Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Americans Favor Ending the Filibuster

I thought this was the case, but now there’s support for that opinion.
gop-no One of the greatest obstacles to passing progressive legislation in Congress has been the use of the filibuster in the Senate. With upwards of “40 cloture votes since the start of the 111th Congress in January, this Senate is on pace to record the second-largest number of filibuster roll calls,” transforming what was intended to be a seldom-used procedural tactic into an all-out tool for obstructionism. Now, a new CBS/New York Times poll finds that more Americans support ending the filibuster and requiring legislation to pass by a simple majority:
As you may know, the Senate operates under procedures that effectively require 60 votes, out of 100, for most legislation to pass, allowing a minority of as few as 41 senators to block a majority. Do you think this procedure should remain in place, or do you think it should be changed so that legislation is passed with a simple majority?
Should remain 44
Should be changed 50
[Don't Know] 6
Changing the filibuster would not be without precedent. In 1975, the filibuster threshold was lowered from 67 to 60… [emphasis original]
Inserted from <Think Progress>
When I’m wrong, I say so.  Please accept my apology.  I have previously reported that there are three ways to end the filibuster: by rule change (67 votes), by statute (60 votes)and by changing the rule on the first day of a new session (51 votes).  Chris Hayes explained the nuclear option on Rachel Maddow’s show.  I had previously misunderstood it.
So if a Senator raises a point of order that the filibuster is unconstitutional, and if the President of the Senate (VP Biden) concurs, the Democrats could end it today with 51 votes.  With that in mind, how should we handle those GOP filibastards?



the walking man said...


The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided" (U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 3). Since 1789, 244 tie-breaking votes have been cast.


The key then according to the above is to ensure that exactly enough democrats join the redudlicans to ensure that Biden does in fact get a vote or am I misunderstanding this?

Lisa G. said...

I think you're right WM - if the vote is a tie (50-50), the VP can break it.

I think we could get the 51 votes though, so this wouldn't be an issue. I wish Grayson were in the Senate (and that I lived in Florida just long enough to vote for him) because he would have already proposed this. A one page piece of legislation saying the filibuster is unconstitutional (after all there is nothing in the Constitution regarding it, it is just a Senate procedural rule) and be done with it.

And TC - we were all confused on this, so don't blame yourself. I was too lazy to look it up myself, but I think Chris Hayes did a marvelous job of explaining it in plain English.

TomCat said...

Mark and Lisa, although the VP has no vote unless there is a tie, he is the presiding officer of the Senate. As such, it would fall to him to whether or not the point of order (that the filibuster is unconstitutional) is in order. If he concurs, then in goes to a vote requiring 51 votes or more (including Biden's if it's a 50-50 tie) to uphold the point of order, end the filibuster, and put the filibastards in their place.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

I really like the sign! LOL It just seems that nothing is getting done, and yet, in the White House, a great deal has actually been done. It's the Senate and House that holding the country back from prosperity and healing.

TomCat said...

Feel free to steal it, Gwen. I made it myself. I agree.