Today, Talent wrote back:
Dear Mr. Miller:
Thank you for contacting me to voice your concerns regarding S.Res. 138, Senator Frist's resolution to amend Rule 22, which governs the filibuster. I appreciate the time you have taken to share your views with me, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.
The filibuster, which allows a single senator to block a vote by prolonging debate indefinitely, has long played a significant role in the American system of government. Unlimited debate goes back to the origins of the Senate, which was designed as the more deliberative chamber of Congress. Not until 1917 was a rule (Rule 22) instituted to put some restraints on debate; a two-thirds vote could cut it off. In 1975, the requirement was changed to three-
fifths of the Senate, or 60 senators - regardless of how many are present.
As you mentioned in your letter, Senator Frist's proposal would gradually lower the threshold required to break a filibuster on executive nominations. Currently, it takes 60 votes to end a filibuster. This resolution would lower the number of votes needed to 57 on the second cloture motion, 54 on the third cloture motion and 51 on the fourth cloture motion. At this point, the debate on the nomination would end and a confirmation vote would be taken.
I am not a big supporter of the filibuster in general. But I do believe that if it is going to be used it should be reserved for
issues of the greatest national significance, not abused for political reasons. The recent filibusters are unfair to the President's judicial nominees and bad for the country. Worst of all, they are poisoning the well of the Senate at a time when we should be working together to get things done on behalf of the nation's security, health care and jobs.
I support Senator Frist in his efforts. I believe this is a reasonable manner in which to amend the filibuster procedure so that it can no longer be abused.
Again, thank you for contacting me.
Thank you for your email. To contact me on this or any other subject, please go to http://talent.senate.gov/Contact/default.cfm
Senator Jim Talent
What a bunch of bunk. Conservative my ass.