January 22, 2010
With Tuesday's loss, Democrats have only 57 senators, and the media is declaring this a major public rejection of the Democratic Party. It is useful to note, however, that with Tuesday's win, the Republicans have only 41 senators. In fact, Republicans have not had as many as 57 sitting senators since 1921. No Republican president has had a "filibuster-proof" majority in the U.S. Senate since the shortened term of Warren G. Harding. Again this year, Democrats have not distinguished themselves.
January 13, 2010
While "Google" makes sense for word of the decade from a social perspective ["Google," Style, Jan. 9], "filibuster" has been more significant in terms of its impact on American lives. Legislative progress in this country has been stifled for the past 10 years by the threat of the filibuster, which requires that a supermajority of U.S. senators back a bill before it can pass. And as we have seen in the health-care debate, it is difficult to get 60 senators to agree on anything.
September 29, 2012
In his Sept. 25 Fine Print column, " A day in the dysfunctional life of the Senate ," Walter Pincus stated that no one seems to have a plan to get Congress working again. Under the current rules, the minority party has no incentive to compromise, only to obstruct. That is why in 1995, as a member of the then-minority party, I introduced a proposal to reform the filibuster. I believed, as I do now, that filibuster-induced paralysis would...
December 4, 2012 |
Perhaps it was inevitable that a parliamentary rule named after pirates would metastasize into an untamed menace. Throughout its unlikely history, the filibuster has been – depending on the moment – lauded and scorned and even immortalized by Hollywood . A Senate relic, dry as parchment, has gained the sort of colorful reputation normally reserved for troubled starlets (or troubled generals). Now, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid proposes, as others have in the past, to finally rein in the beast.
September 27, 2012 |
Here's my plea to Jim Lehrer: At the first presidential debate in Denver next Wednesday, ask the candidates if they are in favor of restoring majority rule in this country. In other words, ask them if they would urge the Senate to scrap the filibuster — and if not, how do they expect to get anything done? It's an ideal debate question for five reasons. First, it's not the kind of thing on which the candidates will have prepared snoozy, market-tested talking points. So it might give voters the chance to see Mitt...
February 8, 2010 |
CORRECTION: A graphic with the article about moves to change Senate rules on filibusters misstated the duration of a filibuster by William Proxmire (D- Wis.) on a 1981 bill to raise the debt ceiling. It lasted 16 hours, 12 minutes, not 6 hours, 12 minutes. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) chuckled as he recently reflected on his effort, five years ago, to change nearly century-old filibuster rules. "God, that was a dumb idea," McConnell said. Back in 2005, McConnell had "majority" in his...