Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged on Wednesday to change the rules of the Senate so that the minority party has fewer tools to obstruct legislative business. In his first post-election press conference, the Nevada Democrat said he wouldn't go so far as to eliminate the filibuster, which requires 60 votes for the chamber to enter and exit the amendment and debate process. But in remarks meant to preview a more combative approach during the next session, he warned Republicans that obstructionism as a tactic won't be tolerated -- or as technically feasible. "I want to work together, but...
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Somehow, I expect this will get filibustered.
If I were a senator, I'd filibuster every single bill until a filibuster repealment law was passed. Demand that the filibuster is completely banished and hold all legislation hostage until then. The other side will cave in as soon as some earmark they want is one the line.
How about limiting each Senator to one filibuster per six-year term? That would reduce the # by 90%, without completely eliminating Mr. Smith goes to Washington.
Nobody totally understands the rules of the Senate, but last I knew, their best shot was to introduce the change at the start of the new session, so if there are going to be changes, they will occur in Jan.
If you parse what Reid actually said though, he's probably just going to tweak and not eliminate. He knows that at some point Dems will be back in the minority.
I hope he will get rid of it for judicial and cabinet nominees. That really is about the minimum he can do without being irresponsible.
The filibuster needs to be eliminated. It has forced our government to a halt for no good reason.
Has the filibuster ever been used for good? I've only heard of it being used for evil like blocking the Civil Rights Act.
Even so, the very idea of the filibuster goes against the principles of the Constitution and the philosophy of our republic. The filibuster supposedly exists because we must allow debate on issues to continue until all arguments are heard. Fine, that's a good principle.
However, a filibuster does not provide arguments but rather prevents arguments from being heard. As such it should not be tolerated. Furthermore, a 60 vote can end all debate, so we're not upholding the principle that all arguments should be heard anyway.
If it were up to me, I'd write a software system for formalizing and analyzing debates. I'd require all senators to submit their arguments in writing to the system. The system would eliminate all filibustering (non-arguments) as well as any argument that can be disproved by formal analysis.
A fact-checking subsystem would highlight accurate and inaccurate statements and the degree of accuracy along with corrections. Any "facts" determined to be inaccurate, would be rejected and marked as blocked paths in the argument tree.
The the system would present the entire argument tree back to the senators so they can respond to any open issues. This process would be repeated until no new legitimate arguments are made -- repeated arguments would not be added to the tree.
Then the system would present and read the entire, final argument tree to the Senate, pointing out all unanswered arguments on all sides. Finally, the Senate would vote.
A subsequent release would remove the voting power from the Senators and give it to expert algorithms. Senators would only be advocates of policies, not decision makers. Eventually, I'd eliminate the human politicians all together.
Has the filibuster ever been used for good?
Stopped Bush from mucking with social security. Hmmm, maybe not:
Coulda stopped the war in Iraq if 19 of the 29 Dems who wanted war had joined the 21 nays and then filibustered the 2002 AUMF.
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