January 16, 2011

Rules Should Require Effort

Justin Katz

I said (somewhere) it back when Republicans were in the minority in the House, and even though the filibuster technique has been helpful to causes that I've supported in recent years, I'll say it again: this sounds reasonable to me:

... Senator Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat ... proposes that lawmakers be on the floor debating throughout the time they are relying on filibusters to derail measures. "You shouldn't filibuster casually" by being able, as currently allowed, to invoke the tactic "and go to dinner or go on vacation," he said. ...

[Democrats] also want to abolish the system of secretive "holds" senators can use to delay presidential nominations without identifying themselves and their reasoning.

There's no reason that politicians can't organize relay speechification when the legislation justifies that degree of opposition, and there's no reason that they can't identify themselves when they want legislation held.

With the reach and authority of the federal government continually expanding, a strong case could be made that more types of legislation should require supermajority votes, but that's an argument that has to made, not assumed.

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This is an easy one. No filibustering. Allot one hour for each side of the argument to speak on the bill, and then schedule a vote for the following day. Done.

The whole point of Congress is to submit, debate and vote on bills. Not to submit, debate, debate, debate and debate some more.

Posted by: Patrick at January 16, 2011 8:09 PM

The Senate is designed to slow things down and be more deliberative-hence,six year terms versus two-more stability.
It makes some sense.The house has no say on treaties or confirmation.
The Senate doesn't control spending.
In impeachments,the House "indicts" and the Senate tries.
It's balancing act.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 16, 2011 8:25 PM
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