Should the filibuster be changed, and how?

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison is among a group of congressmen who are suing to halt the use of the filibuster in the Senate. Ellison argues that the filibuster, under Senate rules, improperly blocks legislation that the House has voted on. Today’s Question: Should the filibuster be changed, and how?

  • Duane

    I wonder if Rep Ellison knows that the Senate rules already forbids the use of the filibuster on Budget related bills. That is why Majority Leader Reid had not allowed any of the three house budget bill to be taken up by the Senate. If he had allowed these bill to be taken up by the Senate, his Democratic members would have been forced to vote on them. Weak leadership on the part of the Democratic caucus is the major reason for the Fiscal Cliff dilemma we have today.

  • Kurt

    The Party in power always wants to do away with the filibuster, but it’s there for a reason. Legislation is supposed to be difficult so that the parties work out their differences and so that the minority is not impotent against the tyranny of the majority. I’m sure Mr. Ellison was for the filibuster (in the reign of Bush) before he was against it.

  • Gary F

    How short sighted of him. Someday his party is going to need it.

  • Mark

    It should be gotten rid of completely becuase the Constitution gives specific reasons for requiring more than a simple majority for any legislation in the Senate (Treaties).

    Since that will never happen, at least the minority should be required to actually talk for extended periods of time, Mr. Smith-style (the way everyone thinks it works).

  • Steve the Cynic

    The chief effect of the filibuster is to insulate the people from the consequences of bad citizenship. It should absolutely be abolished.

    The key reason more people don’t take elections seriously is that they believe elections don’t matter. They’re partly right, and the filibuster is largely to blame. They vote, their side wins, the minority blocks change, and disillusion is the result. So, people can either not vote or vote for extremist hotheads, with few negative consequences. Abolishing the filibuster would make elections matter more, which would encourage more thoughtful citizenship.

  • Clark

    I would question any proposal by Keith Ellison. as very very bad for anyone who actually works and make an income above the minimum wage.

    Watched this clueless congressman interviewed on CNBC several times and if there is any question related to math, he is a deer in the headlights. Rambles on about fairness or some other leftist crap.

    As far as making elections matter more, ever heard of Marion Barry, Elected after video tape of using crack with a DC whore. Can voters be trusted or should the filibuster prevent the congress from over reaching.

    We need some protection from the idiots and morons elected to congress. I no longer have any trust in the majority to do the right thing for our future now that the moocher class has reached the 50% barrier.

  • John

    Just because of his ethnic and religious background does not make this guy good. He’s part of the problem.

    If we are going to change the system we should have public executions of our representatives regularly until they perform what the majority want.

  • Steve the Cynic

    That’s exactly the point, Clark. Voters can’t be trusted, because the filibuster removes the incentive to be trustworthy. Remove the filibuster, and after the chaos of a couple of whipsaw elections, people would be forced to wise up, which would result in long-term stability.

  • Jim G

    The simple fact of the matter is the Senate doesn’t work anymore and hasn’t for decades. This is the reason why it has become the black hole of Congress where bills are forever kept circling the event horizon. The filibuster use to require the physical presence of the Senators doing the filibuster as in the classic movie “Mr. Smith goes to Washington.” In the movie Mr. Smith, Jimmy Stewart’s character, fought a political machine by single-handedly speaking on the Senate floor. It hasn’t worked that way for a long, long time. Now a raised right eyebrow, if you will, effectively stops all progress of bills in the Senate.

    Bring back the rules the fictional Mr. Smith was forced to follow. Then we’d see a real theater of the absurd- and we’d find out who really is on the side of the Middle Class when these Senators filibuster on behalf of their donors.

  • GregX

    the filibuster rule must be changed. It has been abused by both parties to such an extent that just the threat of using it stymies actual legislative discussion of and action on issues in the senate.

    (1) require that only one individual may offer to filibuster and (i) must be physically present to conduct it (ii) may not delegate or assign other to fulfill the role (iii) a vote of 51 is all that is required to end a filibuster.

    The senate is incapable of getting 2/3’rds to agree to anything.

  • GregX

    to Gary F. and to Clark …

    the filibuster was invented to allow the senate to dysfunction. the very thought that it is needed is the problem.

    if the public does not suffer the ignorance of its own decisions – it will not thoughtfully consider who it sends to congress.

    This filibuster is the tool that lets one idiot rule a given issue.

    I think the idea of an invisible “hold” on nominations is another senate rule that must be abolished. All Senate actions , governed by Senate rules, should be public record the instant they occur – except as defined by federal law or the constitution.

    Progress does not occur unless steps are taken.

  • GregX

    typeth John : “we should have public executions of our representatives regularly until they perform what the majority want”

    rubbish – unless we allow sharedholders and employees the same rights.

    short of that … we need to eliminate pebbles in the system – and filibuster is a pebble that stymies experimentation and growth.

    If America suffered 10 bad Senate actions from the majority Party in a single session – you can bet those responsible will likely be tossed out.

    But we Americans LOVE impedimentarians .. those who blindly use artificial powers to stop the creation of laws we dislike but often don’t actually understand. I for one have applauded the use of filibuster only to find that the law that was being halted – actually , upon review, made sense.

    the hurdle should be higher for working on laws – the filibuster is like the cliff’s note version of studying the proposed law – knowing just enough to like/dislike it – but not actually understanding the full range and impact of the law.

  • Mark DR

    The DFL controlled Senate has had over 4 years to address our countries spending problem. DFL reports Senate leader Reid refuses to have the discussion in public, he has refused to allow the House’s 32 economic bills to be voted upon because he knows some would pass. Look kids, we have a President that is almost as clueless as Rep. Waters and MN Rep Keith Ellison. Al are either stupid or blind to what is happening_ ya want to cut the deficit? OK, how about we stop this waste: Palestinian terrorists fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians and were rewarded with upgraded status at the United Nations.

    Egypt’s terrorist-led government is pushing through a new Shariah law based constitution and has declared martial law. Now, the Obama Administration is sending them 15 of our best F fighters, America’s best warplanes, enabling a scenario where U.S. made weapons could be aimed at Israel and later at our troops. never thought I’d see the day when our enemies just do as they please and laugh at us. Obama said in 2007, USA should not be the only super power or exceptional. Hmmm)

  • Steve the Cynic

    Mark DR, the DFL does not control the US Senate. It has never controlled the US Senate. That’s because the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party exists only in Minnesota. It’s the Minnesota branch of the Democratic Party. Which leads me to wonder, if you’re than misinformed about something so basic, what else are you going off half-cocked about?

  • Geddy

    I agree with Sen. Klobuchar’s call to return to a standing filibuster. The current pocket veto for every senator situation holds all Americans hostage. I think anyone who wants to filibuster has to stand up for it and talk until he or she wins the day or surrenders. Good ideas will have a better chance of standing and self-serving ideology will have a harder time passing into law.

  • Bear

    Look the good that happens when there is no filibuster. In Wisconsin and now Michigan, Republican legislators and Governors changed labor laws to weaken unions grip on productivity.

    Oh yea, in Wisconsin, irresponsible Democratic legislators did execute a form of filibuster. They left the state, abdicated the job they were elected to do, and deprived their constituencies of representation. And teachers left their classroom, at union request to protest, ignoring their classroom responsibilities. What a poor poor role model for their students.

  • Ann

    Threre should be some form of performance pay. For example, the party that filibusters too long would pay fees. There should be some way of making legislators pay the price other than waiting until election time.Taxpayers should be told exactly what is being proposed by each party and what is holding things up. I don’t have cable TV–so I don’t get C-Span.Busy taxpayers need to be told exactly what their legislators are doing in a manner that everyone can understand.

  • mark

    Of coarse we need filibuster reform. Instead of requiring 60 votes for cloture, require 41 votes on the floor to filibuster & restricted it to 1 filibuster per bill.

  • Linda in Plymouth

    As another said: Wisconsin, irresponsible Democratic legislators did execute a form of filibuster. They left the state, abdicated the job they were elected to do, and deprived their constituencies of representation. And teachers left their classroom, at union request to protest, ignoring their classroom responsibilities. What a poor poor role model for their students.”

    It was the Democrats in 2006 screaming they didn’t want what they NOW are calling for. But it doesn’t matter as long as we still have President Obama in charge with his vocal support of the UAW and other unions. So what if the states with Right to Work laws allowing freedom to get a job without_ paying dues for unions to spend as they want with no union members input, that these states have the better economies? So what that MN forces people to join and pay dues to get a job…..does it matter when we now have 500,000 on food stamps? Obama will take care of us all with igger far reaching government because he thinks that the USA IS the government and not the people_ he knows best because he has all the real work experience, handing out leaflets and living off Michele’s non work board member jobs as she did at University Hospital in Chicago. Just because Obama never held a real job and never understood how business and the economy works doesn’t mean he can’t keep trying to get the USA to be more socialist, to have government control what is produced , where and when and how we are to live under HIS idea of what America should be. Example: He appointed Immel CEO of GE to run the jobs czar position_ The Jobs czar council met once last year!!!!! Some effort huh? And GE paid no taxes last year, they off shore and ship manufacturing to China giving up some of our trade tech secrets..but heck_ so does Obama! He allowed Iran to get a hold of our Stealth drone technology by refusing to let SEALs go and recover or blow it up..China engineers came in and studied the drone, now they have a replica fleet of our stealth fighters. makes one wonder more and more each day, what does OBAMA REALLY BELIEVE IN? Sure is not America the free. This is what happens when a hard core Leftist gets in power.

  • Steven DFL

    Keith Ellison is a muslim who supports Sharia law, the same law that says it is required to stone women to death, allows Honor Killings ( 12 so far in America) and advocates killing gays and preventing girls from attending school..yet he is a Representative of MN? Do MN women approve of him or does he get re elected because he plays he race card as so many Demorcrat Progressives do every single day? He should know it was his own party that prevented new rules for fillibuster.

    BTW , where is Obama and Ellison for calling out against the union sanctioned violence in MI this week ? They are stone quiet. And why are they not demanding more civil discourse to tone it down, as they did when Gabby Giffords was shot? Oh, because the violence is somehow OK when it is progressives and union donors doing it. Hypocrits.

  • Shooter

    Steven DFL and Linda in Plymouth. Are you Nazis? Why do you live in Minnesota when some southern state would better suite your political views?

  • Steve the Cynic

    Or is it better, “Shooter,” if they express their bogosity here, where people are mostly too smart to believe them?