The DISCLOSE Act was brought up on the in the Senate
Thursday, but only as an example of why the filibuster rules should be revised.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) backs changing the rules to
require debate -- he used a blow-up poster of Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to make his
point -- before the kind of cloture vote whose failure essentially kills a bill
without floor debate.
That was the case with the
DISCLOSE Act, a bill that would require on-air disclosure of TV and radio
ads taking advantage of the Citizens United decision's freeing-up of corporate
and union funds for electioneering communications in the run-up to elections.
Merkley said that if those opposing the act had been forced
to argue for secrecy about unlimited funding, nobody would do it, but that they
didn't have to give the so-called "silent filibuster."
He argued that if there had been a requirement for senators
to hold the floor to argue their point, as Stewart did in the movie, there
would have been 60 votes for cloture and proceeding to debate and a vote on the