More on fake filibusters
More Democratic Party leaders pushed U.S. Sen. Harry Reid to drop the procedure by which a supermajority is required to pass bills in the Senate.
Under the leadership tactic, a filibuster threshold of 60 votes is required to stop debate in the Senate even though no filibuster is actually occurring.
At an appearance in Florida, Vice President Joe Biden said the filibuster procedure has become commonly used instead of rare: “This is the first time every single solitary decision has required 60 senators. … No democracy has survived needing a supermajority.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell called on Reid and his leadership team to either pass bills by simple majorities of 51 votes or make obstructionists actually filibuster.
“Make them filibuster,” Rendell told ABC News. “Make them go before America, people. Make the American people look at a modern day spectacle of what a filibuster would entail. I think it’s time to call their bluff. I think it is too easy to throw up your hands and say, ‘We don’t have 60 votes.’ Remember it’s 51 votes for passage. They have to filibuster. Make them filibuster.”
Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, said in an article in The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, that “the use—and abuse—of filibusters by both parties to obstruct the Senate from functioning has become the norm” and called for changes.
House Democratic floor leader Steny Hoyer repeated in public complaints he has previously expressed privately about what he calls the “broken” Senate. Reid responded with a so’s-your-mother remark: “So I could give him a few comments on how I feel about the House, but I’m not going to.”
The House enacted its health care bill relatively quickly and then waited several weeks while the Senate struggled to get one passed. The House operates on majority rule while Senate leaders of both parties have imposed a supermajority procedure that is not authorized by either law or Senate rules.