It was a straight-up power grab.Yesterday, despite an avalanche of phone calls, emails, and faxes from concerned citizens like you, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell cut a deal to water down the filibuster.I'd like to thank you for all you did over the last couple of weeks to fight back. The truth is, if you hadn't acted, the changes to the rules would have been significantly worse.Let me tell you more about what happened, and what it means for the issues you and I care about.Cowed by Harry Reid's threat to illegally change the rules with only 51 votes, Mitch McConnell cut a deal that weakened the filibuster, gutted minority rights, and at the same time increased his own power.And all but a handful of Republicans followed their leader into this evisceration of their own rights.You can see how your Senators voted by clicking here http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_c... and here http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_c... thank your Senators if they voted against both parts of the rule changes).As expected, the deal weakens the filibuster, which you and I have used time and again to defeat Big Labor power grabs.Not only that, the so-called "leaders" gave themselves even more power at the expense of individual Senators -- and concerned citizens like you who use the filibuster to protect freedom and rely on amendments to force elected officials to vote up or down on critical issues.Clearly, the biggest beneficiary of the new rules is Harry Reid (and his allies and backers like Big Labor).Reid has more control over the clock, more ways to cut deals, and easier paths to ram through legislation.But the new rules also give Minority Leader Mitch McConnell substantially more power, especially over the ability of members of his own party to offer amendments to bills.No Republican Senator will be able to introduce and get roll call votes on amendments without McConnell's permission.Instead, he's likely to use his new amendment power to serve his own interests, or cut more deals by "buying" swing votes.This is deeply troubling.Historically, what has made the U.S. Senate such a special institution is that a single Senator can make an enormous difference, especially when backed up by people like you.But these rule changes centralize power in the hands of Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell.Now, we have to stay on higher alert because of Harry Reid's increased ability to ram through dangerous legislation.And we must keep up the pressure on Mitch McConnell, who may now flex his power to deny crucial votes or cut even more devastating deals with Harry Reid.Thanks again for everything you did in this battle. I'm going to need you to stay vigilant more than ever.Sincerely, Mark Mix
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