased vitriol and anger directed at elected officials. All of us, especially those of us in the public arena, have an obligation to tone down the heated rhetoric in our debates and to show respect for one another. As we mourn this tragedy, I hope that we can come together as Americans with respect for both our differences and our common bonds.

With regard to Senate rules reform, history tells us that our founding fathers purposefully designed the U.S. Senate as a deliberative body, one where Senators could have an open and thorough debate about the consequences of proposed legislation. In recent years, however, Senate rules have been systematically abused to block legislation and obstruct real debate. For example, at the end of the 111th Congress, a bill to provide health care to heroes who became ill after responding to the September 11th attacks was repeatedly delayed when a small group of Senators prevented the Senate from even debating the legislation. Later, it faced additional delays and threats to passage when one Senator held up the bill’s progress.

Every two years, at the opening of a new Congress, the Senate considers the rules by which it conducts its business. When the 112th Congress began, I supported a package of reforms to Senate rules to increase disclosure and discourage obstruction. I called for an end to the practice by which a Senator can place a secret hold on a bill or nomination to block action without even identifying him or herself. I also called for reform of the filibuster, a term that refers to any attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or nomination by debating it at length or offering numerous procedural motions. If a Senator wants to filibuster, he or she should stay on the floor and debate to continue the filibuster. If they have nothing to say, the Senate should vote and move on.

On January 27, 2011, the Senate debated and voted on a series of resolutions concerning the chamber’s rules. Among these, I joined 91 of my colleagues in voting to adopt S. Res. 28, a resolution to require any Senator to publicly disclose a notice of intent when objecting to a bill before the Senate. This rule effectively ends the practice of secret holds.

The Senate rejected a series a proposals to reform the filibuster, including a resolution I cosponsored that would have prevented the filibuster from being used as a delaying tactic in every step of the legislative process. Instead, the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the Senate agreed to a series of changes, including reducing the number of executive branch nominees requiring Senate confirmation and allowing for the consideration of more amendments. The Minority Leader has also pledged to refrain from blocking legislation from coming to the Senate floor for consideration.

The Senate made some progress by adopting these rules, but I was disappointed that there were not more substantial changes like the ones I supported. Regardless of the rules in place, the most important change must be in the tactics and temperament of Senators. It is my hope that partisan politics and gamesmanship can be put aside in favor of a legislative process that serves the people of Pennsylvania and the United States.

When I was sworn in as a U.S. Senator, I took an oath pledging to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” I can assure you that every time I face a vote on the Senate floor or in a Committee, I work closely with my colleagues and my staff to study the proposed legislation and determine whether it is consistent with the Constitution before I consider giving it my support. I strongly believe the strength of our democracy today is a testament to the enduring relevance of the Constitution and the wisdom of our founding fathers.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. As your Senator, I highly value hearing what Pennsylvanians think about the actions of Congress, as well as my own performance here in Washington. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about any matter of importance to you.

If you have access to the Internet, I encourage you to visit my web site, http://casey.senate.gov. I invite you to use this online office as a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.

Sincerely,
Bob Casey
United States Senator

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Published in: on February 16, 2011 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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