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Joe Manchin Signals Openness To Filibuster Reform As Push For Abolishing It Grows : politics

todayMarch 7, 2021 1

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while still opening the door to get legislation passed with 50 votes, like the Founders intended.

Nope. People get the whole history of the filibuster backwards. We started from a point of unlimited debate because that’s a parliamentary principle going back to Athens. There was originally a rule to allow for closing debate with a majority of the Senate, but it was only used once in the first 20 years of the Senate, which led to it getting removed.

And that jibes with the general philosophy of the Founders, which was that there needed to be a protection against a simple majority running everything because simple majorities are fickle and change often. We know that, we’ve had four different trifectas in the last 15 years and only one of those had 60+ Senators, and only for a few months. That’s why the Senate was created as it was, with staggered six-year terms to provide some stability to Congress when the entire House was up for election every 2 years.

Until 1918, you could only move to a final vote once there was no one else wanting to debate. You essentially needed unanimous consent. Then, cloture was introduced in 1918, allowing debate to be closed with 2/3 of the Senate. That was moved down to 3/5 later. Reconciliation was introduced to make the threshold a simple majority for budgetary legislation. Democrats and Republicans lowered the threshold for nominees in the last ten years. That’s where we are today.

So, there has never been a time where you could pass ordinary legislation with a simple majority in the Senate. The founders didn’t intend for that. You always needed a greater threshold of support to close debate.

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