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ETpro's avatar

How do you think we should handle the US Senate's filibuster rules?

Asked by ETpro (34208 points ) November 29th, 2012

As this Washington Post article explains, on the first day of the new Congress, the Senate will review the rules the last Senate operated under. Rule changes need only a simple majority vote to be adopted. They cannot be filibustered by the minority. After years of growing abuse, pressure is intense for some change to limit the minority’s power to promote permanent gridlock by filibustering virtually every bill and appointment brought before the Senate.

How do you think the rules should change? Should they take the filibuster back to what it was in the famous Jimmy Stewart movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington when a Filibuster required that the minority hold the floor and keep speaking, abandon the filibuster altogether, keep things just as they are now, or perhaps you have a better idea?

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I think they should return to the original filibuster.

Seek's avatar

I vote for keep speaking.

If it’s that damn important to filibuster, you better get up there and put some damn effort into it.

janbb's avatar

I have long felt that this new procedure for needing 60 votes to end the threat of filibuster is terrible. It seems to result in minority rule. I would like to return to the old filibuster idea; if you care so much about it, stand up and keep speaking.

Jaxk's avatar

It is obvious that the system has broken down. We’ve had no budget from the Senate in 4 years now even though a budget proposal is required by law. The Senate has refused to even vote on any legislation from the house. And now we want to give the majority party even more power when thier track record has been to do nothing. What’s next, dissolve the house because they don’t agree with you? One party rule is not a good thing. The Senate is setup the way they are to force negotiation. It’s almost funny that when the Republicans were in power the very thought of changing the Filibuster rules brought screams of agony from the Democrats. Now though, they have a majority and they’ll do anything to get absolute power. Welcome to the Morsi government of the USA.

Seek's avatar

I’ve been pro-physical filibuster ever since I heard the story about the 19th century Senator who held down a colleague and sewed his mouth shut to break the filibuster.

THAT would make me watch C-Span.

Linda_Owl's avatar

IF we are going to have a ‘filibuster’ in place, then it needs to revert back to the time when individuals had to stand & keep speaking.

glacial's avatar

Another vote for the original filibuster (What can I say? I’m a Jimmy Stewart fan).

RandomGirl's avatar

I love Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Such a great movie. (Besides, I sort of love Jimmy Stewart…) I have friends who intend to run for Senate. If they get elected, they will bring back the days of fiery speeches and filibusters. I’m starting to feel like that’s the only way to get people interested in the day-to-day working of our government.

ETpro's avatar

@marinelife, @janbb, @janbb, @Seek_Kolinahr, @Linda_Owl, @glacial & @RandomGirl Thanks for your thoughts.

@Jaxk Looking at the spread of opinions, I can certainly understand why vast power for the minority is so important to you. You do know, don’t you, that blaming Senate inaction on the Democrats is utterly laughable to most Americans now. And claiming that going back to the rules that were in place for most of US history is equivalent to instituting a Middle Eastern dictatorship—that’s a real hoot. You have a strange but hilarious sense of humor.

Sorry, man, but that dog won’t hunt. One only has to look at who has been filibustering every single bill, even ones they originally wrote and ultimately approved. The Roadblock Republicans worked long and hard to earn that name.

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