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Filibuster reform but without a "talking filibuster"

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Alexander Bolton, The Hill, January 22, 2013: Reid to lay out plans for filibuster reform

    "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will present colleagues with options for reforming the Senate’s filibuster rules in a Democratic Caucus meeting Tuesday."

    For those that were hoping for a talking filibuster, that seems to be off the table.

    Reid is instead focusing on a proposal to tweak the filibuster rule by "requiring the minority party to muster 41 votes to stall a bill or nominee. Under current rules, the responsibility is on the majority to round up 60 votes to end a filibuster."

    Reid also wants to reduce delays to motions to begin debate on new business and motions to send legislation to conference talks with the House.

    We'll know more later in the day.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    The use of the filibuster in the modern Senate has is one of the single greatest things that has prevented our country from governing effectively. The original intent of the filibuster has been thrown to the side and has instead become the means for the minority party to block all pieces of legislation. There is absolutely nothing in our Constitution that allows this, but is instead in the Senate rules. I think the main reason that Mr. Reid is so hesitant to pursue "real" filibuster changes is because he is looking at the 2014 map and the real possibility that the Senate Democrats will lose their majority. Mid-term elections (as we saw in 2010) tend to tilt towards the party that is not occupying the White House. I wish he did pursue genuine change, for the good of the country. There is no reason why we can't have a talking filibuster. If a Senator doesn't agree with a piece of legislation, then they should stand up and say so and not be able to hide behind the "silent filibuster." I wish that Mr. Reid would stand up and demand genuine change, but I agree that it looks like it'll just be more of the same coming from our Senate for the foreseeable future.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    According to the Huffington Post:

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday afternoon,

    "I hope that within the next 24 to 36 hours we can get something we agree on. If not, we're going to move forward on what I think needs to be done," Reid told reporters. "The caucus will support me on that," he added.

    He specified that he has the 51 votes he needs to proceed on a Democratic plan, indicating he's willing to pursue the "constitutional option" of changing the rules without the usual two-thirds vote. Previously, a number of senior Democrats had professed reluctance to change the rules with a simple majority, saying they feared it would set a dangerous precedent. Opponents have called the tactic the "nuclear option."


    In the meantime, Harry Reid will recess the Senate for the day:

    "It is my intention that the Senate will recess today, rather than adjourn, to continue the same legislative day, and allow this important rules discussion to continue."

    This is a bit of a gimmick. The Senate can change its procedural rules only on the first legislative day of the Senate, but if the Senate is in recess instead of adjournment for the day, technically it can make it's "first day" last for weeks. I suppose that gimmick will come to an end tomorrow now if Reid goes ahead with his "constitutional option" and is not bluffing.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    In any case, I don't know how much difference a filibuster rule change will make in the next two years. Any legislation passed in the Senate will die in the Republican controlled House. When we needed it was in 2009.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Schmidt Wrote: In any case, I don't know how much difference a filibuster rule change will make in the next two years. Any legislation passed in the Senate will die in the Republican controlled House. When we needed it was in 2009.
    I whole heartily agree with you, Schmidt. I really wish that Senator Reid tried to push through some changes to it after the 2008 election and they realized that the Republicans were going to filibuster everything under the sun.

    With regards to the House--I have some real hope that President Obama is done playing nice guy and will use his bully pulpit to convince America that his vision is what's best for our society moving forward. All he has to do is look back at the great President's that had to deal with a Congress that wasn't going along with their vision. If he can channel Teddy, Franklin, or even Reagan (however much that pains me to say), then I think he can get the public to force Congress to go along. If his 2nd inaugural is any prequel of the things to come, then I'm very optimistic about the next four years. I'm ready for a President that's going to fight for what he wants.