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(The New York Times)   Filibuster, tool of the devil or legitimate tool for the Senate? Here comes the science (if you believe the opinion of four professionals is science.)   (nytimes.com) divider line 45
    More: Interesting, metric systems, Senate, filibusters, San Francisco State University, minority party  
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1235 clicks; posted to Politics » on 03 Dec 2012 at 11:12 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-03 09:08:24 AM
There was a very good conversation about the filibuster on Up With Chris on Saturday.

First four segments. Link 

The next three on the fiscal cliff, medicare, and taxes were excellent too.
 
2012-12-03 09:14:00 AM
They could keep it but actually make them hold to having to actually ACT on a filibuster rather than just threaten it. Let them get up and speak for days in a row straight if they really believe in something. Or they could lower the threshold to something over a simple majority but under 60.

This whole stopping EVERYTHING any time there are under 60 supporters has just gotten out of hand.
 
2012-12-03 09:14:38 AM
That depends on whether or not Democrats are using it.
 
2012-12-03 09:24:38 AM
Take taxes back to Clintonian levels. Take the filibuster rules back to the days of reading the phone book. Neither will ruin the republic, or even really make a blip on the radar. And they might just do some good.
 
2012-12-03 09:56:27 AM
Why is there a voting tool (filibuster) available to States' Representatives that is not available to the people?

Why does the Senate not work as you would expect in a representative democracy?
 
2012-12-03 10:04:45 AM

whistleridge: Take taxes back to Clintonian levels. Take the filibuster rules back to the days of reading the phone book. Neither will ruin the republic, or even really make a blip on the radar. And they might just do some good.


Some farker suggested that if you need 60 votes to break a fillibuster, you should have 40 votes to even start one, and like you say, they should have to stand there and talk.
 
2012-12-03 10:13:52 AM

mrshowrules: whistleridge: Take taxes back to Clintonian levels. Take the filibuster rules back to the days of reading the phone book. Neither will ruin the republic, or even really make a blip on the radar. And they might just do some good.

Some farker suggested that if you need 60 votes to break a fillibuster, you should have 40 votes to even start one, and like you say, they should have to stand there and talk.


Agreed.

Senators are, by and large, old men. Standing up and talking for 11 hours straight is physically taxing. It's easy at first, but it wears you down quickly. Which means you only do it when it's really. freaking. important. Like, 'you honestly believe this will destroy the republic' important.

It gets rid of the 'I kind of disagree with this minor judicial appointment and it costs me nothing so I'll filibuster' filibuster, and it restores some sense of perspective. It might also teach the right something about the value of compromise and having to actually work with those you disagree with.
 
2012-12-03 11:13:57 AM

hinten: Why is there a voting tool (filibuster) available to States' Representatives that is not available to the people?


For the same reason that Congress doesn't have a private army.
 
2012-12-03 11:16:32 AM
Seems pretty simple to me. If you're the minority party it's sacred. If you're the majority party it's sacrilege. And the majority party will eventually be the minority party.
 
2012-12-03 11:17:06 AM
It is my understanding that congressmen no longer have to be present to filibuster. If they are going to waste time like petulant children, make them stand and talk......read the farking dictionary.....whatever.
 
2012-12-03 11:18:06 AM
The filibuster is crap. When you lose an election, you lose and your opponents ideas become policy. That is democracy.
 
2012-12-03 11:19:39 AM

hinten: Why is there a voting tool (filibuster) available to States' Representatives that is not available to the people?


Because we are not a direct democracy.
 
2012-12-03 11:22:23 AM

WorldCitizen: They could keep it but actually make them hold to having to actually ACT on a filibuster rather than just threaten it. Let them get up and speak for days in a row straight if they really believe in something. Or they could lower the threshold to something over a simple majority but under 60.

This whole stopping EVERYTHING any time there are under 60 supporters has just gotten out of hand.


They could also reverse the question; instead of needing 60 senators to shut off debate, make it so you need 41 senators to continue debating. The bonus part about this is you force all the filibustering senators to put their names on record instead of the "anonymous hold" nonsense.
 
2012-12-03 11:22:37 AM
It's a good and noble when the DNC uses it.

A tool of the debil when the GOP uses it.

/the more you know.
 
2012-12-03 11:25:28 AM

Holocaust Agnostic: The filibuster is crap. When you lose an election, you lose and your opponents ideas become policy. That is democracy.


Tyranny of the majority is a perversion of democracy. If Republicans are in the majority someday and decide to pass their "Poor People Into Soylent Green" bill, the time to stop it is not during an election several years later. The minority party should have a mechanism to put the brakes on things, but it should be harder to use than it is now.
 
2012-12-03 11:26:58 AM
It's a tool. But like any other tool, if you overuse or abuse it, it will break. I don't complain to a razor I've been using for six weeks when it scratches the hell out of my face when I'm shaving, or complain to a woodcutting sawblade when it goes dull trying to cut stainless steel - I just fix the problem.

And Republicans have been abusing the hell out of the filibuster.
 
2012-12-03 11:27:01 AM

skipjack: It's a good and noble when the DNC uses it.

A tool of the debil when the GOP uses it.

/the more you know.


It's obstructionism when Democrats occasionally filibuster, but generally let Republicans get away with a lot of shiat (Iraq war, PATRIOT act, tax cuts, etc.)

It's PATRIOTISM when Republicans stonewall *everything* and get the nation's credit rating downgraded.
 
2012-12-03 11:27:21 AM

WorldCitizen: They could keep it but actually make them hold to having to actually ACT on a filibuster rather than just threaten it. Let them get up and speak for days in a row straight if they really believe in something. Or they could lower the threshold to something over a simple majority but under 60.

This whole stopping EVERYTHING any time there are under 60 supporters has just gotten out of hand.


This. I have no problem with the filibuster if they can man up and talk for three days straight. Once you pass out, the filibuster is over.
 
2012-12-03 11:28:45 AM
Not only should they have to actually stand there and talk, there should be a camera on them the entire time. It should be recorded and shown on cspan. If someone wants to stop the Government, everyone should be able to see them stop it and know why they think it's so important to do so.
 
2012-12-03 11:32:21 AM

lemurs: Holocaust Agnostic: The filibuster is crap. When you lose an election, you lose and your opponents ideas become policy. That is democracy.

Tyranny of the majority is a perversion of democracy. If Republicans are in the majority someday and decide to pass their "Poor People Into Soylent Green" bill, the time to stop it is not during an election several years later. The minority party should have a mechanism to put the brakes on things, but it should be harder to use than it is now.


This little catchphrase infuriates me. There can be no "tyranny" of anything when said party in the majority was ELECTED to be there. That is democracy.

Anyone that whines about the dangers of eliminating the filibuster, using the potential for Republicans to take the majority in the future as an excuse, is too goddamn cowardly to be governing anyways. If the voters want Republicans in the majority, then they'll get what they deserve.
 
2012-12-03 11:34:24 AM

lemurs: Holocaust Agnostic: The filibuster is crap. When you lose an election, you lose and your opponents ideas become policy. That is democracy.

Tyranny of the majority is a perversion of democracy. If Republicans are in the majority someday and decide to pass their "Poor People Into Soylent Green" bill, the time to stop it is not during an election several years later. The minority party should have a mechanism to put the brakes on things, but it should be harder to use than it is now.


Your defense against "tyranny" is not the legistatue itself. Its the courts.
 
2012-12-03 11:43:21 AM
 
2012-12-03 11:54:07 AM

Kuta: This article is good. FTA: " In an interview on Up w/ Chris Hayes Saturday, Alan Frumin, who served as the parliamentarian of the Senate for nearly two decades until he retired last year, said he supported changes that would forbid senators from filibustering bills before they reach the floor for debate. Frumin also said he favored changes that would bar senators from blocking bills once those bills have passed the Senate and are ready to move to a conference committee with the House."


This is my biggest issue with the Fillibuster. Even supposing you believe filibuster is a useful tool in a representative Democracy, filibuster bills ... don't filibuster debate on the bill. When Olympia Snowe won't even allow so much as a discussion of the DREAM Act to take the Senate Floor under Obama, when she outright supported a DREAM Act under Bush, the Filibuster is not being used as a useful tool for Democracy. She's just trying to attempt to shield herself from having to vote on record that would make her look like the partisan shill and hypocrite she ultimately is (or at least became as a Senator under Obama). There were several instances of GOP Senators voting for Bills they initially tried to fillibuster.
 
2012-12-03 11:55:58 AM

WorldCitizen: They could keep it but actually make them hold to having to actually ACT on a filibuster rather than just threaten it. Let them get up and speak for days in a row straight if they really believe in something. Or they could lower the threshold to something over a simple majority but under 60.

This whole stopping EVERYTHING any time there are under 60 supporters has just gotten out of hand.


Agree completely. If someone wants to filibuster he should be made to go through with looking like an asinine obstructionist. Right now it's way too easy to filibuster by simply announcing your intent.
 
2012-12-03 11:58:08 AM

whistleridge:
It gets rid of the 'I want abortion outlawed, everybody to be forced to own at least two assault rifles with extended clips (lol, i love calling them clips) and think Obama should submit to a full DNA/IQ test to determine exactly how black he is and where he was born, and I want his college records and I want to examine his secret muslim brotherhood ring, so i'm going to stop absolutely every bit of legislation and appointments and whatever that functions in the Senate until I get what I want, so I'll filibuster' filibuster, and it restores some sense of perspective. It might also teach the right something about the value of compromise and having to actually work with those you disagree with.

 

FTFY
 
2012-12-03 12:03:05 PM
Eliminating the supermajority requirement would allow the majority to control the Senate the way the House's majority controls it. The Senate will then soon have something like the House Rules Committee to enforce limited debate and control what amendments may be offered. The Senate majority leader will be as powerful as the speaker, and the heritage and historic purpose of the Senate will be gone.

This completely ignores that pretty much for the last 100 years the Senate has been a broken institution because "heritage" and tradition has allowed more power to be invested in individuals than majorities. Countless appointments never happen because a single senator puts a hold on a nominee as leverage to get a concession in a totally unrelated matter.
 
2012-12-03 12:05:29 PM
Screw Mr. Smith. The 'buster needs to go. And riders on bills. They both cause clutter and excuses.

Just vote and move on. And the committee system sucks too.

USA A-OK
 
2012-12-03 12:08:57 PM

WorldCitizen: They could keep it but actually make them hold to having to actually ACT on a filibuster rather than just threaten it. Let them get up and speak for days in a row straight if they really believe in something. Or they could lower the threshold to something over a simple majority but under 60.

This whole stopping EVERYTHING any time there are under 60 supporters has just gotten out of hand.


I strongly recommend reading the Barbara Sinclair piece. The "make them talk" approach isn't the fix, because it doesn't address WHY they seldom even have to bother. The critical problem is that there is disproportionate burden on those who want the debate to close, and a miniscule burden on those who want to prevent it. Preventing cloture requires two Senators: one to talk, and one to periodically call for a quorum count. Lack of a quorum automatically prevents "debate" from having to continue. So, those who want cloture must maintain 49 Senators in the senate chamber throughout. As a result of the immense and disproportionate burden in the majority, no-one needs to bother carrying out the threat.

One solution would seem to be for the majority to be a lot more vicious about anyone in the minority leaving during the filibuster. The Senate can have the sergeant-at-arms compel the presence of its own members by simple majority vote. You have 47 Republican senators who want to filibuster? Fine. Any of them try to leave, a pair of Democrats make-and-second an immediate motion to have them dragged back in the moment they step out the door. Of course, Republicans can try this too, but as long as there's a margin, a couple Democrats can step out to check in the office but still prevent the Republican motion-to-arrest. Filibusters remain burdensome to the majority, but are at least equally onerous to the minority.

This might not even require a rules change, since it's effectively an exercise of the congressional power of Inherent Contempt; however, IAmNotAParlimentarian am not sure on that. It might require an alteration of the Quorum or Precedent Of Motions rules.
 
2012-12-03 12:27:21 PM

abb3w: WorldCitizen: They could keep it but actually make them hold to having to actually ACT on a filibuster rather than just threaten it. Let them get up and speak for days in a row straight if they really believe in something. Or they could lower the threshold to something over a simple majority but under 60.

This whole stopping EVERYTHING any time there are under 60 supporters has just gotten out of hand.

I strongly recommend reading the Barbara Sinclair piece. The "make them talk" approach isn't the fix, because it doesn't address WHY they seldom even have to bother. The critical problem is that there is disproportionate burden on those who want the debate to close, and a miniscule burden on those who want to prevent it. Preventing cloture requires two Senators: one to talk, and one to periodically call for a quorum count. Lack of a quorum automatically prevents "debate" from having to continue. So, those who want cloture must maintain 49 Senators in the senate chamber throughout. As a result of the immense and disproportionate burden in the majority, no-one needs to bother carrying out the threat.

One solution would seem to be for the majority to be a lot more vicious about anyone in the minority leaving during the filibuster. The Senate can have the sergeant-at-arms compel the presence of its own members by simple majority vote. You have 47 Republican senators who want to filibuster? Fine. Any of them try to leave, a pair of Democrats make-and-second an immediate motion to have them dragged back in the moment they step out the door. Of course, Republicans can try this too, but as long as there's a margin, a couple Democrats can step out to check in the office but still prevent the Republican motion-to-arrest. Filibusters remain burdensome to the majority, but are at least equally onerous to the minority.

This might not even require a rules change, since it's effectively an exercise of the congressional power of Inherent Contempt; however, IAmNotAParlimentarian a ...


This is great, except both sides still want to abuse the right to blame the other side so I doubt either side would agree to this, its just a show put on for the people...
 
2012-12-03 12:46:53 PM

Ready-set: And the committee system sucks too.


Lolwut?

How the hell are you proposing to run a national legislature without committees?
 
2012-12-03 01:15:40 PM
I think actual filibusters are a legitimate tool for people to stand up to legislation they strongly oppose... I think when you water it down so all you have to do is send an angry letter of intent, it becomes a tool by which the minority party tries to screw the whole country until they can find a way to regain power.
 
2012-12-03 01:22:42 PM

Zagloba: Ready-set: And the committee system sucks too.

Lolwut?

How the hell are you proposing to run a national legislature without committees?


The system does suck, moreso in the house than the Senate. People get appointed to committees that are well outside of their area of knowledge because they perceive power in the appointments. So we end up with an energy committee chair who doesnt believe in tectonic plates, a science committee chair that doesn't believe in biochemistry (also authored SOPA, total tool). The reality is that these committees keep things from coming to votes, or put them up for votes based on what lobbyists say, because the congresspeople themselves don't grasp the issues or believe in the science/math driving the legislation in the first place.
 
2012-12-03 01:28:20 PM

thornhill: This completely ignores that pretty much for the last 100 years the Senate has been a broken institution because "heritage" and tradition has allowed more power to be invested in individuals than majorities. Countless appointments never happen because a single senator puts a hold on a nominee as leverage to get a concession in a totally unrelated matter.


The Senate has always awarded more power to individuals than majorities. It's been abused a lot lately, but the smaller size of the Senate means that just about every Senator has a big role somewhere, and you have to address their concerns on a bill if you don't want your little pet concerns stamped down in committee. The longer and staggered terms give the body an institutional memory, and that, combined with the size, really forces them to play nice. In the House, you're unlikely to know most other members from the other party, and you'll probably only have a passing familiarity with many members of your own. Because Committees are larger, it's easy to bypass the concerns of one or two members here or there, so you can easily marginalize the nuts and create majority rule.

All that, under normal circumstances, combines for a more reasoned and cautious body, while the House will be reactionary and often extreme. That's as designed. But the rules like filibusters and holds were designed as expedients that reinforced and institutionalized traditional senatorial courtesies. There's been a concerted effort to abuse them, so you need to just get rid of the expedients that make it easy. Force them to build relationships again if they want the courtesy of a hold.

The Senate is designed to force debate and reasoned compromise. It's generally worked pretty well to those ends. But there aren't a whole lot of institutions that work well when a little less than half the members are working together in bad faith.

Zagloba: Ready-set: And the committee system sucks too.

Lolwut?

How the hell are you proposing to run a national legislature without committees?


He'll probably start railing against staffs next.
 
2012-12-03 01:32:11 PM

firefly212: Zagloba: Ready-set: And the committee system sucks too.

Lolwut?

How the hell are you proposing to run a national legislature without committees?

The system does suck, moreso in the house than the Senate. People get appointed to committees that are well outside of their area of knowledge because they perceive power in the appointments. So we end up with an energy committee chair who doesnt believe in tectonic plates, a science committee chair that doesn't believe in biochemistry (also authored SOPA, total tool). The reality is that these committees keep things from coming to votes, or put them up for votes based on what lobbyists say, because the congresspeople themselves don't grasp the issues or believe in the science/math driving the legislation in the first place.


Yeah- that's an issue with the Republican party, not the committee structure. Stop electing whackadoodles to power, and you don't get whackadoodles heading committees. Take a look at the ranking members and Democratic membership of those various committees, and they all look pretty well placed.
 
2012-12-03 01:32:16 PM

Philip Francis Queeg: hinten: Why is there a voting tool (filibuster) available to States' Representatives that is not available to the people?

Because we are not a direct democracy.


You couldn't manage your outrage to actually make it to my second sentence?
 
2012-12-03 01:32:51 PM
It is a fair tool, WHEN it comes at the cost of potentially humiliating the politician who leverages it. Eliminating the need to actually stand there like a buffoon speaking for hours on end effectively eliminates any cost to invoke it, thus there isn't the pressure to only utilize it when one has true heartfelt feelings surrounding the issue at hand. There needs to be political skin in the game. If, for example, you want to filibuster a bill to help injured war veterans, then you should have to stand in front of C-Span for umpteen hours so the American people can see what you stand for (pun not intended).
 
2012-12-03 02:06:17 PM
The threat has the same weight as the act.

/you.lazy.bastards
 
2012-12-03 02:29:41 PM

LordJiro: It's obstructionism when Democrats occasionally filibuster, but generally let Republicans get away with a lot of shiat (Iraq war, PATRIOT act, tax cuts, etc.)


Most of the Dems were for all that. They didn't "let the Republicans get away with it."
 
2012-12-03 02:31:06 PM

un4gvn666: There can be no "tyranny" of anything when said party in the majority was ELECTED to be there.


That is one of the dumbest things I've ever read on fark. Congrats.
 
2012-12-03 02:41:18 PM

InmanRoshi: This is my biggest issue with the Fillibuster. Even supposing you believe filibuster is a useful tool in a representative Democracy, filibuster bills ... don't filibuster debate on the bill.


There's actually a good reason for allowing that. If a bill is headed to the floor and a Senator doesn't know much about how it could affect their state they can put a hold on it while they collect more information. Like, say a senator from Louisiana sees a bill dealing with the shrimp industry coming onto the floor and they suddenly realize they know nothing about how shrimping in their state works. Gives them time to come up with an argument for/against the bill.

Now, the last time it was actually used like that? Fark if I know.
 
2012-12-03 02:52:58 PM
Bernie Sanders filibuster was the right way to do it, even though it failed to stop the extension of the Bush tax cuts.
 
2012-12-03 03:53:31 PM

abb3w: I strongly recommend reading the Barbara Sinclair piece. The "make them talk" approach isn't the fix, because it doesn't address WHY they seldom even have to bother. The critical problem is that there is disproportionate burden on those who want the debate to close, and a miniscule burden on those who want to prevent it. Preventing cloture requires two Senators: one to talk, and one to periodically call for a quorum count. Lack of a quorum automatically prevents "debate" from having to continue. So, those who want cloture must maintain 49 Senators in the senate chamber throughout. As a result of the immense and disproportionate burden in the majority, no-one needs to bother carrying out the threat.

One solution would seem to be for the majority to be a lot more vicious about anyone in the minority leaving during the filibuster. The Senate can have the sergeant-at-arms compel the presence of its own members by simple majority vote. You have 47 Republican senators who want to filibuster? Fine. Any of them try to leave, a pair of Democrats make-and-second an immediate motion to have them dragged back in the moment they step out the door. Of course, Republicans can try this too, but as long as there's a margin, a couple Democrats can step out to check in the office but still prevent the Republican motion-to-arrest. Filibusters remain burdensome to the majority, but are at least equally onerous to the minority.



Not a shot at you, but the fact that anything you wrote there is actually relevant - in the context of governing a nation and problem solving global issues - is a farking joke.
 
2012-12-03 05:17:52 PM
I don't like this filibuster crap; however, I'd rather nothing get done now than remove it and have republicans possibly gaining control of the senate repealing Medicare, Social Security and forcing through anti-abortion, Christian Sharia law amendments.
 
2012-12-03 07:19:42 PM
As it currently stands it's complete bullshiat. If you don't have the balls and stamina to stand up and jabber for hours for your position then GTFO!
 
2012-12-03 11:07:16 PM

Khellendros: Not a shot at you, but the fact that anything you wrote there is actually relevant - in the context of governing a nation and problem solving global issues - is a farking joke.


Hey, parlimentary procedure squabbles are an improvement over civil war.
So far, anyway.
 
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