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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 10:18 PM
Original message
HOW do we get rid of the 60 vote requirement? It always
sucked for this or every admin; why is it 'the rule' now?

Thanks, and I brought this up because of the Prez on Stewart's show.

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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
1. I think it used to be 67.
IIRC from reading Ted Kennedy's book, shortly after Kennedy was elected to the Senate, the fillbuster rule was changed, dropping it from 67 to 60. But I don't know the details.



TG
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
2. You need a 2/3 vote in the Senate to change the rules, IIRC.
It used to be required that a Senator actually get up and talk to in order to filibuster, but that was foolishly done away with, so now it costs you nothing to filibuster something, UNLESS the "leadership" - and I use that term loosely - wants it passed, and then they hold a voice vote in the middle of the night and don't let anybody read it first.
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givemebackmycountry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 10:31 PM
Response to Original message
3. It never seemed to faze Dubya now did it?
They got damn near EVERYTHING they wanted.



Remember?
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 10:35 PM
Response to Original message
4. We're going to be glad we have it pretty soon
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countrydad58 Donating Member (274 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-28-10 05:51 AM
Response to Reply #4
14. Amen!
But saying that, If you filibuster, you must pro actively do that in front of c-Span cameras, so we all can see what & why! Not this namby Pamby "Filibuster " Procedure that is in place!
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 10:38 PM
Response to Original message
5. It's easy, force a real, live filibuster,
And use the bully pulpit to beat the offending Senators over the head like the obstructionists they are. Do that a couple of times and the 'Pugs will back down.

As far as getting rid of it for good, I don't think that is a good idea. It is there for a purpose, to keep utterly horrible legislation from getting through. Granted, the Dems rarely use it anymore, but I would still like for it to be available if needed.
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Ozymanithrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 10:40 PM
Response to Original message
6. Convince the Senate to change its rules.
The 60 vote requirement is part of the Senate rules, which they create themselves without input from most Americans.

Of course, we love that 60 vote rule back when Republicans had the majority in the Senate and thought Republicans using the "Nuclear Option" to create a majority rules Senate was a crime against Democracy.
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liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 10:50 PM
Response to Original message
7. It's got a weird history
Originally, the Senate had a rule to simply move to a vote with a majority - the so-called "previous question motion." But under Aaron Burr's leadership, they got rid of it because it had never been used. Some decades later, senators began to realize they could just refuse to grant unanimous consent to move onto a vote - since the Senate runs on the principle of unanimous consent, without it, nothing can be done.

Gradually filibustering increased post-Civil War, but they used to remain short because people had to actually just keep talking AND there was an implicit assumption that if senators didn't eventually yield the floor, a majority would act to cut off debate by changing the rules. However, when a block of antiwar senators threatened to prevent war funding during WWI, the Wilson Administration and Senate leadership broke the filibuster and instituted a new rule allowing 2/3 of the Senate to waive unanimous consent and override a filibuster.

Paradoxically, this actually increased the frequency because whereas before the implicit assumption had been that a majority would get rid of a filibuster, now there was an institutionalized supermajority requirement. It got used in the 1920s to kill civil rights legislation and anti-lynching bills (which would otherwise have passed that early on). From that point on up through the 1960s, the filibuster was mostly used by Southern Dems to kill civil rights legislation.

Once Civil Rights legislation passed, however, the filibuster lost its association with segregationists and came to be used more frequently. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, reformers tried to abolish it altogether, and they finally managed to force a vote reforming it in 1975, but the filibuster supporters backed down and supported a compromise that changed cloture to just 3/5 of the vote (60) while also putting the onus on the MAJORITY faction. (Used to be 2/3 of all senators present-and-voting).

Other reforms, such as dual-tracking, also meant that people no longer had to actually talk a bill to death - they only had to deny unanimous consent. If anyone tried to "call" a "real" filibuster, nobody would have to actually talk - there would just need to be one Republican occasionally suggest that the Senate lacks a quorum to succeed.

NOW, would restoring the "talkathon-style" filibusters work? Probably not - the truth is, the reason they actually changed the rules was that while talkathon-style filibusters were rare, they WORKED. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the first time a filibuster had ever been broken. That's because talking a bill to death was possible - eventually, the majority party had to pass appropriations bills, keep the government working, and the filibustering party suffered no repercussions.

The reason the filibusters have gotten SO common is that the parties have sorted themselves into much more ideologically unified caucuses. So there's very little room for compromise, and the two parties - the Republicans more so than the Democrats - realize that politically, obstructionism works. You stop the majority from doing anything, and most voters blame the majority party, because they're the ones in charge. So it's gradually risen and has no come to an all time high.

How can it be changed? At the start of each session, the Senate can set new rules with 51 votes. If they change it mid-session, though, that requires 67 votes. Unless they pull a "nuclear" option, and have the Vice President (as President of the Senate) rule the filibuster unconstitutional with the support of a majority. The problem is that a lot of older senators, even liberal ones, LIKE the filibuster because it increases their power and because it's "tradition." So I think it'll take a while to get rid of it.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 11:13 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Thanks, but your last para. belies what happened recently:
obviously the Senate didn't set new rules, yet the 67-vote requirement wasn't in place either.

Sigh.
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liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-28-10 12:45 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. It's a little complicated
Constitutionally each chamber can set its rules at the start of a session. However, what has happened for the past several decades is that at the start of each term, the body - usually unanimously - just affirms that the rules will continue as they were in the previous term.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 10:50 PM
Response to Original message
8. I believe each new Senate can make its own rules...
and pass with a simple majority? Does anyone know for certain?
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CTLawGuy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-28-10 06:08 AM
Response to Reply #8
15. yup
the senate has the constitutional power to set its own rules by a majority vote at least at the beginning of its term.
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denimgirly Donating Member (929 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-28-10 01:14 AM
Response to Original message
11. You dont need to. How? Just watch the Repubs in Action After November.
Edited on Thu Oct-28-10 01:14 AM by denimgirly
They will show you how to get things done even if they dont have the 60 requirement.
And dont expect the MSM to raise any fuss about it.
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vaberella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-28-10 04:55 AM
Response to Original message
12. We have to get rid of the Repubs or filibusters...
On the flip side it's a good thing. Currently, it's just abuse.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-28-10 05:01 AM
Response to Original message
13. The filibuster will still be there.
The 60-vote requirement, if the Dems are still in control, can be changed to a simple majority at the start of a new session. Should have been done the last time but Mr Byrd was still alive and that was his rule.
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