Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Talking Filibuster Appears Dead

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) said today that the Democrats didn't have 51 votes to pass a talking filibuster, according to The Hill.  (Why 51?  Because Senator Reid held open the first legislative day, on which the Senate can pass rules changes with a bare majority, in case Senator McConnell failed to agree to any meaningful reform.)  Even as Senate Majority Leader Reid awaits Minority Leader McConnell's reponse to more modest reform proposals, the talking filibuster appears to be off the table.  

The talking filibuster would have required a Senator who wished to filibuster to take the floor and talk, old style.  It would have put an end to the silent filibuster--the practice in which a single anonymous Senator can merely threaten a filibuster and thus hold up a bill, or nominee, and Senate business--and would have required a filibustering Senator to publicize their objections . . . and themselves.  While it was favored by many, Senator Durbin's announcement today means that it's almost certain not to be part of the final filibuster reform agreement.


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