News Column

Dems Seek Change in Senate Filibuster Rule

Nov. 27, 2012
capitol with barbed wire

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday he will seek changes in the 60-vote filibuster process to prevent Republicans from blocking bills from reaching the floor.

Reid said he want to end the process on motions to proceed a bill, which means senators can filibuster the final passage of a bill, instead of delaying the process of moving on to it, making supporters of such bill run out the clock to hold votes.

"I and no one on the Democratic side has proposed getting rid of the filibuster," Reid said on the Senate floor. "Just that we do away with the filibuster on the motion to proceed," Reid noted.

Republicans, however, balked at the idea. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on senators to oppose such reforms, saying the effort is nothing but "naked power grab."

A powerful but once rarely used parliamentary device in the Senate, filibuster has been employed more frequently in recent years by Republicans to block bills they don't like, meaning most major legislations, apart from budgets and confirmations, require a 60 percent supermajority to head off a filibuster. Senate Republicans' excessive use of filibusters, coupled with Democrats' failure to capture supermajority in the chamber, has contributed greatly to the political deadlock in Washington. Scholars have been calling for reform in filibuster for some time.

(c) 2012 Xinhua News Agency - CEIS. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

Source: Copyright Xinhua News Agency - CEIS 2012

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