Log in Subscribe

Bust the filibuster

Tom Denton
Posted 3/8/21

To the editor:

The Senate filibuster, if it's understood at all by most Americans, is likely associated with the fight by Southern segregationists to defeat civil rights legislation in the 1960s. …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Bust the filibuster

Posted

To the editor:

The Senate filibuster, if it's understood at all by most Americans, is likely associated with the fight by Southern segregationists to defeat civil rights legislation in the 1960s.

This disgraceful rebellion against equality resonates as Mitch McConnell's side of the Senate currently threatens to block legislation--S1, the For the People Act--that would expand and protect Americans' right to vote, especially those whose votes have historically been suppressed. No winking here. Republicans have publicly acknowledged that they are at a “competitive disadvantage” when minority voters, especially, have unobstructed, equal access to the vote.

Democrats, if they are true to their commitments to civil rights, cannot allow a GOP filibuster to bury S1. Senators who oppose elimination of the filibuster, fearing it will be used against them in the future, know Senate rules permit alternatives:

--reinstate the speaking filibuster, when a senator must address the floor—for hours, and hours…

--flip the current rule that requires 60 votes to end debate; instead, require 41 “no” votes to block a measure, with all senators' votes recorded.

--eliminate the ability to filibuster the “motion to proceed,” a tactic that stops legislation from ever reaching the floor for debate. Make Republicans defend their obstruction on C-SPAN and all media.

--revoke the “two-track” system that permits the Senate to bury a bill threatened with filibuster and proceed with other business. Again, force the GOP to tell Americans why they believe that curtailing early voting, removing drop boxes, and requiring photo IDs and notaries' signatures for voting better support democracy than no excuse absentee ballots, lengthened early voting periods, and independent commissions for redistricting—the core of S1.

Let McConnell's obstructionists explain why they want to return America to the 1960s.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here