Democrats Lack Votes to Reform Filibuster Rules

Senate Democrats “do not have the votes to lower the 60-vote threshold to cut off filibusters,” The Hill reports.

Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate are pushing for filibuster reform at the start of the new Congress next year.

Five Senate Democrats have said they will not support a lowering of the 60-vote bar necessary to pass legislation. Another four lawmakers say they are wary about such a change and would be hesitant to support it.

A 10th Democrat, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), said he would support changing the rule on filibusters of motions to begin debate on legislation, but not necessarily the 60-vote threshold needed to bring up a final vote on bills.

A sampling:

“It won’t happen,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who said she would “probably not” support an effort to lower the number of votes needed to cut off filibusters from 60 to 55 or lower.

Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) echoed Feinstein: “I think we should retain the same policies that we have instead of lowering it.
“I think it has been working,” he said.

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) said he recognizes his colleagues are frustrated over the failure to pass measures such as the Disclose Act, campaign legislation that fell three votes short of overcoming a Republican filibuster Tuesday.

“I think as torturous as this place can be, the cloture rule and the filibuster is important to protect the rights of the minority,” he said. “My inclination is no.”

Sen. Jon Tester, a freshman Democrat from Montana, disagrees with some of his classmates from more liberal states.

“I think the bigger problem is getting people to work together,” he said. “It’s been 60 for a long, long time. I think we need to look to ourselves more than changing the rules.”

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who is up for reelection in 2012, also said he would like the votes needed for cloture to remain the same. “I’m not one who think it needs to be changed,” he said.

Senators “Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) said they are wary of filibuster reform.”

(credit image – mybanktracker)



Filed under Rules & Traditions

6 responses to “Democrats Lack Votes to Reform Filibuster Rules

  1. spoutinghorn

    Liberal hypocrites who hyperventilated over the GOP suggesting a filibuster change rule for EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENT all now support a change in the 200+ year old rule, because they are the ones in power.

  2. spoutinghorn

    Or maybe Democrats can just pass a rule saying no filibuster when Democrats have a majority, but the filibuster will be re-instated should the GOP should ever regain the majority.

    (No GOP-held Senate *ever* had 59 seats, not even close).

  3. Rob Waterson

    Wow. Those nuts do not lack audacity, but at least there are a handful who feel uncomfortable with that kind of power grab.

    I am working on a project related to the upcoming lame duck session of Congress and have been thinking about it a lot; this idea of changing the filibuster rules is stunning to me.

    We are in for a truly interesting time from 11/3 to 1/9.

  4. joeff

    These Solons are more interested in individual, personal power than in the ability of the Senate to function as a legislative body.

  5. Look at who’s opposed: Committee Chairs Akaka (Veterans’ Affairs) and Feinstein (Intelligence), and conservative members of the caucus (either ideologically or based on home state party lean).

    None of this is unexpected. What’s impressive is that liberal freshman Senators are pushing in the first place. With two ideologically polarized parties, removing the filibuster would place more power in the ideological center of the majority party.

    And when that party also controls the House and presidency, more things like the Disclose Act and energy reform will pass. Filibuster reform is desperately needed because tactical political fighting has changed, and our institutions haven’t.

    Do you agree?

    Read more at From the California governor’s race to Mayor Villaraigosa, it’s the freshest political writing in LA.

  6. Rob Waterson

    The radicals who run both houses of Congress right now have proven that they will seize every last shred of power that they can. The slimy, bribe-laden, against-public-opinion passage of ObamaCare proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    Filibuster “reform” (that word means nothing any more) would just lower a barrier and they would run roughshod over our rights.

    The DISCLOSE act is horrible – it is just another Incumbent Protection Act. It will fall – properly – like parts of McCain-Feingold did in the excellent Citizen’s United case.

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