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  1. TopTop #1
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Harry Reid Supports Ending the Filibuster. Do you??

    Harry Reid, along with several 2020 candidates support ending the filibuster. While this is very appealing while we have control of the House and hope to flip the senate and get a Democratic president, and have pressing true national emergencies to deal with (climate change, gun violence, healthcare, ...) but what about when that tide inevitably changes?? Can you imagine the damage that Trump and the Republican congress could have done if they were not stopped by a democratic filibuster, starting with repealing and not replacing Obamacare!

    Seems to me that the filibuster plays an important role in steadying the ship of state. Without it, there may be wild swings in policy every 4-8 years.

    What I could support is lowering the filibuster threshold to say 55 rather than 60. No one seems to be talking about that, no doubt because we don't have a prayer of getting 55 senate seats next year. So perhaps there's no point, but it still seem like a wise policy.

    What do you think??

    Barry


    Harry Reid: The Filibuster Is Suffocating the Will of the American People
    To save our country’s future, Democrats must abolish this arcane Senate rule.
    By Harry Reid
    Mr. Reid is a former Senate majority leader from Nevada.

    Aug. 12, 2019

    I am not an expert on all of government, but I do know something about the United States Senate. As the former majority leader, I know how tough it is to get anything through the chamber, which was designed to serve as the slower, more deliberative body of the United States Congress.

    But what is happening today is a far cry from what the framers intended. They created the Senate as a majority-rule body, where both sides could have their say at length — but at the end of the day, bills would pass or fail on a simple majority vote. In their vision, debate was supposed to inform and enrich the process, not be exploited as a mechanism to grind it to a halt.

    The Senate today, after years of abusing an arcane procedural rule known as the filibuster, has become an unworkable legislative graveyard. Not part of the framers’ original vision, the modern filibuster was created in 1917. The recent use of the filibuster — an attempt by a minority of lawmakers to delay or block a vote on a bill or confirmation — has exploited this rule, forcing virtually all Senate business to require 60 of the 100 senators’ votes to proceed. This means a simple majority is not enough to advance even the most bipartisan legislation.

    Continues Here
    Last edited by Barry; 08-13-2019 at 05:53 PM.

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  3. TopTop #2
    occihoff's Avatar
    occihoff
     

    Re: Harry Reid Supports Ending the Filibuster. Do you??

    I don't know, Barry. My conception of the filibuster has always been that it's just a bizarre and long-winded waste of precious time. And it seems like majority rule is the natural and proper rule in a democracy. We don't like it when we lose, and they don't like it when they lose, but we keep on tussling for a majority. But maybe I don't really have a clear idea of what a filibuster really is. Tell us more.

    And why do you think that we could not get 55 Senate seats next year? The surge of Democrats in the House last election was quite a surprise, wasn't it? And it seems to me that the Trumpsters have been disgracing themselves more and more wretchedly every day. It sure seems like they're cruisin' for a bruisin'.

    But I make no pretense of being a political clairvoyant...

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  5. TopTop #3
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Harry Reid Supports Ending the Filibuster. Do you??

    Quote occihoff wrote: View Post
    ...maybe I don't really have a clear idea of what a filibuster really is. Tell us more.
    A filibuster is simply a parliamentary procedure that forces a 60% majority for a bill to pass in the Senate.

    And why do you think that we could not get 55 Senate seats next year?
    When you look at the map, just getting 50 or 51 seats will be difficult enough. 55 or 60 is pretty much out of the question. More info here.

    I'd like to hear the 2020 candidates that support ending the filibuster, including my man, Pete Buttigieg, address the flipside - what about when Republicans control congress and the presidency. And Republicans are more ruthless when it comes to abusing power.

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  7. TopTop #4
    SonomaPatientsCoop's Avatar
     

    Re: Harry Reid Supports Ending the Filibuster. Do you??

    I do not like the idea of ending the filibuster ... it's a slippery slope eroding one of the important checks and balances.

    But, in a large way, the horse has already been let out of the barn. Reid himself made the fatal mistake we are paying for now under Trump using the "nuclear option" to basically make the filibuster moot for federal judicial nominees. Then more recently McConnel did the same in regards to Supreme Court nominees (republicans have yet to pay the price for that choice but the time will come).

    Correct me if I'm wrong but the filibuster now only really exists for legislation and. presidential appointments (outside of the federal/scotus bench) that must be confirmed by the senate.

    The filibuster was meant as the last check and balance in the legislative branch. And it's an important one. We all know now that the president can be elected while loosing the popular vote. So remember- his VP can cast the deciding vote in the Senate when it is split 50/50 (as Al Gore did ending his presidential hopes during the FL debacle).

    And I think we also all know that few elections are truly fair. Gerrymandering. voter suppression. lack of options for millions who can't afford to miss work to vote. Etc.

    The sad reality is the government rarely truly represents the views of even a simple majority of Americans on any issue.

    The filibuster was meant as a way to force the reality that something was supported by the majority of the American people- usually requiring at least some portion of the 2nd party to agree to it. And while I think this is very important in terms of legislation, I think it's an abomination that we gave this up with something as important as federal judges (and now the Supreme Court) - people who are appointed for life and have vast power to shape our nations laws, and indeed, our very realities, for decades to come with absolute no recourse to stop them.
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  9. TopTop #5
    occihoff's Avatar
    occihoff
     

    Re: Harry Reid Supports Ending the Filibuster. Do you??

    I has always thought that a filibuster involved making long-winded speeches in order to impede progress of a bill. Am I mistaken?
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  11. TopTop #6
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Harry Reid Supports Ending the Filibuster. Do you??

    Quote occihoff wrote: View Post
    I has always thought that a filibuster involved making long-winded speeches in order to impede progress of a bill. Am I mistaken?
    Yes and No. Technically you are correct, however the talking filibuster has been replaced by other senate legislative maneuvers that amount to the same thing, but without the talking. Actually, it's more effective at stopping a vote on the legislation since its decoupled from the speakers bladder!

    From Understanding the Filibuster:

    The idea behind the filibuster was simple: As long as a senator kept talking on the floor, a bill could not move forward. Throughout the 19th century, the Senate left ending the filibuster up to the filibustering senators. When they felt they had been adequately heard, they could give up the floor and allow debate to move on to a vote.

    In 1917, at the behest of President Wilson, the Senate adopted a procedure known as the cloture vote, which could end a filibuster. If a cloture vote is called for, a super-majority of senators can force an end to debate and bring the question under consideration to an up-or-down vote. Initially, achieving cloture required a vote from two thirds of all elected senators; the number was later changed to three fifths of all elected senators. For the next sixty years, the filibuster continued to be used sparingly.

    In 1975, though, the Senate made a change that made it significantly easier to filibuster by adopting rules that allow other business to be conducted while a filibuster is, technically underway. Since 1975, senators have not needed to stand up on the floor and make their case to their colleagues and their constituents in order to halt legislation. Instead, these “virtual filibusters” can be conducted in absentia.

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  13. TopTop #7
    occihoff's Avatar
    occihoff
     

    Re: Harry Reid Supports Ending the Filibuster. Do you??

    Thanks for the info, Barry. I must say, though, that this doesn't make the filibuster sound any more appetizing to me!
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  15. TopTop #8
    forveterans49's Avatar
    forveterans49
     

    Re: Harry Reid Supports Ending the Filibuster. Do you??

    All I think of is the wonderful and inspiring movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" with Jimmy Stewart. We have to be able to filibuster!!!!!
    Last edited by Barry; 08-15-2019 at 12:47 PM.
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    Valley Oak's Avatar
    Valley Oak
     

    Re: Harry Reid Supports Ending the Filibuster. Do you??

    Abolition of the filibuster has been long overdue for more than a half century.

    Better yet, it never should have been created in the first place. Other post-industrialized democracies like the US do NOT have a filibuster. Once the debate has finished, there is a vote. Period. The nation moves on to the next order of legislative business. This way, the country and all of its citizens do not get hung up indefinitely on just one issue, which is urgent to pass because it is needed.

    The filibuster is a gross, unnecessary, and destructive stumbling block to democracy. All democratic countries around the world, such as the UK, our closest allies, Germany, France, Canada---in short, everyone, scratch their heads over the lunacy of the American filibuster. The filibuster has always been used and abused by racists in the US who despised equality for African-Americans and all other progressive legislation.

    Abolish the filibuster now!
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