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Repeal the filibuster and save our democracy



Colorado members of our organization, lndivisible, hold a spectrum of ideas on policies and tactics — like any healthy grassroots collective. However, in the face of decades-long Republican obstructionism, voter suppression and election results denial, we’ve seen remarkable agreement on the demand to eliminate the undemocratic Senate filibuster.

The legislative reforms we expect our 2021 Congress to enact were once rightly seen as uncontroversial: Let all citizens vote, protect the environment, take money out of politics, enforce compliance with the law and ethics, uplift the needy, value people over corporations, rebalance the economy to support real work product, provide excellent and affordable education and healthcare. These are values held by most Americans, but they’re politicized and obstructed by the minority in the Senate. And by minority, we really mean minority: Republican Senators represent more than forty million fewer Americans than Democratic Senators.

The filibuster is a procedural wall that current Senate Republicans, led by self-named “grim reaper” Mitch McConnell, will use to block any substantive progressive bill from passing. With the filibuster in place, 60 votes — essentially all the Democrats plus 10 Republicans for the issues named above — are needed to pass any non-budget-related law. Not coincidentally, you don’t need 60 votes for the things that Republicans want, like tax cuts for the wealthy.

The filibuster is not in the Constitution, and only relatively recently has been weaponized by Senate Republicans to kill landmark legislation — from civil rights to gun violence protection to universal health care.

We thank Colorado Sens. John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet for supporting such meaningful legislation as the COVID relief bill, which significantly helps millions of Americans, and the critical For the People Act, which prohibits voter suppression. And we implore our senators to recognize the futility of expecting Republican votes on these or any other robust people-and-planet-protecting bills. In the past month, Republicans in 43 states proposed 250 laws to keep people from voting. Not a single Republican in the House or Senate voted for the COVID relief bill — legislation supported by 70% of Americans. Senate Republicans have pushed back against the Paris Climate Accord, the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ citizens and the impeachment of Donald Trump.

Both our Colorado Senators have, at times, expressed a desire to reach compromise with Republicans. We believe that neither compromise nor collaboration are possible when one side works for its constituents, while the other works to retain power and protect the wealthy. Now is the time to enact bold and comprehensive legislation, not watered-down bills that help few and anger most.

Some wonder whether eliminating the filibuster may give future majority Republicans more power. It might. This is both true and irrelevant. With or without immediate filibuster reform, if the current Republican party regains power, they will use every means possible to retain it.

Colorado constituents seek life-improving legislation and authentic, courageous leadership. We don’t believe preserving the filibuster serves the interests or desires of Colorado or the nation, and we hope Hickenlooper and Bennet work to eliminate it, starting today.

Terrye Whitaker and Robin Kupernik, lead Indivisible Colorado Action Network, which coordinates Indivisible groups across the state to build statewide political power in support of a progressive and inclusive people-centered representative government.

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