Filibuster reform: "Looks like it’s on."


Half of the 2013 Senate now supports some form of filibuster reform, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that in the next session of Congress he’d push for rules to break the obstructive GOP filibuster habit.

But what would it look like? That's the persistent question. One proposal is the “talking filibuster,” meaning Senators would have to actually get up and actually talk instead of just threatening to block. Harry Reid is willing to get rid of the “motion to proceed”; Per Greg Sargent, “you’d no longer need 60 votes just to debate a bill. That would force debate into the light of day, rather than allowing Senators to procedurally execute bills in the dark of night.”

Some effective filibuster reform would be one way to block all that GOP blocking and it's long overdue.

Here are a few myths that need busting...

Via Ezra Klein's Mitch McConnell’s five biggest whoppers on the filibuster:

[T]he filibuster was not designed by the founding fathers, it has not been sacrosanct throughout the long history of the Senate, and its use today is not in any way comparable to its use 50 years ago. The biggest problem with McConnell’s statements wasn’t what he said so much as what he left out; namely, this graph, which shows the way the filibuster has gone from a rarely invoked minority protection to a constantly wielded supermajority requirement.

Greg Sargent:

Filibuster reform would not do away with the minority’s ability to filibuster. The “talking filibuster” reform and the nixing of the filibuster on the motion to proceed would only make it harder to use procedural tactics, under cover of darkness, for the explicit purpose of stalling the Upper Chamber’s business. The minority would still be able to block the will of a simple majority on the vote to end debate. These are not very meaningful restrictions on the “rights” of the minority. At any rate, now that Reid has made such a vocal push, it’s hard to imagine that Dems won’t move forward on day one of the new session to change the rules with a simple majority vote. Looks like it’s on.