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End the filibuster?

lpetrich

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The US Senate filibuster is an obstructionist tactic that Senators have accepted for well over a century. It consists of talking and talking and talking until one quits or else one's opponent quits. In recent decades, it has become a "hold" - a Senator only has to threaten to do the original kind of filibuster.

It's like the fake war between Eminiar VII and Vendikar in ST:TOS "A Taste of Armageddon". Those planets' inhabitants fight a fake war done by computer simulation, and they meekly report to disintegration chambers when tagged as casualties in it. They do so because they are afraid of starting a real war.

Currently, a filibuster can be ended only by a "cloture" vote with at least 60 Senators agreeing to shut it down. That is not quite as bad as what Poland had in early modern times, before its neighbors divided that nation between them. Its Sejm or parliament had a rule, the "liberum veto", where anyone could stop something by a negative vote, thus effectively requiring unanimity.

President Obama Is Right: To Save Our Democracy, End the Senate Filibuster by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR.
The history of America is one of struggle between those who want our democracy to represent the many, and those who would prefer it only to represent the privileged and powerful few.
Arthur Schlesingers I and II had identified cycles of US history, where one tendency dominates and then the other tendency dominates.
Emancipation, the 14th and 15th amendments, the right of women and Native Americans to vote, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act—all of these were major victories for the many. But for the last several decades, the powerful few have been working diligently and successfully to reverse this progress.

They have wiped voters from the rolls by the tens of thousands. They have passed discriminatory voter ID laws and closed polling stations. They have drowned our elections in dark money and expanded gerrymandering. They have stolen a Supreme Court seat and packed the Court, successfully gutting the Voting Rights Act that John Lewis bled for.

And they have clung to the vestiges of disenfranchisement that still exist in our system—the undemocratic Electoral College and the lack of representation for American citizens who live in D.C. and the territories.

All of these actions have undermined government of, by, and for the people, silencing the voices of the many to accentuate the power of the few. And, in the worst tradition of America’s exclusionary and racist history, they disproportionately disenfranchised Americans who were young, low-income, disabled, and people of color—especially Black Americans.

The Founders wanted a simple majority, because they had experience with requiring more. About the US's first Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, 10 reasons why America’s first constitution failed - National Constitution Center - among them, requiring a supermajority of 9 out of 13 states: 69%.
 

lpetrich

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 Filibuster in the United States Senate - its use was rare until around 1970, and it has steadily increased since then. Back to the article.
But in the last four decades, the use of the supermajority has become the default threshold for any significant vote on policy, which Republicans have used to kill good legislation on health care, housing, education, labor, the environment, and equal opportunity for LGBTQ Americans. At the same time, Republicans have changed the rules to make their priorities – cutting taxes for the wealthy and packing the court – subject only to a simple majority. In short, the rules of the Senate are rigged for the powerful over the people. It is our responsibility to change this!

And the rigged rules add to demographic imbalance. 41 Republican senators representing states that comprise less than a quarter of America’s population can veto Democrats’ legislation for the people.
When the Democrats filibustered some Republican appointments in the mid-2000's, the Republicans threatened the "nuclear option", abolishing the filibuster. The Democrats then backed down. They should have stood their ground and dared the Republicans abolish it.

Obama meekly let the Republicans obstruct his administration with filibuster threats, and that did not make them one bit more conciliatory. Only late in his presidency was it partially abolished.
If Republicans are willing to use simple majorities to take unprecedented measures to benefit the powerful few, we must be willing at the very least to use a simple majority to unrig elections and restore our democracy for the millions of ordinary families across the United States.

As President Obama put it in his powerful eulogy for Congressman Lewis: “If all this”—referring to restoring democracy for the people—“takes eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic, in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that’s what we should do.”
More like the Democrats being unwilling to filibuster.
 

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A more important block to legislation passing in the Senate today is the requirement self-imposed by the Republicans that no bill will come up to a vote unless it has some un-quantified support in the Republican caucus. This means that the still large Tea Party contingent in the Republican ranks, about 20 or so, can block any legislation from even being put to a vote.

This faction of the Republican party is the most conservative branch of the party and they embrace the very worse ideas of libertarianism, movement conservatism, corporatism, and religious fundamentalism.
 

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An actual filibuster - where someone speaks for hours and refuses to yield the floor - was and is still rare. There is no reason to abolish that type of filibuster.

The real problem is that the Senate treats the threat of filibuster as the same as an actual filibuster. If senators were required to physically hold the floor for hours, the frequency of filibusters would return to its pre 1920s frequency.
 

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In principle, I think requiring a supermajority could help curb the most controversial laws and appointments. But as it stands, filibuster itself is just a senate rule that can be removed with a simple majority. It's nothing more than a political convention that can be set aside whenever the majority feels like it, just as has been done already for judicial nominations. It wouldn't hurt to bury it altogether.
 

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Filibuster reform gains steam with Democrats | TheHill - Jun 29

Senator Jeff Merkley D-OR has long championed reforming the filibuster, and some other Senators have become sympathetic, like Tim Manchin D-WV and Christopher Coons D-DE. About TM:
His willingness to review filibuster reform is a reflection of how frustrated Democrats — and many Republicans — have become with legislative gridlock.

Some of that frustration was on display last week after a motion to proceed to a GOP police reform bill failed after a 55-45 vote fell short of the 60 needed to advance. Manchin was one of the handful of Democrats who voted in favor of proceeding.

...
Merkley noted that in Federalist Paper No. 58, James Madison rejected a proposal for requiring more than a majority for a legislative quorum because it would reverse “the fundamental principle of government.”

“It would be no longer the majority that would rule: the power would be transferred to the minority,” Madison wrote.

The other big change in the Senate over the years, Merkley said, was that it’s become “routine” to require “supermajority” 60-vote thresholds to move legislation, even items that are relatively uncontroversial.
The article didn't go into detail about Sen. Merkley's proposals, however.
 

lpetrich

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Democrats Furious As Dianne Feinstein Demurs on Packing Supreme Court

Here's what she said about ending the filibuster:
"I don't believe in doing that. I think the filibuster serves a purpose. It is not often used, it's often less used now than when I first came, and I think it's part of the Senate that differentiates itself," Feinstein said.

NBC News national political reporter Sahil Kapur pointed out on Twitter that the use of cloture motions in the Senate has significantly increased since the mid 1990s.
I checked on  Dianne Feinstein:
  • 1933 June 22 - born in San Francisco, CA
  • 1955 - graduated from Stanford University with a BA in history
  • 1960 - appointed to the California Women's Parole Board
  • 1969 - SF Board of Supervisors
  • 1978 Dec 4 - succeeded George Moscone as SF mayor after he was assassinated
  • 1983 - elected SF mayor
  • 1992 Nov 3 - elected to US Senate in a special election
  • 1994, 2000, 2006, 2012, and 2018 - re-elected to there
 Filibuster in the United States Senate - it's grown more common since around 1970. There was a burst around then, then a burst around 1992, then one around 2007, with an increase since then.

Sahil Kapur on Twitter: "FEINSTEIN on ending filibuster and expanding SCOTUS: “I don't believe in doing that. I think the filibuster serves a purpose. It is not often used, it's often less used now than when I first came, and I think it's part of the Senate that differentiates itself.” ht @DanielPFlatley" / Twitter

Showing a graph of cloture motions over time with DiFi's Senate election marked on it. An increase, not a decrease.
 

lpetrich

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Senate Democrats lukewarm on killing the filibuster - Business Insider
  • Former President Barack Obama urged Senate Democrats last week to eliminate the filibuster, which he called a 'Jim Crow' relic.
  • But several Democrats told Insider they would not vote to end the old rule that they view as an important check on the majority's power.
  • Nixing the filibuster would reduce the Senate to a 'glorified' version of the House, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said in an interview.
  • 'I think it's a part of Senate tradition, which creates a sobering effect on the body, which is healthy,' added Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.
  • The filibuster requires a 60-vote threshold for most bills and was used extensively by Republicans to block the Obama administration's agenda on big issues like climate change and gun control.

...
Still, some of the senators interviewed said they remain reluctant to take a position on eliminating the 60-vote threshold. A few cautioned though that they could change their minds if the GOP repeated the same playbook used during the Obama years to block another Democratic president's priorities.

"I suppose Republican intransigence could ultimately provoke me to that," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, adding that it's premature to make a decision now.
What might they prefer? Weakening the filibuster without ending it?
 

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter: "Sen. Feinstein’s protection of the filibuster is unjust & unacceptable.

The filibuster wasn’t made w/ purpose. It‘s the result of an accident in rulebook revision & bloomed as a cherished tool of segregationists.

Now it empowers minority rule. That’s not “special,” it’s unjust." / Twitter


 Filibuster in the United States Senate -  Nuclear option -  2005 debate on nuclear option (United States Senate)

In 2005, the Democrats filibustered some of George Bush II's appointments of judges, and the Republicans threatened to invoke the "nuclear option", as it was called, meaning that only a majority was necessary for approving those appointments. The Democrats backed off from their filibustering.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter: "Some more information on the filibuster’s history for those interested: https://t.co/etSr7BZawO" / Twitter

The Senate Filibuster Is a Monument to White Supremacy - The Atlantic
In fairness, the filibuster was not explicitly designed as a tool for white supremacists. In fact, the filibuster was not “designed” at all. It was created by accident, part of a sloppy revision of the Senate rule book by Aaron Burr just a few months after his famous duel with Alexander Hamilton. In a careless effort to remove what he thought was redundant language, he cut the “previous question motion,” which would have allowed a majority of lawmakers to end debate and force a vote on a bill.

For more than a century, Burr’s mistake gave even a tiny handful of senators the power to block a bill indefinitely. But in 1917, Woodrow Wilson (himself an ardent segregationist) demanded reform. “The Senate of the United States is the only legislative body in the world which cannot act when its majority is ready for action,” he complained. “A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own, have rendered the great Government of the United States helpless and contemptible.”

Many senators favored eliminating the filibuster altogether, but in the end they compromised and created a new Senate rule: If two-thirds of the upper chamber came together, a speaker could be cut off and a filibuster broken. This was the first appearance of the filibuster in its modern form, though the required number of votes was later reduced to three-fifths. A grumpy trio or quartet could no longer slam the brakes on the entire legislative process, but a faction of senators—a group larger than a handful but smaller than a majority—could still kill any bill it pleased.
But guess who liked the filibuster? Southern segregationist Democrats. Starting in the early 1920's, they filibustered to death nearly 200 anti-lynching measures. They later moved on to filibustering more general civil-rights measures. The longest talking filibuster was delivered by Sen. Strom Thurmond in 1957 in opposition to some civil-rights legislation.
In fact, and somewhat ironically, it was precisely because the filibuster was such an effective tool for defending segregation, and because segregationists in turn became the filibuster’s staunchest defenders, that obstruction on other issues was relatively rare. Most senators didn’t want to legitimize Jim Crow’s favorite procedural tactic.
 

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As the Georgia Runoffs Arrive, a New Book Says the Senate Is Broken - The New York Times by Adam Jentleson
Jentleson explains how “the world’s greatest deliberative body” has come to carry out its work without much greatness or even deliberation, serving instead as a place where ambitious legislation goes to die.

... “The filibuster,” he writes, “has mainly served to empower a minority of predominantly white conservatives to override our democratic system when they found themselves outnumbered.”

...
Republicans eager to preserve the filibuster have talked about it with such reverence that it’s easy to forget it only appeared after all of the Constitution’s framers had died. Long-held norms against “superfluous debate” meant that even after the Senate got rid of a rule that limited debate in 1806, it was several decades before John C. Calhoun deigned to wield extended speechifying as a political tool, making high-minded appeals to the principle of minority rights.

Not just any minority, though. “Calhoun deployed his concern for the underdog only to help the overdog,” Jentleson writes. The South Carolina senator’s soaring rhetoric about minority rights revolved around protecting the interests of wealthy slavers in the South and their vision of white supremacy. It’s not for nothing that the historian Richard Hofstadter called Calhoun “the Marx of the Master Class.”
Whining about "the tyranny of the majority" as a way of defending the tyranny of their favorite minorities.
“In the 87 years between the end of Reconstruction and 1964,” Jentleson writes, “the only bills that were stopped by filibusters were civil rights bills.” No other issue seemed to motivate obstructionists in quite the same way. The story after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been different, Jentleson says, but no less detrimental to progressive causes. The modern Senate has become so efficient (in one sense of the word) and the filibuster so streamlined that senators seeking to block or delay legislation don’t have to bother with an actual speech; they can silently filibuster a bill, and as if that weren’t enough of an oxymoron, there’s even a “hotline” to do it.

“All you have to do is call the cloakroom, tell them the senator you work for intends to place a hold on the bill, and the bill is filibustered,” Jentleson writes. “One phone call, one objection, and the threshold on any bill or nomination goes from a majority to a supermajority.”
Just like that fake war in "A Taste of Armageddon".
Under the leadership of Mitch McConnell, Senate Republicans tried to block President Obama’s nominees “with unprecedented frequency,” Jentleson writes, and he offers the numbers to prove it. “All other presidents combined had endured a total of 82 filibusters against their nominees. But from 2009 to 2013, President Obama alone faced 86.”

In “Kill Switch,” McConnell is expressly portrayed as a 21st-century version of Calhoun — infinitely blander, less extravagantly fanatical but more coldly efficient.
This is someone who laughed when he recounted his success in obstructing the confirmation of President Obama's Supreme-Court pick Merrick Garland.

Peter Morley on Twitter: "WATCH: Mitch McConnell has the CREEPIEST laugh after he GLOATS about blocking President Obama's federal court nominees in the last two years of his presidency.

WOW. McConnell is so openly hypocritical. ENJOY it while it LASTS #MoscowMitch 😡💔 https://t.co/R0lqjhePJc" / Twitter


Mitch McConnell laughs at criticism over Congress Covid relief failure | US elections 2020 | The Guardian
 

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It seems crazy to me that, in a country that is so nearly evenly divided, with close Presidential elections being the norm, that we would think that 60 vote margins are a reasonable standard for legislative success. Hope I'm phrasing that coherently.
 

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With such a narrow majority in the senate, I don't think abolishing the filibuster entirely is realistic. Unfortunately.
 

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The Republican senators ended the filibuster for SC judges and since then the picks have been lackluster to full blown nuts.
 

lpetrich

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When Democrats filibustered some of George Bush II's judicial nominees, the Republicans threatened the "nuclear option", essentially abolishing the filibuster. The Democrats backed down.

Then during Obama's Presidency, the Republicans filibustered like crazy, and in 2014, the Democrats decided to abolish it for all appointees other than Supreme Court Justices. Then when Trump became President, the Republicans abolished it for Supreme Count Justices also. The filibuster only remains for legislation, and if the Republicans filibuster enough there, it may fall for that also.

I'd like to see "holds" abolished and a return to the old days of talking and talking and talking and talking and talking.
 

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Manchin would not be down with it.
 

Jayjay

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When Democrats filibustered some of George Bush II's judicial nominees, the Republicans threatened the "nuclear option", essentially abolishing the filibuster. The Democrats backed down.

Then during Obama's Presidency, the Republicans filibustered like crazy, and in 2014, the Democrats decided to abolish it for all appointees other than Supreme Court Justices. Then when Trump became President, the Republicans abolished it for Supreme Count Justices also. The filibuster only remains for legislation, and if the Republicans filibuster enough there, it may fall for that also.

I'd like to see "holds" abolished and a return to the old days of talking and talking and talking and talking and talking.

... and pissing in a bottle behind the podium, and talking, and talking...
 

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I hope Democrats do end it. They now have a majority in the Senate, and the House, and they hold the Presidency.

And if Democrats don't fucking end it when they have this opportunity, I never, ever want to hear any apologia again about not having 'total control' supermajorities.

And actual filibustering - endless talking on the Senate floor - is what needs to be ended, not just the threat of it. Democracy should not hinge on the physical stamina of loners.
 

blastula

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I hope Democrats do end it. They now have a majority in the Senate, and the House, and they hold the Presidency.

And if Democrats don't fucking end it when they have this opportunity, I never, ever want to hear any apologia again about not having 'total control' supermajorities.

And actual filibustering - endless talking on the Senate floor - is what needs to be ended, not just the threat of it. Democracy should not hinge on the physical stamina of loners.

See.

Manchin would not be down with it.
 

Metaphor

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I hope Democrats do end it. They now have a majority in the Senate, and the House, and they hold the Presidency.

And if Democrats don't fucking end it when they have this opportunity, I never, ever want to hear any apologia again about not having 'total control' supermajorities.

And actual filibustering - endless talking on the Senate floor - is what needs to be ended, not just the threat of it. Democracy should not hinge on the physical stamina of loners.

See.

Manchin would not be down with it.

So: they're not going to end it, and the endless bullshit will go on.
 

lpetrich

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The book:
Kill Switch | Adam Jentleson | W. W. Norton & Company - "The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy"

Ro Khanna on Twitter: "One of the truths we should tell is that the filibuster was the brainchild of John C Calhoun, a father of the Confederacy, to protect slave states. Doing away with the filibuster is a moral issue, not just a practical one. Check out @AJentleson book as well." / Twitter
then
Adam Jentleson 🎈 on Twitter: "@RoKhanna Thanks Congressman. It’s true, the filibuster was not invented until after the Framers had all passed away. They (including Madison) warned against giving a minority veto power. Calhoun reshaped the Senate to boost the power of reactionaries. For more: (link)" / Twitter

Kill the Senate Filibuster or Watch Biden’s Agenda Die
With this nice tidbit:
I didn’t realize that the positions of majority leader and minority leader came so recently in historical terms. How has the Senate evolved in the last hundred years?

The Senate created those two positions because the institution was growing and finding its workload expanding dramatically. From the time the Senate was created in 1789 until the 1920s, it didn’t have leaders. It was generally organized by party, and the committee chairs controlled what bills were reported out and made it to the floor. The number of senators grew as more states were added, and the parties wanted to have a caucus secretary who would keep track of things but not really exercise control over bills.
The Senate has a position comparable to House Speaker: the President pro tempore. But the Majority Leader has emerged as the de facto leadeer, and a co-prime minister along with the House Speaker.
Today’s Senate doesn’t have deliberation. I don’t mean that in a cynical way, but the Majority Leader and Minority Leader make the important decisions. Senators are not going to the floor to convince anyone to change their mind.

That’s exactly right. The two main forces that have shaped the Senate are the rise of the filibuster and the rise of a top-down leadership structure. It’s the combination of those two things that’s what is really suffocating the Senate. People think of the filibuster as Jimmy Stewart talking for hours in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but that’s not today’s filibuster.
It's a Taste of Armageddon filibuster: putting in a hold.
 

lpetrich

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So if the Senate eliminates the filibuster, when would that likely happen?

It would happen when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object, when Democrats have a bill they absolutely want to pass and Republicans are absolutely opposed. Where I think that’s likely to happen is civil rights and voting rights, which could involve D.C. statehood. If Democrats don’t do this, you would rightly be able to judge the Biden administration a failure. It has to happen.
I agree. That may require some arm-twisting of some of their more conservative members of their Senate delegation.

At the very least, they should restore the original form and put an end to those Taste-of-Armageddon holds.
Aren’t the Senate Republicans motivated toward less aggressive obstruction to avoid the Democrats completely eliminating the filibuster?

They may try to cooperate on a small number of issues and maximize the credit they get for that toward a narrative of bipartisanship, but the political reality is that Republicans would benefit in the 2022 midterm elections by making the Democrats fail. That’s what drove their obstruction against President Obama, and retaking the Senate in the 2022 midterms will quickly become their top priority.
 

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5 ideas for Senate filibuster reform Biden and Manchin could get behind - Vox

1) The “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” rule

The Good Old Days of talking and talking and talking.

2) 41 to block, instead of 60 to pass

3) More exceptions to the filibuster rule

4) Overcome the filibuster with a vote in two Congresses

Something can be passed if it gets a simple majority over two individual Congresses, as they are called. The current one is the 117th, and the one that just ended is the 116th one.

5) Lower the filibuster threshold

To 60 or 55.
 

lpetrich

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More Democratic politicians are turning against the filibuster, because it has made Congress a  Polish parliament (expression), much like what the  liberum veto had done to Poland's early-modern parliament. From that Wikipedia article,
"Polish parliament" is an expression referring to the historical Polish parliaments (Sejm walny).[1] It implies chaos and general disorder, and that no real decision can be reached during sessions.

Every single member of the Polish parliament during the 17th and 18th century had an absolute veto (Latin: liberum veto); as a result, legislation could only be passed unanimously. Originally, the procedure was used for technical issues such as points of order, but as diverging interests discovered they could disrupt their opponents' agenda singlehandedly, the process came to be abused. Today, the expression is mostly used to describe an assembly that is too easy for minorities or individuals to disrupt and/or has too many parties present for meaningful and orderly debate and decision-making to take place.
Then noting versions of "Polish parliament" in several European languages.

Poland's neighbors conquered that nation over the late 18th cy. in the  Partitions of Poland - Poland disappeared off the map in 1795, and did not become independent again until after WWI.
 

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Pramila Jayapal on Twitter: "What will end up in McConnell’s legislative graveyard?

🪦 The Equality Act
🪦 HR1 and voting rights
🪦 Justice in Policing Act
🪦 Climate action
🪦 Immigration reform
🪦 Equal pay and paid leave

And much, much more. The only path forward for our agenda is to end the filibuster." / Twitter


More Democrats Join Effort to Abolish the Filibuster - The New York Times
A growing number of Senate Democrats are warming to the idea of eliminating the filibuster as they encounter Republican resistance to President Biden’s legislative agenda, forcing the White House to cut deals on issues like the minimum wage and pandemic relief payments.

Under Senate rules, 60 votes are required to end debate on major bills. Opponents want to do away with that preliminary hurdle, which has been used by both parties as a tactic to stymie contentious legislation, and allow proposals to pass with the simple majority of 51 votes required when all senators are present.
The House Passes a Major Voting Rights Bill—and Creates a Helluva Battle in the Senate – Mother Jones
Nearly identical legislation passed the House in March 2019, but it was blocked in the Senate by then–Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who called it a “power grab” for Democrats. It has become an increasingly urgent priority for Democrats this year, following Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, the insurrection at the Capitol, and the wave of GOP-backed proposals to restrict voting rights in key states, such as Georgia. The GOP wish list includes rolling back mail-in voting, restricting ballot drop boxes, limiting early voting, and repealing automatic voter registration.
HR1 is unlikely to get any Republican votes in the Senate, let alone the 10 that would be necessary to overcome a filibuster.
And Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a chief sponsor of the voting rights legislation, tells me she supports killing the filibuster to pass this legislation.

“I would get rid of the filibuster,” Klobuchar says. “I have favored filibuster reform for a long time and now especially for this critical election bill.”

In the past, Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, has indicated she was open to eliminating the filibuster, but these comments to Mother Jones are her most definitive statement to date.
Her fellow MN Senator:
Senator Tina Smith on Twitter: "I’ve made up my mind.

We need to move this country forward, and that’s why I’ve decided to come out in support of eliminating the filibuster." / Twitter


Senator Tina Smith on Twitter: "The Senate needs to abolish the filibuster. It’s undemocratic. I’ve spent a long time thinking about this and I hope you read my thoughts: (link)" / Twitter
Noting
U.S. Senator Tina Smith - Posts | Facebook
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, and to be honest I started out believing we should keep the filibuster. Without it, I reasoned, what would stop a conservative president and Congress from doing terrible damage to women’s health care, voting rights and civil rights. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the filibuster has long been the enemy of progress. In fact, it’s been a highly effective tool to thwart the will of the people.
Sen. Tina Smith supports ending filibuster - StarTribune.com
"I believe that the filibuster should be abolished in all cases, not just for any particular piece of legislation," Smith said. "We have already abolished the filibuster for judicial nominations and the Supreme Court, and to me this is a very important step that we need to take in order to make sure that the Senate can function and can do the work that we need to do."
 

ZiprHead

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Where in the Constitution is the filibuster in any form or name mentioned?

Alexander Hamilton described supermajorities as detrimental in Federalist 22.
 

Rhea

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I like this idea of 40 (or 41) to stop instead of 60 to go. I've seen it discussed elsewhere and I think it is more conducive to compromise and productivity.

I also like the two congresses to pass idea. That is seen in some state legislatures and works well there, too.
 

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I like this idea of 40 (or 41) to stop instead of 60 to go. I've seen it discussed elsewhere and I think it is more conducive to compromise and productivity.


In principle that is true, but in practice it is not.

It effectively gives more power to even fewer people. Already it is true that the Republican/conservative side of the population is over-represented in the Senate, and effectively giving 40 senators as much power as 60 makes it even more lopsided. So much for "democracy".
 

Rhea

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I like this idea of 40 (or 41) to stop instead of 60 to go. I've seen it discussed elsewhere and I think it is more conducive to compromise and productivity.


In principle that is true, but in practice it is not.

It effectively gives more power to even fewer people. Already it is true that the Republican/conservative side of the population is over-represented in the Senate, and effectively giving 40 senators as much power as 60 makes it even more lopsided. So much for "democracy".

Currently it only takes one to filibuster, and even if they are the only one, they get to force the opposition to come up with 60 to stop it.
I feel this proposal forces the disrupters to come up with 40 who will stand in front of a camera and say, 'I'm with them," to start the disruption.

I feel that is less power to the disrupters. What am I missing?
 

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I like this idea of 40 (or 41) to stop instead of 60 to go. I've seen it discussed elsewhere and I think it is more conducive to compromise and productivity.


In principle that is true, but in practice it is not.

It effectively gives more power to even fewer people. Already it is true that the Republican/conservative side of the population is over-represented in the Senate, and effectively giving 40 senators as much power as 60 makes it even more lopsided. So much for "democracy".

Currently it only takes one to filibuster, and even if they are the only one, they get to force the opposition to come up with 60 to stop it.
I feel this proposal forces the disrupters to come up with 40 who will stand in front of a camera and say, 'I'm with them," to start the disruption.

I feel that is less power to the disrupters. What am I missing?
Ok. Sorry. I may not have realized what you are referring to. If the idea is that the filibuster stays but only if you can get 49 senators to openly back the idea on the record then it is indeed better than a single senator gumming up the works.

But it still can prevent actual compromise from happening.
 

Rhea

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Currently it only takes one to filibuster, and even if they are the only one, they get to force the opposition to come up with 60 to stop it.
I feel this proposal forces the disrupters to come up with 40 who will stand in front of a camera and say, 'I'm with them," to start the disruption.

I feel that is less power to the disrupters. What am I missing?
Ok. Sorry. I may not have realized what you are referring to. If the idea is that the filibuster stays but only if you can get 49 senators to openly back the idea on the record then it is indeed better than a single senator gumming up the works.

But it still can prevent actual compromise from happening.

Yes, we agree.
I am behind this on the assumptions that we can't muster enough votes to get rid of the filibuster, but we CAN change it to force it to do the things they claim it was intended to do while preventing it from being able to do the things that it was never intended to do.

The 40 not 60 plan says basically, we don't need to muster up sixty votes to STOP your filibuster until you muster up 40 votes on the record to START it.
 

Shadowy Man

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Currently it only takes one to filibuster, and even if they are the only one, they get to force the opposition to come up with 60 to stop it.
I feel this proposal forces the disrupters to come up with 40 who will stand in front of a camera and say, 'I'm with them," to start the disruption.

I feel that is less power to the disrupters. What am I missing?
Ok. Sorry. I may not have realized what you are referring to. If the idea is that the filibuster stays but only if you can get 49 senators to openly back the idea on the record then it is indeed better than a single senator gumming up the works.

But it still can prevent actual compromise from happening.

Yes, we agree.
I am behind this on the assumptions that we can't muster enough votes to get rid of the filibuster, but we CAN change it to force it to do the things they claim it was intended to do while preventing it from being able to do the things that it was never intended to do.

The 40 not 60 plan says basically, we don't need to muster up sixty votes to STOP your filibuster until you muster up 40 votes on the record to START it.
I think that’s a good idea. My “49” was a typo.
 

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Democrats confront a harsh political choice: Save the filibuster or pass Biden's agenda
The Republican "epiphany" he hoped for hasn't materialized. And many of his big plans are headed for a dead end in the Senate.

President Joe Biden is waking up to a haunting new reality that will test his determination to pass his legislative agenda, as progressives in the Democratic Party say prospects for bipartisanship are bleak and instead agitate to end Republicans' power to block bills.

...
Republicans say Biden is barely trying to work with them. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who isn't running for re-election, laughed when he was asked about cooperation with Biden, saying, "We're yet to see any reach-out on his part."

Democrats expect Biden to make a more concerted effort to find common ground with Republicans after the relief bill. But some say it's a fool's errand that will waste time they can't lose.
The Republicans are likely getting ready to do to Biden what they did to Obama over his presidency -- obstruct him and call him a left-wing extremist.

Biden predicted a GOP 'epiphany' after the election. Trump's standing in the way. - datelined Nov. 26, 2020
Some Democrats worry the president-elect's talk of bipartisanship sets him up for failure.

President-elect Joe Biden predicted that Republicans would have an "epiphany" after President Donald Trump lost. Three weeks after the election, there's no sign of it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., still hasn't acknowledged Biden as president-elect. And, like most Republicans, he hasn't condemned Trump's unprecedented attempts to overturn the will of the voters.
MMC eventually did, after the Electoral College members voted.
 

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Democrats confront a harsh political choice: Save the filibuster or pass Biden's agenda

About Kyrsten Sinema,
Sinema, who became a senator in 2019, said in a letter to a constituent that preserving the filibuster "is not meant to impede the things we want to get done."

"I support the 60-vote threshold for all Senate actions," Sinema wrote in the letter, which was dated Feb. 12 and obtained by NBC News. "Debate on bills should be a bipartisan process that takes into account the views of all Americans, not just those of one political party. Regardless of the party in control of the Senate, respecting the opinions of senators from the minority party will result in better, commonsense legislation."
Panglossian nonsense.

She has seen what obstructionists the Republicans have been over Obama's Presidency.

Pressures grows on Biden to take on the filibuster - The Washington Post
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), also a moderate, told The Washington Post he could envision the Senate changing the filibuster if bills are floundering. “We’ve got to figure out whether leadership on both sides wants to have obstruction or if they want to come together and try to get some things done,” Tester said.

Murshed Zaheed on Twitter: "🚨🚨🚨 in last few days - first it was Sen. Klobuchar, then it was Sen. Smith, and now Sen. Stabenow is speaking out to end the filibuster. It’s inevitable- hope Schumer gets it done sooner rather than later ↘️" / Twitter
noting
Hugo Lowell on Twitter: "New: Senate Dem Debbie Stabenow says Dems now need to have a serious discussion about nuking the filibuster — “there are really important things like voting rights that can’t be done through reconciliation.”" / Twitter
 

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I think a doable and reasonable compromise is to end the procedural filibuster (which is basically a threat to filibuster) and allow the traditional filibuster (i.e. make someone actually do the work).
 

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I think a doable and reasonable compromise is to end the procedural filibuster (which is basically a threat to filibuster) and allow the traditional filibuster (i.e. make someone actually do the work).

You think compromise with republicans is possible? The democrats have been watering down legislation to "compromise" with republicans for years then never get one republican vote. Fuck the filibuster.
 

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I think a doable and reasonable compromise is to end the procedural filibuster (which is basically a threat to filibuster) and allow the traditional filibuster (i.e. make someone actually do the work).
Yes, that would be good. Not as good as ending it outright, but it will still eliminate the "Taste of Armageddon" filibuster.
 

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I think a doable and reasonable compromise is to end the procedural filibuster (which is basically a threat to filibuster) and allow the traditional filibuster (i.e. make someone actually do the work).

You think compromise with republicans is possible? The democrats have been watering down legislation to "compromise" with republicans for years then never get one republican vote. Fuck the filibuster.

Exactly. The Republicans have shown they are completely unwilling to compromise these days. Until they start behaving they should be marginalized.
 

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While the filibuster should be abolished, the dems have a razor thin majority to make that call. Every Democratic senator, the two independents, and the VP would need to be on board. I doubt any Republicans would vote for the rule change.
 

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I think a doable and reasonable compromise is to end the procedural filibuster (which is basically a threat to filibuster) and allow the traditional filibuster (i.e. make someone actually do the work).
Yes, that would be good. Not as good as ending it outright, but it will still eliminate the "Taste of Armageddon" filibuster.
That compromise is simply returning to the original form and use of the filibuster. It may be the case that there are 10 Republican senators who are willing to return to the old ways (i.e. be real conservatives).
 

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I'd like to end the filibuster and replace it with holding your breath until you pass out. A more fitting exercise befitting our childish bickering slap fighting members of Congress.

I'd also add hitting each other with foam bats and calling each other names.
 

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Ilhan Omar on Twitter: "The filibuster is the reason we can’t pass:

-Marijuana legalization
-Democracy reform
-DC statehood
-The Equality Act
-The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
-A $15 minimum wage
-Gun safety reform
-Prescription drug reform
-Immigration reform

It is strangling our democracy." / Twitter


Manchin wants to make filibuster 'painful' to use - POLITICO
The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful and we've made it more comfortable over the years,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Maybe it has to be more painful.”

Manchin (D-W.Va.) has previously supported efforts to require senators to filibuster by talking on the chamber floor in order to hold up a bill, an idea he raised on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk,” Manchin said. “I'm willing to look at any way we can, but I'm not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.”

...
Implementing the so-called “talking filibuster” appeared to strike a cord with Brian Fallon, executive director the the group Demand Justice and a onetime spokesperson for now-Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who tweeted that it had the potential to be the “ultimate solution here.”

“It preserves some ability for the minority to slow a bill as long as they physically hold the floor, but then allows an up-or-down vote once they give up. This is the Jimmy Stewart model,” he wrote, a reference to the 1939 movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
That's what I'd like to see. I'd also like to see cloture votes require only a majority if the filibuster lasts long enough.
 

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I have decided to hereafter refer to the filibuster as the "unconstitutional filibuster".
 

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Anything that comes to the floor for a vote should get an up down vote without delays.

The recent reading of COVID bill was silly.
 

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McConnell offers scathing 'scorched earth' filibuster warning | TheHill
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) offered a scathing warning to Democrats on Tuesday, amid growing pressure to nix the legislative filibuster.

“Let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues: Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin, can even begin, to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like,” McConnell said.

He added that in a chamber that functions on a day-to-day basis by consent, meaning all senators sign off on an action, "I want our colleagues to imagine a world where every single task, every one of them, requires a physical quorum."
He just described his obstructionism in the previous Congress and in Obama's Presidency.
But, in a warning shot to Democrats, he outlined a laundry list of conservative policies that could pass the next time Republicans control the chamber: Defunding Planned Parenthood and so-called "sanctuary cities," anti-abortion legislation and nationwide concealed carry reciprocity.

"So the pendulum ... would swing both ways, and it would swing hard," he added.
 

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McConnell Warns Democrats to Keep Filibuster - The New York Times
“Everything that Democratic Senates did to Presidents Bush and Trump, everything the Republican Senate did to President Obama, would be child’s play compared to the disaster that Democrats would create for their own priorities if — if — they break the Senate,” said Mr. McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader. “The most mundane task of the Biden presidency would actually be harder — harder, not easier — for Democrats in a post-nuclear Senate.”
Senator Richard Durbin D-IL, the #2 Democrat in the Senate:
“Today’s filibusters have turned the world’s most deliberative body into one of the world’s most ineffectual bodies,” said Mr. Durbin, who said the burden should be on opponents of legislation to maintain a filibuster rather than on supporters to produce 60 votes to advance it. “If a senator insists on blocking the will of the Senate, he or she should have to pay some minimal price of being present. No more phoning it in. If your principles are that important, stand up for them, speak your mind, hold the floor, and show your resolve.”
Senators often bypass their organization's rules by unanimous consent, and MMC is claiming that Republicans could obstruct by requiring votes on everything.
“Let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues,” Mr. McConnell said. “Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin — can even begin — to imagine what a completely scorched earth Senate would look like. None of us have served one minute in a Senate that was completely drained of comity, and this is an institution that requires unanimous consent to turn the lights on before noon.”
Or do stunts like have the clerks read a complete bill, as Ron Johnson did with the recent aid bill.

Last year, AOC did something similar with her Green New Deal resolution. But unlike Sen. Johnson, she read it herself.
 

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Senators often bypass their organization's rules by unanimous consent, and MMC is claiming that Republicans could obstruct by requiring votes on everything.
Christ, Mitch is my Aunt Gayle in Drag.
"Lrt me obstruct by filibuster or I'll show you what real obstruction is!"
 

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Turtle sez ending the filibuster would further divide the senate?
How much more divided does he think it can get? The Republinazi's can't muster one single vote for a rescue bill that has 70% public bipartisan support.
Fuck him. Dems should run roughshod over these insurrectionist autocrats before they regain a toehold.
 

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I'm guessing the Democrats have not ended the filibuster yet and don't plan to do so.
 
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