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Author Topic:   Should We Get Rid of the Filibuster?
Taq
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Posts: 7971
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.6


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:

https://www.vox.com/...8681798/filibuster-senate-broke-video

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:
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Chiroptera
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Posts: 6693
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 2 of 8 (855291)
06-18-2019 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Taq
06-18-2019 11:52 AM


I have always opposed the idea of the filibuster. Not only does it violate the fundamental principle of "majority rule ", but in this age of hyperpartisan politics all it does is prevent necessary legislation and, as was apparent during the Obama administration, gives too much power to the executive branch.

I suppose one could argue that in the case of lifelong tenure of judges, it would make sense in judicial appointments to ensure the judicial nominees enjoy a broad consensus of support. But notice it is the Republicans who removed the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments.

If the Democrats take control of the Senate, they should finally complete the process and remove the filibuster for ordinary legislation.


It says something about the qualities of our current president that the best argument anyone has made in his defense is that he didn’t know what he was talking about. -- Paul Krugman

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Tanypteryx
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From: Oregon, USA
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Member Rating: 5.3


Message 3 of 8 (855292)
06-18-2019 1:09 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Chiroptera
06-18-2019 1:03 PM


as was apparent during the Obama administration, gives too much power to the executive branch.

Did you really mean legislative branch here?


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


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Hyroglyphx
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From: Austin, TX
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Message 4 of 8 (855298)
06-18-2019 2:52 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Taq
06-18-2019 11:52 AM


the real question is why we should allow a minority group to block the voice of the majority in a democracy.

I suppose another good question is whether or not the concept of a president is still a good idea in this day and age. As it stands, a filibuster is often the only thing preventing sitting presidents from waging totalitarian and unopposed rule.

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.

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


"Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it" -- Thomas Paine

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Taq
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Posts: 7971
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.6


(1)
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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Minnemooseus
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From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
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(1)
Message 6 of 8 (855370)
06-18-2019 9:13 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Taq
06-18-2019 11:52 AM


Filebuster away, but you have to do the talking
My understanding of the filibuster is that it is essentially unlimited debate on a bill. A Senator (or series of Senators) can get the floor an talk until they drop. It has been termed "talking a bill to death".

It seem that the system is now that a Senator can declare a filibuster, but not actually have to do the talking part. Unless the bulk of the Senate votes to terminate debate, it seems an individual Senator can kill a bill. One thought is, yes you can do a filibuster, but you have to do the talking part.

Moose


Professor, geology, Whatsamatta U
Evolution - Changes in the environment, caused by the interactions of the components of the environment.

"Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer." - Bruce Graham

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." - John Kenneth Galbraith

"Yesterday on Fox News, commentator Glenn Beck said that he believes President Obama is a racist. To be fair, every time you watch Glenn Beck, it does get a little easier to hate white people." - Conan O'Brien

"Politics is not the art of the possible. It consistts in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable." - John Kenneth Galbraith

"I know a little about a lot of things, and a lot about a few things, but I'm highly ignorant about everything." - Moose


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Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 2250
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 7 of 8 (855373)
06-18-2019 9:39 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Minnemooseus
06-18-2019 9:13 PM


Re: Filebuster away, but you have to do the talking
I thought the one guy has to do all the talking. I seem to remember a movie, with Jimmie Stewart playing a congressman, maybe Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, where he talks until he drops.

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


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Minnemooseus, posted 06-18-2019 9:13 PM Minnemooseus has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 7971
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.6


(1)
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.


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