Thursday, December 23, 2010

Filibuster reform

The issue of filibuster reform (that is, a change in the Senate's rules regarding the ability of invoke cloture on a bill) has been bubbling for some time. Mostly this is pushed by younger senators (typically, of either party) who find the rules cumbersome, needless, and giving far too much power to the minority party.

Obama recently pointed out that there were more cloture votes last year than in the 1950's and 1960's combined. Since many of the GOP House members from the 80s and 90s started moving to the Senate and continuing the back row bomb throwing strategies they perfected in the lower house, this is an issue with a long track record.

That said, Senate Dems are unanimous in backing filibuster reform. This is an interesting new development that might finally push through reforms that will ensure the long-term health of that body.

First step, IMO, would be to take up Sen Merkley's suggestion about filibuster requirements. There is, at present, no work involved in calling for a filibuster. Making the minority party actually work for the filibuster seems to be the minimum we can do.


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