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Author Topic:   Should We Get Rid of the Filibuster?
Posts: 8409
Joined: 03-06-2009
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Message 1 of 8 (855289)
06-18-2019 11:52 AM

Vox has a good video on the history of the filibuster, and reasons why we should get rid of it:


A bit of background for those who choose not to watch the video. In the US Senate it takes 60 votes in the Senate for a bill to be brought to a final vote. This allows a minimum of 41 senators to block any legislation that comes to the Senate. There are some bills and confirmations that are exempt from this rule, and the rule itself has changed over time. It is also worth mentioning that the filibuster has not always been a part of the Senate rules, and the filibuster was completely removed from the House of Representative rules back in the 19th century.

However, the real question is why we should allow a minority group to block the voice of the majority in a democracy. Should the filibuster be removed entirely from the US Senate? Are there any other rules that should be changed or removed entirely?

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Chiroptera, posted 06-18-2019 1:03 PM Taq has not yet responded
 Message 4 by Hyroglyphx, posted 06-18-2019 2:52 PM Taq has responded
 Message 6 by Minnemooseus, posted 06-18-2019 9:13 PM Taq has not yet responded

Posts: 8409
Joined: 03-06-2009
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Message 5 of 8 (855306)
06-18-2019 3:53 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Hyroglyphx
06-18-2019 2:52 PM

Hyroglyphx writes:

As it stands, a filibuster is often the only thing preventing sitting presidents from waging totalitarian and unopposed rule.

The President can't pass laws. He needs the cooperation of the other two branches, one to pass the laws and the other to deem them constitutional when challenged.

Also, the whole "majority rule" is also terribly flawed... as is the problem of Direct Democracy, or as some have termed it, "Mob Rule." The adage Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for dinner rings true in this instance.

That's what the constitutionally protected rights are there for.

BUT . . . I get where you are coming from. The argument for the filibuster is that it prevents wild swings between party ideologies. The counter-argument is that voters don't care as much about the policy positions of the people they vote for because very few of those policies are going to be put into action. If there was a real consequence to who is elected, perhaps candidates would lean towards more centrist policies and voters would pay more attention to what affects them.

But your point that its problematic is certainly substantiated. I'm just not sure that the alternative is better.

The best example I can think of is the Republican led Senate vote on health care that eventually fell through. The bill was exempt from filibuster, and Republicans had the members to pass it. Republicans had been ranting up and down about repealing Obamacare, and here they were with the chance to do it. They couldn't get the votes. Suddenly, it wasn't just rhetoric. There were real consequences to taking away a program that supplied millions of people with health insurance, and they just couldn't do it.

Edited by Taq, : No reason given.

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 Message 4 by Hyroglyphx, posted 06-18-2019 2:52 PM Hyroglyphx has not yet responded

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Message 8 of 8 (855430)
06-19-2019 4:55 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Tanypteryx
06-18-2019 9:39 PM

Re: Filebuster away, but you have to do the talking
Tanypteryx writes:

So is the rule that 60 votes in the Senate can override a filibuster?

Going from memory without rewatching the video, here is a brief history.

1. No filibuster rules.

2. Introduction of filibuster rules. Senators can endlessly debate a bill, thereby killing it. However a 2/3 majority can vote to end debate and force a vote on the bill. This is how Strom Thurmond famously killed one of the Civil Rights bills.

3. Same rules, but threshold lowered to 60 votes to end debate.

4. Eliminated the requirement for debate, and now it simply requires 60 senators to approve a vote on the bill.

In the current system, 41 senators can prevent a bill from ever being voted on without the need long winded debate.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Tanypteryx, posted 06-18-2019 9:39 PM Tanypteryx has acknowledged this reply

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