Senate Filibuster - Thoughts?

Some have called for the senate filibuster rule to be abolished.
Specifically, rule 22 states a supermajority of senators is required for a successful vote for cloture, to end debate. That’s 60 now, 67 before a few decades ago.

Linked writer about the why it exists.

… the filibuster continued. Senators of both parties offered many amendments, some of which passed. A total of 543 hours, 1 minute and 51 seconds were consumed by the longest filibuster in Senate history. Most importantly, the Senate and the country saw an open process that allowed the minority every opportunity to debate and offer amendments. They saw the leaders of both parties in the Senate work to gather the 67 votes then needed to cut off debate and pass a bill that extended civil rights to black Americans across the U.S.

not by a simple majority forcing its will on the minority but by allowing the two sides to argue their case at length, by allowing the legislative process of debate and amendment to proceed unhindered, by gathering the votes needed to show the country that it must change the law, by carrying the country along through the months of discussion and compromise, by fulfilling the highest expectations of the Founders, Mansfield, Dirksen and other senators built support for a law the country needed.


This is an automatically-generated Wiki post for this new topic. Any member can edit this post and use it as a summary of the topic’s highlights.

I’ve been keeping tabs on the filibuster politics, which you can see here screened from the general politics thread if I got this link right. Most of them are factual or news related.

As for commentary, I think it’s still up in the air, much like the future size of the Supreme Court. The tyrannical wing of the Democratic Party would like nothing more than to cement their power via changes like court packing, codifying insecure elections, adding extra states for control of the senate, huge federal bailouts of their states preferentially, etc. how many of these things the rest of their party will go along with remains to be seen.

It’s certainly too much to hope for that Manchin agrees to abolish the filibuster and then joins the Republican caucus and votes down all the progressive nonsense.

I think we will find out where the true political power lies by watching how this plays out. Much like the GA runoff for the Senate, when the ability to loot the country’s wealth for yourself and your constituents hangs in a finely balanced contest, I suspect there’s a very strong incentive to bribe, cheat, and threaten anyone who stands in the way of winning those huge stakes. I’m glad we haven’t seen any Senators or Justices meet an untimely end, yet.


your quoted rule 22 and the other article are not the current “filibuster”. It’s not debate time now, and the votes to maintain the filibuster do not need to remain on the floor for the duration to prevent the ending of said filibuster. The current “filibuster” is a hold placed indefinitely on legislation by an email.

Some of the discussion has been on the possibility of ending the imaginary filibuster exercise and moving back to the previous rules.

Thanks for the link. I’ve I do find a separate topic or thread much cleaner for keeping discussions focused and, ahem, on topic. IMO, Politics shouldn’t just be a thread/topic, but a forum.

I’m not convinced the so called “Progressives” have thought this through. They want higher taxes, and are willing to do this to get there. Might a future opponent in control easily and very quickly retroactively refund these extra taxes? A few trial runs were done in the past year. However, to retroactively collect taxes, is a lot harder.
Spend money, yup, on the face it seems hard to chase dollars that went out the door. But the federal procurement and disbursement process is so slow. Might it be possible to also retroactively cancel such expenditure?
As the minority leader alluded - this would be a great way to bankrupt all the abortion clinics, nationwide. Federally harmonized gun sale rules - except it’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle - bad for gun control advocates.

Last - Is such an unstable political landscape at all desirable? As much as being similar to Venezuela is desirable, I guess.

I have a very dim view of these who don’t look at things in the whole, in the long term.


That could certainly be desirable indeed, as long as provisions are in place that meaningful discussions are able to take place, and it’s not simply a ploy to starve out the holdouts.

543 hours, 1 minute and 51 seconds

See my link above. The filibustered Civil Rights Act was debated for over 500 hours. This was certainly not in a single session, but rather over the course of months or a year with many amendments - which can be introduced by any member - and voted on with each Senator’s conscience, ie. not toeing the party line. And I imagine other senate business continued. This would be a process that could very well have desirable outcomes.


The real filibuster is great. The longer you talk, it becomes clear how strongly you feel about the subject, and others do start to take notice. Like that one episode of the West Wing. But an email that can hold up legislation indefnitely is a farce.

My preference is that all legislators be put in isolation, unable to communicate with each other at all. Let 'em submit bills that are distributed, let them return comments and questions that are then distributed anonymously, and then let them each reach their own decision on how to vote on each bill. I know it’d be impossible to ensure they’re all ingnorant of how their peers are voting, but it’d still be far better than the current petty party politics.


It isnt so necessary now, with the White House and Congress both being willing co-conspirators. But I’d love to see the line item veto brought back into play. A bill, and all it’s inevitble amendments and pork, being all or nothing is almost as dumb as filibuster-by-email.


If you had asked me at the beginning of the formation of the tea party what I thought about smoke filled back room deals in congress that include bridges to nowhere to get a congressman’s vote on a piece of legislation that they otherwise wouldn’t support, I would have told you it’s terrible and it’s what’s wrong with Washington.

Now, 12 years later, I’d give up a bridge to nowhere, a few million dollar state park toilets, and whatever else it takes if it means we could actually tackle entitlement reform. The last time congress passed all the required appropriations bills was 1997. That isn’t because of the filibuster. There is a lot more wrong with congress that needs to be fixed that has nothing to do with the filibuster.


Eliminating the filibuster probably doesn’t improve the situation, unfortunately.

Looks like 4 more spots for non-white non-men should be opening up shortly. 6-3 turns into 6-7, now in support of the favored policies of Democratic coup. “Checks and balances”

Anyone know if the court of 9 or the court of 13 hear the legal challenge to this bill?


How many votes would be needed for this bill to pass in the Senate? 51 or 67?

51 is enough to decide on a new Senate precedent to not bother with the filibuster, at least as I read it, and after that you just pass whatever laws you want with a majority.

1 Like

Well not constitional amendments. Sure, AFAIK all regular legislation is directly defined in law as a simple majority for passage.

The Constitution does not stipulate the number of Supreme Court Justices; the number is set instead by Congress. There have been as few as six, but since 1869 there have been nine Justices, including one Chief Justice .

Quoting, erm,
The Judicial Branch | The White House.