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Mon May 31, 2021, 11:27 AM

Would 54-0 be enough to end a filibuster?

Unless I am missing an important point, the filibuster has been stretched to the point of absurdity. I am not a lawyer, but I seem to remember that back in the day, ďto filibusterĒ meant to talk endlessly about a particular bill before the Senate, for so long that a final vote was stalled and eventually withdrawn.

More recently, it has come to mean that unless 60 votes are mustered to close debate (cloture), the bill will automatically be denied the forum to be voted on by the full Senate. (There is a nuance here that I am not clear about, as several bills have passed 51-50, with VP Harris casting the deciding vote)

The latest version of this travesty came with the recent 54-35 vote to end the filibuster on the Voting Rights Act. Many DUers have commented that this tally means that 60.9% of those voting wished to end the filibuster, with 39.1% opposed. And yet, apparently because the magic number of 60 total votes was not attained, the measure died.

But that is absurd, unless I am missing the boat here. Suppose that even more Republicans had left the Voting Rightís session early, and the final vote had been 54-25 - would the Democrats still have failed to end the filibuster?

Or, reductio ad absurdum, what if the final vote had been 54-0? Would that still not have been sufficient to carry the day?

So I am at a loss to understand why Schumer et al havenít overruled these extreme examples of minority rule. It seems like the Republicans can successfully filibuster by not even showing up. Where is it stated that 60 total votes are needed to end a filibuster, as opposed to 60% of those voting? What am I missing?

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Reply Would 54-0 be enough to end a filibuster? (Original post)
TheRickles May 2021 OP
USAFRetired_Liberal May 2021 #1
Silent3 May 2021 #2
StarfishSaver May 2021 #3
honest.abe May 2021 #4
Fiendish Thingy May 2021 #5
Timewas May 2021 #7
GoodRaisin May 2021 #8
jimfields33 May 2021 #6
tritsofme May 2021 #9

Response to TheRickles (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 11:32 AM

1. Nope

And thatís why even if the filibuster isnít eliminated completely, there could be minor tweaks like requiring 3/5 of Senators Ďpresentí instead of Ďtotal number of Senatorsí....I believe it use to be that way and was changed in the 70ís

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Response to TheRickles (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 11:37 AM

2. What's really infuriating is that anyone would defend the practically-zero-effort filibuster

There might be somewhat reasonable arguments for some form of filibuster, but even Manchin and Sinema should be able to see that the current form is absolutely insane.

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Response to TheRickles (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 11:41 AM

3. That vote didn't signal who was willing to end the filibuster process

 

The filibuster process allows Senators to vote to end debate (aka "cloture" and move to a final vote on a particular measure. 60 votes are required to close debate. It doesn't matter how many people vote no - unless there are 60 votes for cloture, it fails. So, yes - 54-0 would still result in the vote being blocked.

That vote the other day just meant that 54 senators were willing to close debate and go to a vote on the commission. It didn't indicate all of those senators were amenable to ending the filibuster process for all measures.

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Response to TheRickles (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 11:47 AM

4. It's stupid rule. Should be just the opposite.

40 votes to filibuster not 60 to end it.

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Response to TheRickles (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 11:52 AM

5. 54 votes isn't enough to end a specific filibuster, but 51 votes IS enough to kill it forever

A specific filibuster needs 60 votes to bring cloture, or end debate and move to a floor vote on a bill. The exception is reconciliation budget bills, which arenít subject to the filibuster and can pass with a simple majority.

However, the senate majority leader can move to vote to change the rules; that motion can be filibustered, but the leader can overrule (aka the Nuclear Option) and proceed to a floor vote to change the rule, in this case the filibuster rule. If the rule change gets a simple majority, it stands.

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Response to Fiendish Thingy (Reply #5)

Mon May 31, 2021, 12:02 PM

7. Funny

They do not want to end it because they then give the rethugs the same advantage of no filibuster, that is their reasoning.But the rethugs use the "nuclear" constantly to get their way and the dems refuse to use it for some obscure reason. If they got rid of it and passed a slew of "good" bills that helped the people immensely do they not think that might,maybe just result in retaining power because of the good they did.. Of course the voting public doesn't really pay attention for longer than a few seconds then it is on to the next shiny distraction...Pols know this lack of attention span and use it constantly to lie during campaigns.

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Response to Fiendish Thingy (Reply #5)

Mon May 31, 2021, 12:10 PM

8. K&R

This is the process people need to understand, which is why we can't use either the nuclear option or reconciliation to gain a simple majority vote with both Manchin and Sinema on record saying they won't vote for specific things if they are in the bill, such as ending the filibuster. We just don't have enough votes to do it alone - we need more democratic seats in the Senate.

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Response to TheRickles (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 11:54 AM

6. The senate decided these situations at the beginning of each senate session

Itís what they agreed to in January.

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Response to TheRickles (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 02:44 PM

9. Technically, if there was no Republican senator on the floor, they could invoke cloture by unanimous

consent, and then move to a final vote. However a single senator could object, and force a vote that would fail 54-1.

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