If you feel like the government isn’t doing anything. You’re right. The filibuster is nothing more than a legislative quirk that has been weaponized by both sides to prevent congress from voting on legislation and presidential appointees.
The filibuster was created by accident, and it was hardly used for the majority of this country’s history. The modern filibuster was only created in 1917, and it wasn’t until a rules change in the ‘70s that allowed for a silent filibuster that it began to fall into common use, at which point the problem of filibuster abuse quickly grew out of control.
The use of the filibuster to block judicial nominees was weaponized by Mitch McConnell. In the history of the United States, 68 nominees were blocked by the legislative tool. McConnell used it to block 79 of Obama’s nominees in his first term. Since then, both sides have played legislative games with the filibuster, changing it as necessary to suit their judicial agenda.
At this point, it’s the case that any major legislation requires 60 votes to pass. This has stymied the ability of the Senate to get anything done, and it prevents legislation from even being raised, with the knowledge that there’s no way it will ever pass. Additionally, it protects Senators from having to take hard votes, as close bills won’t even be brought up to the floor.
In short, because of the structure of the Senate and its current leader - Mitch McConnell - it’s unlikely that we will be able to enact bold solutions without moving from our current, broken system.
Problems to be Solved
- checkCongress is unable to bring important legislation or nominees to a vote.
- checkOur Congress has slowed to a crawl.
- At this point in our nation’s history, with historic issues that are quickly coming to crash down on us (like job displacement from automation), we need a flexible government that can get things done. Instead, we have a clogged government that can’t accomplish anything.
- checkReturn Congress to its former, more effective, operation
As President I will...
- Get rid of the filibuster or Mitch McConnell (or, preferably, both). Promote an end to the current filibuster system used in the Senate, ending the requirement for a 60-vote cloture motion and replacing it with the traditional need to hold the floor.
- This will promote the actual articulation of an argument against the legislation or appointment opposed.
- Accept a phase-in period so that the Senate that implements the majority requirement isn’t the Senate that first operates under the new rules.