Should Congress get rid of the filibuster? | The Tylt

Should Congress get rid of the filibuster?

As they make the rounds on the campaign trail, presidential candidates are being asked about their opinion on the filibuster. The tactic, which allows one senator to completely block any bill or debate by talking non-stop on the Senate floor, has been contentious for decades. The only way to end a filibuster is with a "cloture" vote, requiring a two-thirds majority in favor. Many people see the filibuster as a waste of time that prevents actual governing. Others say it protects the rights of the minority party. What do you think?

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Should Congress get rid of the filibuster?
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As NPR explains, the filibuster isn't anywhere in the U.S. Constitution, the filibuster just formed somewhat naturally. For the entire existence of the Senate, a supermajority—typically 60 or more votes—to "end debate and move forward to final vote." In 2013, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ended the ability to filibuster lower court and executive nominations after facing excessive filibusters from the Republican minority. Senators can, however, still filibuster legislation.

Activists are now pushing presidential candidates to end the filibuster in totality.

They're calling on Democratic candidates to endorse ending the legislative filibuster, which requires support from at least 60 senators — in almost all cases, that means bipartisan support — to pass most bills. "In order to actually pass a big, bold pro-democracy package, or a big, bold climate package, or a health care package, we're going to need to be able to do that with 51 votes," said Ezra Levin, the co-founder of the grassroots organizing group the Indivisible Project.
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Many of these presidential candidates are reticent to agree to end the filibuster. As Vox explains, minority parties frequently use the filibuster to make sure they aren't steamrolled by the majority. In our hyper-partisan era, the filibuster is really the only tool available to the minority party to assert its will. 

[T]he filibuster can protect the minority party (or a minority faction that might not correspond to a party) and prevent a party that holds a majority in both houses along with the presidency from using a fleeting advantage to push through an agenda with long-term consequences. Sometimes reference is made to the apocryphal George Washington quote about the Senate as the saucer that cools the hot coffee of the more representative House, though even if Washington ever said that, it was more than a century before the filibuster emerged.
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New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie writes the filibuster does dramatic damage to the public perspective of Congress. When a small minority of senators can refuse to even allow a vote on legislation with a filibuster, they put the functionality of the entire system in question. Bouie explains the founders themselves did not support supermajority requirements and certainly didn't imagine the use of the filibuster.

...[T]he men who structured the Senate didn’t envision a filibuster or supermajority requirement. Indeed, they were quite wary of such requirements, which they blamed for the disorder of American government under the Articles of Confederation. “If a pertinacious minority can control the opinion of a majority,” wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 22, then “the majority, in order that something may be done, must conform to the views of the minority.” This dynamic would “give a tone to the national proceedings,” resulting in “tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromises of the public good.”
...In the 20th century, recalcitrant senators used the filibuster to block or delay anti-lynching laws, bans on poll taxes, bans on literacy tests, and other civil rights laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was nearly killed by a filibuster. In recent decades, routine use of the filibuster has made it difficult for presidents to pursue their agendas and for Congress to pass major legislation. In turn, it has obscured democratic accountability and made voters feel less efficacious — when voting majorities to power isn’t enough to change the way things are, it’s fair to wonder if electoral politics is worth the trouble.
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Democratic legislators, including some presidential candidates, are wary of ending the filibuster. The party recently regained control of the House and feel they can make advances in the Senate in 2020, but they have yet to forget the disadvantage they have been at for so many years as the minority party. According to HuffPost, many of these lawmakers believe the filibuster needs to be maintained as a safeguard against a majority party taking too many liberties in the future. 

“No, I’m not crazy about getting rid of the filibuster,” [Sen. Bernie] Sanders said in an interview with CBS that aired on Tuesday when asked whether he supports getting rid of the chamber’s longstanding 60-vote threshold on legislation.
“The problem is, people often talk about the lack of comity, but the real issue is you have a system in Washington that is dominated by wealthy campaign contributors,” he added.
“...If last year we did not have the filibuster, the Trump administration and the GOP majority could have rammed through an incredible range of laws that those same progressive groups would find incredibly destructive,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said.
Other Democratic presidential hopefuls also share concerns about going nuclear to kill the filibuster, including Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should Congress get rid of the filibuster?
A festive crown for the winner
#YouTalkWayTooMuch
#ILoveFilibusters