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Warren writes: "When I'm sworn in just a couple of months from now, I want to fight for jobs for people who want to work...And I want to hold Wall Street accountable."

Elizabeth Warren speaks to reporters during a news conference, 05/02/12. (photo: Steven Senne/AP)
Elizabeth Warren speaks to reporters during a news conference, 05/02/12. (photo: Steven Senne/AP)



The First Week in January

Elizabeth Warren, Reader Supported News

16 November 12

 

'm honored to serve the people of Massachusetts in the United States Senate, and I'm grateful for everything you've done to help send me to Washington.

When I'm sworn in just a couple of months from now, I want to fight for jobs for people who want to work. I want millionaires and billionaires and Big Oil companies to pay their fair share. And I want to hold Wall Street accountable.

But here's the honest truth: we'll never do any of that if we can't get up-or-down votes in the Senate.

Remember Jimmy Stewart's classic film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? I love that movie. That's what most of us think of when we hear the word "filibuster" - a single passionate senator speaking for hours about legislation they fiercely oppose until they literally collapse with exhaustion.

But that's not what today's filibuster looks like. In reality, any senator can make a phone call, say they object to a bill, then head out for the night. In the meantime, business comes to a screeching halt.

Senate Republicans have used this type of filibuster 380 times since the Democrats took over the majority in 2006. We've seen filibusters to block judicial nominations, jobs bills, political transparency, ending Big Oil subsidies - you name it, there's been a filibuster.

We've seen filibusters of bills and nominations that ultimately passed with 90 or more votes. Why filibuster something that has that kind of support? Just to slow down the process and keep the Senate from working.

I saw the impact of these filibusters at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Forty-five senators pledged to filibuster any nominee to head that new consumer agency, regardless of that person's qualifications. After I left the agency, they tried to hold Richard Cordray's nomination vote hostage until the Senate agreed to weaken the agency to the point where it could no longer hold the big banks and credit card companies accountable.

That's not open debate - that's paralyzing progress.

I learned something important in my race against Senator Brown: voters want political leaders who are willing to break the partisan gridlock. They want fewer closed-door roadblocks and more public votes on legislation that could improve their lives.

On the first day of the new session in January, the senators will have a unique opportunity to change the filibuster rule with a majority vote, rather than the normal two-thirds vote. The change can be modest: If someone objects to a bill or a nomination in the United States Senate, they should have to stand on the floor of the chamber and defend their opposition.

I'm joining Senator Jeff Merkley and six other newly elected senators to pledge to lead this reform on Day One, and I hope you'll be right there with us. Our campaign didn't end on Election Day - and I'm counting on you to keep on working each and every day to bring real change for working families. This is the first step.


Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+139 # BradFromSalem 2012-11-16 13:39
I am so damn proud that I was able to cast my vote for Elizabeth Warren. The prayers or hopes of all Americans are with her as she steps into the Senate, takes her oath, and makes the first critical step to make her term productive.

Even many Republicans will applaud the concerted move by the freshman Senators, to break gridlock and return democracy to the Senate. Which was designed to be a forum for debate and deliberation. The current filibuster rules defeat that design and must be modified.
 
 
+96 # Barbara K 2012-11-16 16:40
I'm so proud of Elizabeth Warren! I think she will make a wonderful, refreshing, Senator. BFS, I'm so proud that you got to vote for Elizabeth too. Sock it to them, Senator Warren, and get the banks to clean up their act. You Rock!
 
 
+88 # tbcrawford 2012-11-16 16:59
I'm jealous...Love that courageous patriot! We'd all better let Sen Reid know she has our 100% support!
 
 
+54 # Vardoz 2012-11-16 17:48
Let Reid move over and Warren take over.
 
 
+76 # PhilO 2012-11-16 17:11
Although I live in NY, I traveled to MA to help out Warren. Afterwards I was able to meet her at a rally. She is a FANTASTIC addition to the Senate!!!!!!!!

Next up, we must make sure that the GOP doesn't try to get Scott Brown elected to take Kerry's seat (if he leaves the Senate to take a position within the Obama admin). FWIW, Rice is being torpedoed by the GOP to weaken her, and ensure that Kerry is nominated... so that Brown can take the seat via special election (just like last time).
 
 
+39 # tanis 2012-11-16 19:21
your point about Brown and Kerry is VERY IMPORTANT. I hope everyone reads it!
 
 
+7 # BradFromSalem 2012-11-16 20:19
Believe me, there is a lot of talk about who will run for Kerry's seat. If there is a vacancy there will be about 3 or 4 viable candidates from BOTH parties. Brown may sit it out and run against a Democrat in 2014 or if the seat goes to a Republican, the he may go for Governor. The converse is true about Deval Patrick; unless he puts all his energy into running for President.
 
 
+4 # PhilO 2012-11-16 20:22
Thanks, Tanis!
 
 
+78 # bluemonk 2012-11-16 16:33
I'm not from Massachusetts, so I was not able to vote for Mrs Warren, but her winning is a victory for the whole country. I hope one day to be able to vote for her for a higher office. She is the type of person we need leading this country.
 
 
+12 # Carol R 2012-11-16 23:12
I'd love to see her as president in a few years. She knows where all the dirt in Washington is located and won't put up with it.
 
 
+75 # happycamper690 2012-11-16 16:33
Just think what it would be like if all members of congress thought and acted as she and Bernie Saunders do. Wouldn't that be great!?
 
 
+28 # Joe Bob 2012-11-16 18:29
The Best. A real breath of Fresh Air.
 
 
+76 # robbak11 2012-11-16 16:39
My wife and I would have voted for Warren - but we live in California. So we sent her $100, $25 at a time, even though we're both out of work. That's how much we think of her. Yes, please let's end the filibusters.
 
 
+35 # Joe Bob 2012-11-16 18:34
It's not how much you send, it's that you care enough to send something. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Alan Grayson are the only ones I sent $ to. I couldn't afford that either. Most politics is a murky mess and I just can't finance that. Look at the Big Rethug donors.... couldn't buy the election.
 
 
+64 # ganymede 2012-11-16 16:53
Big changes are coming to this country and this election is a beautiful harbinger of what's to come. We will have Senators like Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown plus many, many more to thank for this revolution. Hopefully, there will be many men and women in the House of Representatives as well who will begin to stand up for the rights and concerns of the majority of Americans. It's time for a change in 2013, and the elections in 2014 will be the final clearing out of the dead wood in Congress. Future historians will look with wonderment at how or country survived this era which really began with Ronald Reagan.
 
 
+16 # readerz 2012-11-16 23:09
We will have to get out the vote in 2014. Republicans count on winning off-year elections because many Democrats don't vote in those elections. This will be especially important for a long time, because the Republicans have become more and more against Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and now the health care bill too, and totally wrong about women. I hope there are more good women who run and win elections, including in some of the red states.
 
 
+25 # alan17b0 2012-11-16 17:25
If you are in a state with a Democratic
Senator, call him/her/them! I live
in MD, I've already called Cardin and
will call Mikulski next week.

Best wishes,

Alan McConnell in Silver Spring MD
 
 
+37 # humanmancalvin 2012-11-16 17:32
Senator Warren is going to make positive change possible.
 
 
+29 # Michael_K 2012-11-16 17:59
Senator Warren, I understand that the partisan electoral process required that you lavish completely undeserved praise upon our current "commander in chief"... BUT.. I do fervently hope you will not be too gentle or diplomatic in holding his feet to the fire to force him to do what we know must be done, in spite of his every instinct to bolt to the right.

We are counting on you and less than a handful of others to shame him into doing what he was elected to do, and NOT compromise our future away.
 
 
+7 # robniel 2012-11-17 00:12
And we hope you will keep us in the loop. A spot on MSNBC now and then will help with this.
 
 
+15 # BlueReview 2012-11-16 18:03
I have every confidence that when the swearing-in ceremony is held ("a couple of weeks from now"), Ms. Warren won't be in another room attending a fundraiser. . . .
 
 
+9 # BlueReview 2012-11-16 18:04
Oops, make that “months” sorry--!
 
 
+26 # GringoLoco 2012-11-16 18:10
"I want to fight for jobs for people who want to work... And I want to hold Wall Street accountable."

Warren for President!
 
 
+29 # Janice 2012-11-16 18:10
I campaigned for this bright wonderful lady. She will protect us and bring the change we need to GET THINGS DONE. I am so happy and proud to have her as my senator and the whole country is happy she's in the senate. Our President needs more like her.
 
 
+17 # Blast Dorrough 2012-11-16 18:27
The Mission Statement of the United States is under the Preamble to the Constitution. It demands egalitarian and economic justice for the real economic backbone and real job creators of the United States --- the working poor, the middle-class employee, the small business owner and the Seniors on Social Security. Once this Economic Backbone is back to work with jobs of a living wage that meet the necessaries of life, they, along with noted Seniors, will be spending in the marketplace and thus be creating jobs in a booming economy. Senator Warren will bring true meaning to these mandated egalitarian and economic principles to the 99%, much to the anger of free-loading, usurping Rich dependent on "legalized" corruption and "legalized" welfare in the billions to become the ultimate welfare queens and kings afflicted with insatiable greed and incorrigible criminal traits of corruption.
 
 
+27 # lisamoskow 2012-11-16 18:50
Warren is the best thing that happened in the last election!!!
 
 
+19 # aitengri 2012-11-16 19:04
ditto ditto ditto ditto. As consumer advocate, she was inspiring. Now after this clarion call to the nation, the administration had better "lissen up" and drink their coffee, and move proactively to support her initiatives.
 
 
+16 # grouchy 2012-11-16 19:06
GO GET'M GIRL!
 
 
+37 # MainStreetMentor 2012-11-16 19:18
Does anyone, anywhere, think that had Scott Brown been elected instead of Dr. Elizabeth Warren - that HE would have issued such a statement as appears in this article? I predict this "new" Senator from Massachusetts is going to be an unfailing "spark plug" within the United States Senate - and I STILL hope and pray that she and Senator Bernie Sanders will join political hands for their common causes. THIS is what a REAL Senator looks like!
 
 
+20 # Constant Voter 2012-11-16 19:21
She's almost too good to be true - but speaking of that, I sure hope she doesn't fly on any private planes any time soon. Altogether too many excellent people have died in small plane crashes. I don't want her to be one of them.
 
 
+1 # michele6933 2012-11-16 22:00
I was happy she won . But does anyone know how and where she stands on ANIMAL RIGHTS ? Many Progressive lose their compassion the moment the victim or the poor or the abused ceases to be a human animal. Non-humans don't seem to matter. And I fail to understand why. Non-humans feel joy, fear, pain, hunger just as men do . I hope Warren shows she is ready to defend ALL abused beings, whether they be in offices or in lab cages .
 
 
+7 # robbak11 2012-11-16 23:14
Let me suggest that where she stands on any issue is far less important than the simple fact that she believes in democracy. When (and if) we have a working democracy again we can hope to have our voices heard on every issue. Until then I'd rather just support the candidates who want democracy and not worry about qualifying them against every issue that's important to me.
 
 
+10 # California Neal 2012-11-16 22:07
I agree with all the admiration for & excitement about Elizabeth Warren in the previous comments. Making filibusterers talk is a good first step. Eventually, the filibuster should be eliminated. It's only a Senate procedure, not a law.
 
 
+6 # Riley1 2012-11-16 22:23
Senator to be Warren,
It's good to see you in Washington . However that said I sincerely hope you wont be just another voice crying in the wilderness. Get all the help you can from that other stalwart of the people Senator Bernie Sanders. The scary thing is to get things done Washington requires compromise .it always has. Our CIC has done that just too often and has has to be stopped to review his original vision he promised the people that placed him in the presidency. Work to recind the patriot act as a matter of priorority. However that said the more immediate issue is the fiscal cliff facing legislators .
 
 
+9 # Texas Aggie 2012-11-16 22:30
One of the most important duties of the new Senate is to change the rules on the filibuster. I saw a good article why requiring talking is not a good improvement, but that other requirements such as changing the number of votes necessary or instead of 60 for cloture, require 40 or 45 to uphold the filibuster. It is something to consider. Other possibilities are to have a rolling tally so that each day it takes more votes to uphold a filibuster, or to prohibit filibusters under certain conditions like appointments for judiciary and executive positions.
 
 
+3 # dick 2012-11-16 22:35
Making filibusters public marathons is Job 1. Then at least SOME accountability for Wall St. Banksters. Drag Obama along.
 
 
+8 # DakotaKid 2012-11-17 07:49
Filibuster: "...the use of extreme dilatory tactics in an attempt to delay or prevent action especially in a legislative assembly." Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The idea of representative democracy is inseparable from majority rule. Let's get rid of the filibuster as a means to kill legislation; use it only as a procedural device to delay a bill for a very limited period (say, 21 days); and build public trust in "the broken branch" of government. If anybody in Congress can lead this country out of the wilderness, it's Elizabeth Warren.
 
 
+6 # tswhiskers 2012-11-17 14:05
Yes, please change the filibuster rule. The Republicans have abused it for too long. It is why the Senate no longer functions and why we have a do-nothing Congress. dick, I'm not so sure that Obama will have to be "dragged along." I think he and other Dems. want to get something done and changing the filibuster and making it as uncomfortable as it used to be will certainly help to activate the Senate. I haven't heard any other politicians mention the filibuster so I hope Warren won't have to drag the Dems along with her. Good luck, Liz. Your heart and head seem to be in this together. I hope you can help change the Congress and not the reverse.
 
 
+4 # Selwick 2012-11-17 18:07
And what can we all do? Grassroots into the Democratic Party! Shake up their dusty local seats, make them get out and educate people and just be there and hold donw the office desk. We all have to participate. We are the people and we have to do something. Let's not expect another miracle, let's make sure that the Democrats will work for the working people and educate them where their true interests are. We all have to be and act more in political manners, ways and circles.
I will go and open my mouth at party meetings and I hope more will join me. Get out, the time is now, three weeks before the next election is certainly too late.
 
 
+2 # Corvette-Bob 2012-11-27 15:13
I cannot believe how lucky we were in the Senate races. I particularly love Elizabeth Warren.
 

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