Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Yap, yap, yap

Via Ezra Klein, I found The Staggering Rise of the Filibuster, which has some interesting points about the Senate filibuster. Primarily that it's gone from being very-rarely used to being everyday business.

... there was an average of one filibuster per Congress during the 1950s. That number has grown steadily since and spiked in 2007 and 2008 (the 110th Congress), when there were 52 filibusters. More broadly, according to Sinclair, while 8 percent of major legislation in the 1960s was subject to "extended-debate-related problems" like filibusters, 70 percent of major bills were so targeted during the 110th Congress.
It's gotten so bad I've started hearing in news reports about how it takes 60 votes to pass a bill in the Senate. Which is wrong, of course; it takes 50. The other important point is that the Senate isn't really fillibustering anything. They're just threatening to fillibuster. I've long thought that it's high time the Democrats call the Republicans' bluff: make them actually fillibuster the bill rather than just say they're going to. We'd see lots fewer fillibusters if Republicans actually had to stand up and talk for 24-48 hours to block a bill or an appointment.

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