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As a local parent and community activist (Maryland NOW action vice president), every day I see the benefits of government when it works effectively and the waste and consequences when it does not. So, when our U.S. senators, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), elected to represent the public’s interests, can’t do their work to debate and pass legislation, it wastes their time and taxpayers’ money.

That’s why both should make passing Senate Resolution 4 to reform the broken filibuster rules their top priority until the full Senate votes on the measure next week. Since Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) became majority leader, he’s faced 386 filibusters. In contrast, Lyndon Johnson faced only one when he held that position. And as a result, numerous bills that would have benefited working families, women, youth, seniors, the Chesapeake Bay and our environment were killed by “silent filibuster,” despite having passed the House of Representatives and garnered the support of a solid majority in the Senate. That’s not democracy.

SR-4 will break the logjam and streamline the process for approving nominations and voting on whether to continue or end debate. It will also restore accountability by requiring filibustering senators to take the floor and talk, as Jimmy Stewart did in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Sen. Reid is working hard to pass this much-needed reform, and so should both our senators, so Marylanders won’t suffer the same government gridlock and tragic consequences for two more years and beyond.

Sandy Bell, Chesapeake Beach