Letters to the editor (06/20/13)
VCS rescued his life
Valencia Counseling Services in Los Lunas rescued my life.
Without them, I would be six feet underground. I would be dead. I mean “dead dead.”
The director who runs the program used to be “that man.” Now, I think of him as my friend.
I have experienced countless joys with the program. Someday, that whole area is going to be one of the great hospitals of the whole nations.
Very best wishes to Valencia Counseling Services in Los Lunas.
Martin Frank Kirtley
Filibuster reform is needed
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, there was overwhelming support among Americans (90 percent) for universal background checks on gun sales.
We understood that background checks on every gun sale would make it harder for criminals, terrorists and the insane to get a hold of guns.
And so, legislation was written by two U.S. senators, both with an A rating from the NRA, which covered purchases made at gun shows and over the Internet that currently go unchecked.
On April 17, the U.S. Senate voted on the legislation. The result was 54 voting yes, and 46 voting no.
Ninety percent of the Senate Democrats, joined by four Republicans (McCain, Kirk, Collins and Toomey) voted yes. Ninety percent of the Senate Republicans, joined by five Democratic senators (Begich, Baucas, Heitkamp, Pryor and Reid) voted no.
Despite a simple majority win, the legislation was defeated. How could this happen?
The answer, in a word, is filibuster, which means that a 60-vote majority is required for any U.S. Senate debate or legislative action to take place.
Regular people know that this is wrong. The U.S. Constitution identifies the few occasions when a super majority is required. This current misuse of the filibuster is undemocratic.
Who is responsible for this corruption? The answer is both parties are to blame.
In early January, Sens. Udall, Merkley and Harkin co-sponsored a resolution to end abuse of the filibuster. They were supported by 18 senators.
Sen. Harry Reid agreed that reform was needed and promised to do something about it. The result was a watered down version that Reid and McConnell put together that did little to change business as usual.
Filibuster reform can and must be done. It is not a complicated or lengthy undertaking. For it to happen at the beginning of each new Congress, a simple majority of U.S. senators can change the rules of proceedings.
It will take 51 senators and a Senate majority leader who understand that their job is to represent the will of the people. If they cannot, or will not, do their job, they must be replaced.