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Force senators to defend their views

January 06, 2007

Re "Hold on, senator," editorial, Jan. 2

Your editorial criticizing the practice of Senate holds missed the most obvious solution: The Senate majority leader should call up the held nomination and move for a vote as soon as possible, initiating the cloture procedure to end a filibuster if needed. A hold is simply a formal notice given by a senator that he or she plans to oppose a nomination or bill. This notice -- with its implied threat of a time-consuming floor fight -- is usually enough to persuade Senate leaders to shelve the disputed item until a consensus is reached. That's the real problem. The incoming majority leader can eviscerate the power of holds today by forcing dissenting senators to take to the floor and defend their views. Debate, then vote and the majority rules. Or, in the case of the Senate, the super-majority rules.

MATTHEW KAGAN

Santa Monica

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