Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reforming the filibuster

As Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias observe, the filibuster was never intended to be automatic for every vote in the Senate.

Some will of course charge hypocrisy, as the chart shows, the filibuster has gotten out of control, and some reform is in order. Matt, who has always opposed the filibuster out right, does a nice job briefly outlining the history and suggests an abolition that doesn't take effect for 4 years to avoid allegations of a power grab.

I don't share Matt's zeal for abolition. There is a place for the filibuster in the Senate that makes it worth keeping. However, it is historically indisputable that it was never the intent that all bills be automatically filibustered by default. An obvious solution would be to require an actual filibuster on major bills, like the stimulus. Of course, do actually force the opposition to filibuster would require the flaccid Harry Reid to grow a pair of balls and show some leadership and that's never going to happen.

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