Granite Status: Shaheen tells backers: 'You deserve' filibuster reform
FOR "FILIBUSTER REFORM." Sen. Jeanne Shaheen voiced a more definitive, hard-line stance in favor of filibuster reform today (Wednesday) than she did Tuesday.
Tuesday, Shaheen told UnionLeader.com and other media that she was pleased with a deal that was reached among Democratic and Republican senators to allow some of President Barack Obama's nominees to be confirmed without a change in Senate rules, which had been threatened by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
She said Tuesday that if the compromise fails to prevent "further obstruction on executive branch nominations," then she "would consider (filibuster) rules reform."
Wednesday afternoon, however, Shaheen's campaign organization, Friends of Jeanne Shaheen, emailed supporters a letter signed by Shaheen in which she says, "I support filibuster reform."
The letter links to an online petition, "Support Filibuster Reform" sponsored by Shaheen's committee and committees for fellow Senate Democrats Sens. Mark Begich, Heidi Heitkamp and Tom Udall.
"A long overdue agreement has been reached so that we can confirm some of President Obama's nominees, one of whom waited in limbo for 730 days," Shaheen writes in her email.
"Even with these confirmations, we still need to reach a solution to prevent the kind of gridlock and filibuster abuse that brought us to this point.
"I support filibuster reform because you deserve better. It doesn't matter if the president is a Democrat or a Republican, he or she deserves to have qualified nominees confirmed. That's true of President Obama, whether Republicans like it or not.
"The Senate's role is 'advise and consent,' not obstruct and delay," wrote Shaheen.
"This is all being debated now. Right away, will you add your voice to my call for filibuster reform? We need to make sure Democrats in the Senate support reform," Shaheen wrote.
A spokesman for a conservative group quickly criticized the Shaheen email, noting that she missed a key Senate meeting on filibuster reform on Monday night, and on Wednesday emailed backers on the same issue (see item below).
Derek Dufresne of Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, said Shaheen’s “refusal to elaborate on why she missed a mandatory meeting and vote on changes that would alter the rule structure of the U.S. Senate is inexcusable.
“However, the fact that she would use the meeting and quorum vote that she never attended as a means to collect information from her supporters to benefit her own re-election campaign is indefensible,” Dufresne said.
“What is even more insulting is that in her email, she says ‘you deserve a Washington that works for you.’ That’s outrageous considering the email is coming from a senator who can’t show up to do her job even when the vote is mandatory. Senator Shaheen must tell Granite Staters why she missed the vote – and then she should apologize for using a missed vote to help get herself re-elected,” said Dufresne.