2nd response on the Shut Down:
Dear Mr. Curtis:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the filibuster, a parliamentary procedure used to extend debate during Senate consideration of legislation. I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this matter.
As you may know, the U.S. Constitution empowers both chambers of Congress to create their own governing rules and procedures. The Standing Rules of the Senate were written in 1789 and dictate that the Senate will govern itself with the principle of unlimited and unrestricted debate. This principle ensures a voice for all Senators and all ideas and is essential to the democratic process. In parliamentary practice, a filibuster can delay votes on legislation when the minority voice is being ignored; however, to prevent gridlock, Senate Rules also empower the chamber to end filibusters using a procedure known as cloture, which requires a 60-vote majority.
As you may know, on January 24, 2013, the Senate voted on a package of rules that will govern the chamber over the next two years. Together, Senate Resolutions 15 and 16 limit filibusters on certain procedural motions, guarantee the minority party a right to offer amendments to legislation, and expedite the consideration of Cabinet-level nominees and federal district court nominees. I supported both measures because they will increase the speed by which the Senate conducts routine business and ensure a voice for the minority party—which I am proud to serve as Minority Whip.
I appreciate having the opportunity to represent Texas in the United States Senate, and you may be certain that I will keep your views in mind should efforts to change the Senate filibuster and cloture rules be considered in the future. Thank you for taking time to contact me.
United States Senator
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-2934
Fax: (202) 228-2856