70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents

70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents
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Seventy former senators drafted an open letter to current members of the chamber proposing a new bipartisan caucus amid the current era of aggressive partisanship.

These 70 former senators said Congress is “not fulfilling its constitutional duties" with “much of the responsibility” resting on the Senate. They write that the upper chamber is not functioning “as the Framers of the Constitution intended" in the letter, which was published by The Washington Post.

The letter's writers, who include former Sens. James Buckley (R-N.Y.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE (D-Ind.), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcSally campaign to suspend TV ads, canvassing amid pandemic Coronavirus isn't the only reason Congress should spend less time in DC Trump Jr. says he inherited 'Tourette's of the thumbs' from his father MORE (R-Ariz.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA MORE (D-N.D.), John KerryJohn Forbes KerryUS inaction is hurting the chance for peace in Libya Poll: More Republican voters think party is more united than Democratic voters Biden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much MORE (D-Mass.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillGOP lukewarm on talk of airline bailout Claire McCaskill: Ron Johnson is an 'embarrassing tool' To winnow primary field, Obama and other Democrats must speak out  MORE (D-Mo.), lament what they call the disintegration of legislative authority, saying Congress over the years has given too much power to the executive and judicial branches.

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“The Senate’s abdication of its legislative and oversight responsibilities erodes the checks and balances of the separate powers that are designed to protect the liberties on which our democracy depends,” the senators wrote. 

They also mourned that it takes 60 votes to “pass anything in the Senate” now, calling it “new and obstructionist” that the same number of votes for “the once relatively exceptional event of a filibuster” is now essentially needed to pass any legislation. 

“By design, the Senate is the place where Americans with all their competing interests and ideologies are represented and where champions of those positions attempt to advance their causes and work through their differences,” they said.

The former senators said a bipartisan caucus of incumbents would allow senators to participate in “meaningful committee work.” They also ask that current senators push for legislation and compromise amid the partisan disagreements, acknowledging doing so could risk their careers but would “advance the cause of a ‘more perfect union.’”

“We, who once held the office you now hold and who are confident that service in the U.S. Senate is as high a calling for you as it was for us, will stand up for you against any partisan opposition. We will do so publicly and repeatedly in whatever available forums,” the 70 former senators wrote.

“The Senate — and the proper functioning of our Republic — are simply too important to be allowed to continue on their present course,” they added.