Filibuster Reform

Discussion in 'Politics' started by B_VinylBoy, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    10,516
    Likes Received:
    7
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Boston, MA / New York, NY
    Although many people would like to link the current stalling of progress in Congress to the inability of a party to blindly support one another, there is another part to this story that very few of us have ever talked about. The filibuster. It only takes 51 votes to pass a bill through Congress, but because of current filibuster rules a minority party can block any bill if it doesn't get the approval of 60 people. When the filibuster was first implemented in the 60s, it was something that was rarely used. The current minority party has used it on 70% of proposed legislation, which is the most it has ever been used in our Nation's history.

    Many things can be surmised from this bit of information. We can play the blame game and say that the minority party is simply obstructing as much as they can, to prevent the current Congress from getting anything done. A decisive, partisan move in hopes to gain back majorities in government. But what about the next party that comes to power once this current Congress is done? What if the roles reverse and the next minority of power, in their need to win back seats, does the same exact thing? Something has to be done or else we face a looming problem that would prevent any progress from happening in government for a very long time.

    Proposals in adjusting Filibuster rules are starting to emerge, such as establishing a set numerical limit to the times it can be used throughout an entire term. That would still give the minority a chance to speak up on matters that really concern them, but forces them to use it at their own discretion without abuse. If you only had 50 uses of the filibuster over a four year term, you'd pick your battles wisely. Others suggest new rules that wouldn't completely put a stop to legislation but only delay it a few days and follow it with a new vote afterwards, with the knowledge that with every filibuster the number of votes needed to pass it will decrease by three until it is either passed or eventually voted down.

    This is a rule that only exists in the Senate. It's not an official law, so it's not as if this is not subject to change unless people really want to do it. Any other suggestions?
     
  2. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,409
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Midwest
    IMO, if they get rid of pork and earmarks we won't have all this posturing and watered-down legislation anyway, and there won't even be a problem with blocks/filibuster activity.
     
  3. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    10,516
    Likes Received:
    7
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Boston, MA / New York, NY
    Are you honestly trying to say that the reason why the minority party has filibustered 70% of proposed legislation is because of earmarks? Some of the proposed legislation that has been blocked by the minority party include bills to end the occupation in Iraq, federal defense funding to troops, as well as climate change.

    Sorry, that excuse won't fly here.
     
  4. Sklar

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,278
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    156
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Washington state
    I'm curious. Since the Republicans lost both houses and have not enough votes to block the super majority of 60 that the Democrats had (Scott Browns election changed that):

    Where did all the number 70% of current legislation come from for using the fillibuster?

    Sklar
     
  5. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,409
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Midwest
    I'm very interested in this mysterious statistic, too.:cool:
     
  6. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    10,516
    Likes Received:
    7
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Boston, MA / New York, NY
    The percentage has been tossed around by various news sources. Although I don't know how factual that number really is, we do know that the minority party of our current Congress has used the Filibuster more than 130 times as of November of last year. That also included a bill to extend Unemployment benefits to people who lost their jobs in the midst of a recession.

    To balance out things, it also has been reported in various news sources that in our previous Congress, the minority party used the filibuster up to 50% of the time. That's still really high and further illustrates the problem.
     
    #6 B_VinylBoy, Jan 26, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010
  7. vince

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2007
    Messages:
    14,785
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    540
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Asia
    The filibuster goes back further than the 1960's Vinyl. Strom Thurmond famously used it to try to block the 1957 Civil Rights Act. It goes back much much further in history though. But you are right about it's increased use since the 60's though and about the current opposition's use of it. When they have nothing positive to contribute, this is all they can do. Just "no,no,no."

    The reform I'd like to see is going back to the rule that to hold the floor, you actually have to be there and speak. I don't know when it changed, but now they just have to inform the President of the Senate that the filibuster is on, and all debate on the bill is stopped until cloture is invoked.
     
  8. Qua

    Qua
    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,507
    Albums:
    2
    Likes Received:
    153
    Gender:
    Male
    Not 70% but a good chunk of it likely has.

    Regardless of whether it would still be a record, eliminating earmarks would reduce filibusters, you can't deny that. If nothing else, it'd remove the "oh it was an earmark we didn't like" excuse.
     
  9. Ericsson1228d

    Ericsson1228d Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2005
    Messages:
    582
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    MI, USA
    Why I am not surprised to see Vinylboy, when his pet party has recently lost their "filibuster proof supermajority," now wants to change the rules.

    Your party didn't even need to worry about a filibuster until last week, and they BLEW IT. So I don't think changing the filibuster rule would make a damn bit of difference in the Democrat Self-Destruct Sequence.
     
  10. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    10,516
    Likes Received:
    7
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Boston, MA / New York, NY
    Eat a dick, you partisan bitch.
    I see you failed to notice that I also mentioned that Democrats also abused the filibuster when they were the minority? Gee, why am I not surprised? So here... take your head out of your conservative ass and read it.

    From post #6 - "...it also has been reported in various news sources that in our previous Congress, the minority party used the filibuster up to 50% of the time. That's still really high and further illustrates the problem."

    The rules need to be changed... period. If not, the only thing that's going to happen is the constant abuse of the filibuster in Congress and nothing will ever get accomplished. The Democrats did it to some degree. The Republicans are doing it now. And if your "boyz" get back the majority, the cycle will repeat itself.

    You're such a sad joke. Read EVERYTHING before you open your hole next time. I know you hate me because I vote liberal... but I despise you because you're a fuckin' moron. Major difference. :rolleyes:
     
    #10 B_VinylBoy, Jan 26, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010
  11. Ericsson1228d

    Ericsson1228d Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2005
    Messages:
    582
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    MI, USA
    How eloquent! Name calling from Vinylboy! What a surprise!
     
  12. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    10,516
    Likes Received:
    7
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Boston, MA / New York, NY
    And I'll continually do it, the more you prove yourself to being a fuckin' moron. Prove that you have a brain that doesn't view everything in black & white, and maybe I'll treat you with a shred of respect.

    Until then... eat two. :rolleyes:
     
  13. Ericsson1228d

    Ericsson1228d Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2005
    Messages:
    582
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    MI, USA
    Yes, I yearn for your respect! What higher honor than respect from someone whose arguments are so futile that they result to name-calling!
     
  14. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    10,516
    Likes Received:
    7
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Boston, MA / New York, NY
    When I told you to eat a dick, I wasn't referring to mine. Get off your knees. :rolleyes:
     
  15. TomCat84

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Messages:
    3,497
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    32
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Uh, the filibuster has been around A LOT longer than that. Like, since the US Constitution was first ratified. In fact the House had the filibuster too until the late 1800s.
     
  16. TomCat84

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Messages:
    3,497
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    32
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    In any case, I think the filibuster should go back to the old days- as in, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. You wanna fiilibuster something? You get up there, pull out the cots, and start talking. And talk some more, until you're exhausted, and have to leave the floor. Unfortunately, they dont have to do that anymore. Dont get rid of it- just make folks put their money where their mouth is.
     
  17. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    10,516
    Likes Received:
    7
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Boston, MA / New York, NY
    Already been noted by someone else.
    I didn't word the statement properly. I should have said when it was used in the 60s. Implemented suggests that it was created in that era.
     
  18. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
    Messages:
    14,610
    Likes Received:
    5
    Barbara Sinclair of UCLA did the research.
    She found that while only eight percent of legislation was filibustered during the 1960s, that figure had swelled to 70 percent by today.
    There is a lot about this on the net. For an interview with Sinclair that touches on the issue, click me.
     
  19. maxcok

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    7,392
    Likes Received:
    12
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Elsewhere
    I think that both parties tend to focus way too much on process and how to work it to their own advantage. How much better it could be if they would do as the founding fathers intended - focus on genuine thoughtful deliberation, seek compromise and common ground. But that's politics, and I am a bit of a dreamer.

    Anyway, all your questions about the filibuster and its history are answered in Gregory Kroger's new book, Going to the Mattresses (no kidding, that's the title). Here's his recent interview with Terry Gross on 'Fresh Air':


     
    #19 maxcok, Jan 27, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  20. Sklar

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,278
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    156
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Washington state

    Thanks for the link, Senor Rubirosa. I read the article. Quite frankly, I'm having issues with this thread.

    I'll take VinylBoy's word that he heard the figure of 70% on the news. However, the news is so slanted that they stopped being news long before the Bush Administration.

    The 70% that I questioned on page one doesn't come from the current Congress. It's 70% for the previous decade. Quite a big difference there. This comes from a time when the Democrats were in the minority much longer than when the Republicans are now. Back when the Democrats were the minority, the Republicans did not have the 60 seat super majority to block a fillibuster.

    (Also, for as long as I've been here, I still can't master the cut and paste thing from different pages onto one thread, so I have to manually cut and paste it.)

    Here is the question, from the linked article, that got the 70% figure:

    You've published a study showing that about eight percent of major bills in the 1960s faced filibusters or filibuster threats and 70 percent of bills in the current decade did the same. Tell me a bit about the methodology.

    That's a big difference from the implication of 70% since the Republicans fall from grace in the last election. It's from 2000 - 2009 and the vast majoirty of that would have to have been from when the Democrats were in the minority because, until Scott Brown's election, the Republicans could NOT have staged a successful fillibuster because the lacked the votes for it.

    Thanks for listening,


    Sklar
     
Draft saved Draft deleted