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Monday, December 14, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Harkin may try to change "abusive" filibuster

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The Constitution does not contain a supermajority requirement for
ordinary legislation to pass the Senate, but the filibuster has
evolved into a means to kill any bill unless 60 senators support it.
The current use of the filibuster is not "traditional." This memo from
December 1964 shows that no one imagined Medicare would need more than
a simple majority in the Senate. There was no expectation that Lyndon
Johnson's reform efforts would fail if Medicare couldn't command a
filibuster-proof majority. Senator Tom Harkin tried to change Senate
rules on the filibuster in 1995, and the Burlington Hawk Eye reports
that he may try again, "Given what he sees as the abuse of power by a
couple members of his own party whom he said are threatening to join
the minority party if their every demand is not met." ... Harkin's
idea would preserve means for senators to slow down debate on a bill
without imposing a 60-vote threshold for all bills in the Senate.

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Mike Schramm
Andy Szal

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