Filibuster Phase-Out

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"Filibuster Phase-Out"

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Nicholas Stephanopoulos has a piece in TNR advocating a delayed implementation of a return to majority rule in the US Senate. Something like taking a vote in 2009 to say that as of 2017 filibustering won’t be allowed anymore:

By then, even a potential second Obama term would have ended. Every sitting senator would have faced re-election at least once. And, most importantly, there is no way to know which party would be in the majority and which would be in the minority.

I’m fine with that idea. I’m skeptical, however, that it gets at the real issue. If we actually were in a situation where Democrats were clamoring for a restoration of majority rule and Republicans were blocking it, then I think a clever compromise would be just what the doctor ordered. But as best I can tell only Tom Harkin has any real interest in doing this. A few public option stalwarts, like Sherrod Brown, have pressed for the use of reconciliation to do health care. But even on this proponents of majority rule seem to be a minority of the Democratic caucus. Which is to say that the issue is less that Republicans are insisting on the filibuster in order to preserve their ability to block legislation than it is that Democrats are insisting on a supermajority rule in order to preserve each individual member’s ability to make demands.

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