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Reply #10: Not exactly [View All]

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Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-16-10 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. Not exactly
The two/thirds rule only applies to rules changes mid-session.

The Senate can write its own rules at the start of each session with a bare majority, 51 votes.

Alternately, if the chair (the President of the Senate aka the Vice President), rules that the filibuster is out of order and unconstitutional, that can be sustained by a bare majority, ending the filibuster. That's the nuclear option, which the Republicans tried in '05 but failed when 7 Republicans defected, leaving them 2 votes short.

Now, it's still a very heavy lift. And I don't think it could happen right now.

When Tom Harkin and, ironically, Joe Lieberman, proposed ending the filibuster at the start of the 1995-1997 term, they only got 17 votes.

But getting to 51 votes is a hell of a lot easier than 67. And a sustained campaign makes it possible. Harkin has already said he will propose ending the filibuster again and while few think he'll succeed he'll almost certainly get more than 17 votes this time according to most Senate observers.
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