Filibuster Reform Is Dead Again

Byron York reports that while we were busy with the State of the Union post-hoc, filibuster reform died a quiet death in the senate:

The Democrats' anti-filibuster wing, led by Sen. Tom Udall, tried to muster support for the effort to kill, or at least substantially weaken, the filibuster. Udall wasn't, of course, trying to persuade Republicans to go along; all GOP senators opposed the idea. Rather, Udall and his allies were trying -- and, it turns out, failing -- to convince 51 Democrats to put an end to the filibuster. By Tuesday, it was clear they had failed. After the State of the Union, Reid adjourned the Senate, and the 22-day "first day" was over.

The filibuster was untouched; nothing has been done to it. "Literally nothing," says a Republican Hill source....

Why did Democrats give in? Two reasons. One, they know they might soon need the filibuster themselves -- not in a few years, but in a few months. Republicans now have 47 votes in the Senate. If they can peel away four Democrats on any given piece of legislation -- say, the repeal of a portion of Obamacare -- they could be stopped only by a Democratic filibuster....

The second reason is that Democrats saw the folly in changing a hallowed Senate rule with just 51 votes.... If Democrats set a precedent for changing the rules now with just 51 votes, what will happen the next time Republicans are in charge?

Read the full story at The Washington Examiner.

Presented by

Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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