- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
Support grows for curbing filibuster
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s push to curtail use of the filibuster has picked up traction, even among many of the chamber’s senior Democrats who, while generally the most protective of Senate traditions, say Republicans have taken obstruction to unprecedented levels.
Mr. Reid’s vow to change the rules at the beginning of the next Congress, using an opening-day procedure when the rules can be rewritten by a majority vote, has turned into a major fight in the Senate this week, with Republicans saying he is gutting time-tested rules of the chamber to achieve political gain.
It’s not clear whether Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, has enough support from within his own caucus to make the change. “We’re working on it,” chief vote-counter Sen. Richard J. Durbin told The Washington Times on Tuesday — but he has made substantial headway even with his party’s senior members.
Senators have multiple chances to filibuster a bill — first before it comes to the floor and again before it passes the chamber. The burden is on the majority to muster 60 votes to end a filibuster.
Mr. Reid is proposing eliminating that first chance at a filibuster, which would mean just a simple majority would be required to bring legislation to the floor, and he is proposing that senators who want to block legislation should have to take to the floor and speak. That also could discourage some filibusters.
Democrats will hold a 55-45 majority next year, including a number of young lawmakers eager to change the filibuster rules. But even long-serving Democrats who have served in the minority, where the filibuster is the key tool, are warming to the idea of changing it.
Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat in his fourth term, said the changes would bring accountability to filibusters.
“The idea that you have to actually stand there and be personally accountable makes sense to me,” he said.
Meanwhile Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who won her fifth term this month, said legislation that follows regular rules shouldn’t be filibustered before it even gets to the floor.
“I think if something comes out of committee and goes to the floor, it ought to have a chance to be discussed, not to have to go through cloture just to have a debate on the floor of the United States Senate,” she said.
“We’re here to debate, and we’re here to vote.”
“I think he’s made a very serious proposal, and it has to be considered,” Mr. Reed told The Times. “I am looking very carefully at it, because [it’s] one of these very serious issues that has to be considered.”
Republicans object to Mr. Reid’s plan on two counts. They say he is curtailing minority rights and that in using the first-day rules-change procedure, he is breaking with tradition, in which most major rules changes take a two-thirds vote.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- Scientists could unlock mystery of life beyond Earth within a decade
- House Democrats give grudging support to 10-year gun ban extension
- Extending plastic gun ban just first step?
- Obama hints at staying in D.C. after leaving office
Latest Blog Entries
- Angry NTSB ousts railroad union from N.Y. train crash site
- Xbox One, Playstation 4 games penalize users for cursing in their own homes
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- Puerto Rico caravan honoring Paul Walker ends in 6 drunken-driving arrests, 72 speeding tickets
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Wingate University on lockdown after 2 shot dead
- First Dog Sunny knocks down Ashtyn Gardner; Michelle Obama yanks leash
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Does it take over 25 years in public service to really know what goes on in Washington?