27 July 2010

Filibuster reform at last?

According to this story, momentum is building in the Senate to tackle the single biggest cause of its current dysfunctional and undemocratic character: the filibuster. Since the 2008 election, this procedural rule has been abused by Republicans to create a de facto 60-vote super-majority requirement, empowering their obstructionism; without the need for 60 votes, for example, it would not have been necessary to remove the popular public option (or the even more popular Medicare expansion) from health-care reform. This absurd rule must go, for the sake of democracy. Read the story, and remember to keep the pressure up when the opportunity for change comes with the beginning of the next session.

Update (28 July): More here.


Blogger boomer bob said...

The fillibuster should go away, along with the absurd lobbyists and massive campaign contributions that keep the elitists in control of our governemnt, but I hold little hope that any bills restricting these will be successful. The right-wingers will simply filibuster the filibuster reform act and it'll go by the wayside to accompany healthcare and campaign reform.

27 July, 2010 07:59  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

BB: According to the HP posting (and other reports on this I've seen), they couldn't do that. Provided the vote was held in the right circumstances and at the beginning of a new session, the filibuster could be abolished by a simple majority.

27 July, 2010 08:38  
Blogger tnlib said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed and I certainly agree with boomer about lobbyists and campaign "contributions." And thanks for the clarification Infidel. I'm not as familiar with these procedures as I should be.

27 July, 2010 16:45  
Blogger Sabio Lantz said...

Would you want the same if you saw Democrats using it to stop Republican agenda's for years?

Your argument seems partisan. Democracy is only part of the USA government and needs to be checked severely.

28 July, 2010 23:51  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

TNLib: Senate procedures are notoriously Byzantine. Senators should not hide behind them to avoid getting the job done, however.

SL: There are already abundant checks and balances built into the system. The filibuster was meant to slow down egregious overstepping by the majority, not to enable the minority party to stymie every initiative, as they've lately been doing.

If the Republicans ever got the kind of huge majorities in both Houses (plus the Presdency) that the Democrats have now, then there'd be no disputing that they had a mandate, much as I'd dislike most of what they'd be doing. The way to deal with that is to contribute to the fight against them at election time, so they don't get into such a position.

Besides, even if we don't get rid of the filibuster, you can be sure the Republicans will if they ever get a majority.

29 July, 2010 12:22  
Blogger Silverfiddle said...

I'm with Sabio Lantz on this one.

Careful what you wish for. The Senate will not always be in Democratic hands. Any impediment to government action is a good thing.

Don't you with there were more roadblocks on the way to war with Iraq?

29 July, 2010 16:26  
Blogger Sabio Lantz said...

Am I wrong, or do you seem to be saying,
"I hate it when the Republicans use the rules to win. I just pure hate the Republicans!"

29 July, 2010 17:11  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

SF: I think your comment is largely addressed by my response to Sabio above.

For the record, I suported the invasion of Iraq at the time, although knowing what I know now, I would have been more hesitant in doing so. On the more general point that Republicans in power would do a lot of things I wouldn't like, the proper way to address that problem is to win elections against them, not to paralyze the government.

SL: Yes, you are wrong. I don't see how you could get that out of my response at all.

30 July, 2010 03:34  
Blogger Jack Jodell said...

The filibuster is another perfect example of how conservatives and Republicans use and abuse our government, and, in reality, have nothing but contempt for it and the commpeople.

30 July, 2010 09:16  

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