Filibuster Reform: Harry and Mitch Duke It Out

harry reid

Bremt Budowsky: Mitch McConnell should offer a bipartisan proposal to reform the filibuster rules by mutual agreement, in line with the historical precedents of the Senate, without forcing Democrats to resort to the “nuclear option.”

Filibuster Reform Dies a Quiet Death

Congress

Paul Hogarth: By a slim vote of 46-49 on Thursday, the U.S. Senate defeated a proposal by Jeff Merkley (D-OR) to actually require filibusters (as opposed to mere filibuster threats) before a 60-vote threshold is needed to end debate.

The Founders Cared about the Majority Principle

james madison

Joyce Appleby: Senators are pondering partial reform of the filibuster, which is now routinely used to block Senate action. Historian Joyce Appleby suggests that if they want to bring the Senate in line with the founders’ original intent they might follow the lead of the Tea Party and go back to the beginning. In its early decades the U.S. Senate operated on the simple majority principle: no supermajorities, no filibusters.

The Urgency of a Senate Rule Change

senate gridlock

Joyce Appleby: More than 300 historians, political scientists, and law profs from colleges and universities throughout the country have signed a petition calling upon their Senators “to restore majority rule to the United States Senate by revising the rules that now require the concurrence of 60 members before legislation can be brought to the floor.”

Reconciliation Is Conventional, Not Nuclear

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia)

Richard M. Mathews: With the death of the public option in the Senate version of the health care reform bill, more attention is being paid to the budget reconciliation process. The House-Senate conference could bring back the public option, but a filibuster could still kill it. The reconciliation process would allow the bill to pass with a simple majority of 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

An Open Letter to Harry Reid

Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada)

Dear Senator Reid, or more precisely, Dear Senate Majority Leader Reid, Since this is an open letter I will, by necessity, include several definitions and explanations of Senate rules. There are many arcane procedures used by the Senate that complicates our understanding of how things get done or more importantly how things don’t get done [...]

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