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While I like the idea of an actual filibuster coming back and forcing those who would filibuster an action in the senate to actually stand on the floor the whole time, I don't think it's really enough. Seems to me there should be some other limits on the filibuster. Basically I'd like to see limits on how often it can be used by either party in any given year. Ending the one-senator holds is an obvious thing to do, but even as a party, there should be a limit of say 10 or 20 times a year when the filibuster could be used. It could even have a decreasing vote limit to override the filibuster and proceed.

As an example:

The GOP starts the 2013 session with 20 filibusters requiring a 60 vote limit to override and proceed. After they have used 2 the required number of votes to proceed drops to 59. After 2 more 58 until finally after 18 uses the number of votes to proceed is 51.

These numbers are just off the top of my head, but it would force both sides to actually think about when and where they use their privileges and thus allow the Senate to actually get some work done. Obviously this would require the Parliamentarian to keep score and track the use of the filibuster by both parties and that would require the group leader to actually announce to they are using one of their stoppages. It would also then require each caucus to actually work together and shut down a lot of rogue filibusters.

There would also have to be rules too prevent the majority party from renaming/working a bill to force the other side to burn their filibuster count. Perhaps based on budgetary costs thus preventing the majority party from taking a major bill that has been filibustered, tacking it on as a rider to a small meaningless bill and calling for another vote. The Parliamentarian or CBO could be the judges on these matters, but I'd leave the details to those who know the inner workings far better than I do.

For me this seems like such a common sense suggestion I am surprised I haven't read about it, though for all I know other diarists have suggested it and I have missed it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Progress 365 not just a slogan a goal - 300 progressive seats in the House and 65 progressive seats in the Senate.

    by jusjtim35 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 10:23:50 AM PST

  •  I was kind of disappointed this morning when (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jusjtim35, Miggles

    I opened an email from my senator, Tom Udall. The petition I signed only referred to actual standing on the floor filibustering. When he and Sen Merkley first brought it up, it seems to me there was something about having several votes on the same bill, each one requiring fewer votes to pass. It shouldn't have to do with how many prior filibusters there have been, as many times the Repukes filibustered nonsense bills. Each bill should stand on its own.

    •  Saw the same email and wondered as well. It (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      uses the euphemism "reform" for whatever way they hope to tweak the filibuster.  I think they should outright eliminate it.  That is far simpler, and everyone can live with the new consequences and reality, even if that means Democrats find themselves in the minority some years down the road.  Plenty of other western democracies are getting along fine without the filibuster.

      •  The problem is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sewaneepat, moonbatlulu

        if you eliminate the filibuster and Republicans get the majority again, there will be hell to pay. I'm for the "make them stand up and filibuster" plan. That way, when the Republicans decide to filibuster, say, spending on veteran's health care, America will actually SEE who is doing this. Makes it a whole lot easier to vote the scum out of office when you have video. this election proved that, if nothing else.

  •  A simpler idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Something I heard on Fresh Air last week.

    First, there's only one chance to filibuster-- on the motion to end debate. Currently, there are two openings for filibuster, once to start debate and another to end it.

    Second, rather than putting the burden on the majority by requiring 60 votes to proceed; put the burden on the minority by requiring 40 votes to block cloture. That means the filibustering contingent would need to be in continuous attendance at the Senate to sustain a filibuster. If the numbers drop, the majority can instantly call a vote on cloture and win.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 10:59:32 AM PST

    •  No, too strict (0+ / 0-)

      Suppose (I know it's tedious to keep mentioning this, but it's necessary) that it's us in the minority.  Suppose we're filibustering night and day to prevent, oh, say, Donald Trump's appointment to the Supreme Court.  Suppose one of our Senators keels over with a heart attack out of pure indignation.  Boom, filibuster over, done deal?  

      I could see requiring some number of opposition senators to be in attendance, not just the one speaking... but ALL of them?

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 11:13:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ok, not all, and not one - how about half? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        or three-quarters or 80%?

        Half seems too lenient, and 100% too strict, so somewhere close to 75% or 80% required in attendance throughout debate might be apt.   They could even be permitted a "sleep period" with only a handful required overnight.

        If we were in the minority, I think we could handle that - it would still be a hardship, and it would limit the number of attempts, but it could be done if the Senators felt strongly enough.

        What's good about this discussion is that it helps us design a moderate solution that we would be ok with if it were applied to our side if/when it is in the minority.

        •  I agree that more than 1 senator in attendance (0+ / 0-)

          would be an important measure.  Half seems like perhaps a good target.

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:49:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  no, the rule requiring them to actually be the in (0+ / 0-)

    the Senate chambers is the best one ... every two years the Senate gets to change its rules, and if the rethugs ever regain control of the Senate again, they will immediately make majority rule just that ..majority rule ...

    Do not fall victim to the "just think what the Republicans will do if they regain control" ploy ... the Republicans will do it, no matter what ... they will do it ...

    and one thing also ... the President has the right to nominate and the Senate to advise and Consent ... so let that happen ... the Presidential nominees must be  allowed an up or down vote ... no games here .. this is the one area that must be exempt from filibustering .. it must incumbent upon the Senators to bring up in committe their objections and proof that someone is not fit for the job

    Give your heart a real workout! Love your enemies!

    by moonbatlulu on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 03:03:42 PM PST

    •  They mustn't have unlimited & easy filibusters (0+ / 0-)

      Right now, they have both unlimited and easy ability to filibuster or hold up nominations.   The Democrats didn't abuse these, but the Republicans constantly abuse them, and so the system of rules needs to be rebalanced.

      I like the diarists general approach, which is to give the minority only a limited number of filibuster opportunities.  If they only have that number, they will need to manage them carefully, so as to always have the opportunity to use it when they most need it.

      Maybe there could be a hybrid put forth, which would be to always allow the old filibuster as an option to the minority party, recognizing that these can only be mounted rarely, and to provide a limited number of holds and filibusters in addition (whether it is 1 hold per 6-year Senatorial term, for example, and 1 mini-filibuster per term, or whatever the number would have to be to allow the Senate to make progress).  Once a Senator has used up their 1 hold and their 1 filibuster, they're done until re-elected (on average, that would amount to less than 10 holds per year and less than 10 filibusters per year by each party, which still seems like too many .... hmm.....

      •  that is what I am arguing for - the Jimmy Stewart (0+ / 0-)

        type, except instead of just 1 person in the Senate Chamber ..all 40 filibuster supporters must be in the Chamber ... and no holds for longer than 24 hours and only one per person and one per bill or amendment ....

        But the one thing that must be done away with:
        Requiring 60 votes to progress on an issue ....

        Instead make it the opposite  Requires 40 votes in the Chamber and recorded to delay action on an issue ... and the only way a bill is abandoned is if it is voted down by the majority ... in other words, filibuster is a delay but not a death knell

        Give your heart a real workout! Love your enemies!

        by moonbatlulu on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:02:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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