Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Kill the filibuster

There's no custom that Republicans won't abuse if it advantages them:

President Obama is correct. There were 39 cloture votes last year, nine more than the combined total for 1949-1970.
The filibuster was built for extremity. The comity of the Senate was supposed to make the filibuster a little-used last resort. Extreme Republicans now view any legislation they disagree with as an extreme case.

CNN is technically correct with this:
Starting with the 92nd Congress (1971-72), cloture votes became more frequent. Part of that can be explained by the fact that the Senate changed the required majority in 1975, making it easier to induce cloture.
The change was from two thirds to a flat 60 votes.

But CNN's interpretation of the ease of voting cloture is backwards. Requiring a two thirds cloture vote makes the filibuster more powerful, so we're all counting the wrong thing.

We should be counting how many bills and amendments never got voted on because they couldn't muster a supermajority.

1 comment:

Mikhail Silverwood said...

I have to wonder: what would happen if the Democrats had 64 senators. There are a super majority even without Lieberman.

Surely then, with a rubber stamp at his disposal, Obama would cut the crap of bipartisanship and say, 'I'm making these laws. Either you vote for me or you'll become irrelevant.'