Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Making It Harder To Filibuster

I like this idea:
"The public believes that filibustering senators have to hold the floor. Indeed, the public perceives the filibuster as an act of principled public courage and sacrifice. Let's make it so.

Require a specific number of Senators -- I suggest five for the first 24 hours, 10 for the second 24 hours, and 20 thereafter -- to be on the floor to sustain the filibuster. This would be required even during quorum calls. At any point, a member could call for a count of the senators on the floor who stand in opposition to the regular order, and if the count falls below the required level, the regular order prevails and a majority vote is held."

This seems like a good middle ground between the untenable status quo -- where all one senator has to do is say "filibuster" to block a bill -- and getting rid of the filibuster entirely. I don't know why it's needed, exactly: it seems to obstruct the will of the American people as expressed through their elected representatives. But senators seem loathe to let it go; perhaps they'll agree to a modification instead.

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