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Argument: Filibuster creates unintended system requiring 60-vote majority

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Supporting quotations

Ezra Klein. "Debate the filibuster. The filibuster would want it that way." The American Prospect. February 17th, 2009: "Instead of some loophole forcing a 60-vote majority, let's simply decide what the Senate should be. If it's to be a 60-vote institution, then make that the number required to pass a bill. If it's meant to be a majority body, then let that vision rule the day. But whatever the decision, it should be legitimate, the product of, well, thoughtful and sustained debate. The sort of deliberative process, ironically, that the filibuster was designed to ensure."

Kevin Drum raises an important point, namely that "The filibuster was never intended to become a routine requirement that all legislation needs 60% of the vote in the Senate to pass."[1]

David Yglesias. "The New Filibuster". Think Progress. February 15, 2009: "the filibuster was never intended at all. A few years into the existence of the U.S. Senate, they undertook a review of their rules. A determination was made that the motion to end debate was unnecessary, so it was removed from the rulebook. The Senators who made that decision suffered from a lack of imagination, because they didn’t see that having stripped it from the rulebook they’d created a situation in which a minority could block action on legislation. You can tell they didn’t intend to do that because there was no filibustering for a while. But under this second rule-set, in principle a minority of one could block legislation.

Again, it obviously wasn’t the intention to implement a unanimity rule for the Senate. Eventually, that was changed to allow a 67 vote supermajority and then later a 60 vote supermajority to end a filibuster. But still, even when that last reform was implemented in the mid-1970s the idea wasn’t to create a routine requirement that legislation receive 60 votes."

"Twilight Zone Filibusters." The New York Times. Editorial. July 19, 2007: "The nation’s anguish over the Iraq war was kept on hold in the Senate yesterday as the Republican minority maintained serial threats of filibuster to buy time for President Bush’s aimless policies. Last week, the House debated and voted along party lines for a timetable for an American troop withdrawal by next spring. But a similar measure was allowed no such decisive expression in the Senate. Instead, the G.O.P. insisted on the approval of a “supermajority” of 60 of 100 senators before putting to a vote a measure that would apply real pressure on the president to shift his disastrous course in Iraq."

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